Blessed are the pure in heart
It’s that day, again. It’s Beatituesday. I’m not entirely convinced that I’m doing a particularly good job at delving into the meaning of these pieces of Scripture, but I’m going to keep going.
Matthew 5:8 says
What does it mean to be “pure in heart?” Does it mean purity in actions? Is it a moral uprightness? Does it mean to be free from sin? (If it does, then we are all in trouble). I have to say that all of this sounds terribly legalistic to me, and not in keeping with what I see as Jesus’ teaching. I don’t mean that Jesus taught against any of these ways to live; he certainly did not. What I do mean is that Jesus taught us a better way – a bigger way. God wants more than this.
What is our heart? I think Jesus is referring to our mind, our emotions and our will. Our heart is our center. It is that part of us that makes the decisions, and directs our actions, from which arises our love and devotion for God and for each other. Our heart is what makes us who we are. Our heart is our core.
On what do we focus? I think those who are pure in heart focus on God. Their focus is pure and single-minded. Look at this verse from James (4:8)
Double-minded is a good phrase. Are we double-minded in our dealings with God? Are our motivations pure? Is our focus solely on God?
Have you ever had a divided conversation? Have you ever found yourself listening to a person, but not really listening? I have, and I imagine that everyone has. Do you walk away from that conversation knowing what was said? Or do you hear, “blah blah blabbity blah blah.”? It’s difficult to “see” someone when we don’t focus on him or her. Have you ever been on the other end of that conversation? Knowing that you are talking, but the other person is hearing “blah blah blabbity blah blah.”? Doesn’t it give you a feeling of “why bother?”
The analogy doesn’t stretch as far as the beatitude, though. Focus is more than listening. It is centering our hearts – our core – on God. Single minded devotion which is not alloyed by anything else.
Wow. That sounds impossible. It is. That’s the beauty of it; that’s the grace of it. The beatitudes aren’t statements about how to live perfectly. They are statements about what happens when we turn to God, and look for him. When we try – when we focus on God – he gives us grace. He purifies us with grace, and we can SEE him.