Saturday, July 26, 2008

Happy Though Harmless

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Matthew 5.8

Hidden Agendas

I earn my living as freelance writer and creative director in marketing—a fiercely competitive field by any standard. Working with numerous agencies, I’m privy to information one firm would love to know about another. So when a “let’s-get-together” email or call pops up out of the blue, my first inclination is to wonder, “What’s behind this?” Shame on me! Have I got so corrupted and cynical that I automatically presume everyone I know is working off a hidden agenda?

My natural instinct to protect myself from betraying a confidence or being taken advantage of fosters unfounded fears and uncharitable thoughts. Its smog pollutes my heart. If my heart were purer, no doubt I’d clearly see God at work in these situations, whatever’s behind them or how they turn out. I realize we each battle different fears. For me, suspicion sits high on the list.

Snakes and Doves

Jesus advised us to be “as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10.16) Our opinion of snakes typically falls into one of two camps. Either we’re fascinated or terrified of them, for many of the same reasons. Both sides agree they’re amazingly alert. Both also agree about doves. They’re impeccably clean and non-threatening. Hence we bathe with Dove soap and release bevies of them at Olympic ceremonies to symbolize peace.

So what is Jesus saying? “Stay alert and remain pure and harmless.” In today’s vernacular, “Don’t be naïve, but don’t get jaded, either.” This echoes His Beatitude lesson: “Harmless people are happy because they will recognize God in their lives.”

Hidden Realities

We purify our hearts by weeding out impure motives. We toss out every desire and ambition that puts our personal benefit over pleasing our Maker and loving others. We trust God to take care of us, to intervene for us, to protect us, and to bless us. These are hidden realities we treasure.

Since He’s got everything covered, what’s left to do? It’s a good question, although the answer may not sound so hot. He asks us to love and serve one another above and beyond ordinary expectations. That extra mile we like to talk about so much was Jesus’s idea. (Matthew 5.41) An impure heart asks, “What’s in it for me?” and, finding nothing, grows unhappier with every step. But a pure heart sees God’s presence all along the way. It’s a privilege, not an imposition—a harmless request. And that makes Him and us happy.

Another fun, fascinating "man in the street" interview: pure in heart.

No comments: