Happy and blessed 7: The pure

Happy and blessed 7:

The pure…

A pure diamond.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God – Matthew 5:8

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes,
but the Lord weighs the spirit. – Proverbs 16:2

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me. – Psalm 51:10

Purity is sought after. Pure diamonds and pure gold fetch high prices because people want nothing but the best.

Do you want to be clean? There is a brand of soap called Pure, or if you want a facial scrub there is one called Purity. Purity is about being clean, something the advertisers use to their advantage.

In the Bible purity is about the whole of life, the problem with the obsession with sexual purity in some churches is that it can lead to the assumption that God is more interested in what we do with our genitalia and not with whether people are unwelcoming to strangers, are unwilling to help the poor, are liars or cheats.

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. – James 1:27

Making purity all about sex can be abusive to the already abused. Imagine how a rape survivor would feel about the constant talk about virginity equals purity. One thing Christians can be very bad at and which riles me when I see it happen is victim-blaming.

…in heart

But the main reason I dislike the concentration on sex when talking about purity is that Jesus did not say, “Blessed are the pure in body.” Now I do not wish to discourage chastity, but holding up an impossible standard could encourage promiscuity.  In fact, the standard of purity is unachievable in any way whether it be sexual or honesty or anything.

Jesus, however, commended the pure in heart. That is people who are pure in their motivation. Failure is tolerated. The reason for the toleration is that we are precious, not because we are perfect, we are far from perfect, but because we are loved by a perfect God. We have no purity of our own. But we are made pure because of what Jesus Christ has done. Our purity is in God, not in ourselves. We are asked to live that out, but as I said, failure is not the end. We are precious to God, we are pure because we are in Christ who is pure.

A pure heart tries to do what God wants, but we are human and fail. But it is those whose heart is right, whose motivation is right, who will see God.

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