Blessedness and Purity

In Lent 23 by Bruce LogueLeave a Comment

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those who are pure in heart.

Psalm 73:1

Purity of heart is the Greek word, katharos, from which we get the word “cathartic” and “catharsis.” In other words, purity of heart means to be clean and blameless. It describes a life that is full of integrity and absent of guile.

Guile means being treacherous, cunning, or a cheater. It is easy to see how God would be drawn to those who are the opposite of treachery. Who are transparent, honest, and without deceitful motives.

Purity is in good company with poverty of spirit, mourning, and meekness because of the way in which all of these qualities carry an uncommon characteristic of openness and honesty. The pure of heart is one who readily admits his/her failings, and not only admits it, but mourns about it, so deep the honesty goes.

King David is arguably the best example of this kind of cathartic honesty. Psalm 51 is his brutally honest admission of his sin. Some think this may have been written after his tryst with Bathsheba, leading to him killing her husband so that he could have her for himself.

To God David says, “I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned.” Psalm 51:4. Paul, the apostle, told a crowd of people in Antioch that God made David king after Saul. God said, “I have found David…to be a man after my heart, who will carry out all my wishes.” Acts 13:22.

Nowhere in the list of the Beatitudes does Jesus ever say, “Blessed are those who obey me perfectly.” Jesus knew that it is beyond mankind’s capability to do this. What he does ask is for the ones to follow him to be honest and pure of heart. That is the best indication of the Blessedness which Jesus identifies.

Prayer: Christ of the weak, ill, poor, and disenfranchised. Who collected people like the woman at the well, Zacchaeus, Levi, and others and found in them the winsome quality of purity. Not perfection, but integrity. We want to carry that within ourselves so we ask for a heart that is turned toward you. That is not afraid of admitting what is obvious to others – our sin. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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