“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:7-8)
Jesus begins His greatest discourse of the Beattitudes with a “check up from the neck up.” He teaches eight attitudes that can make disciples salt, light and His solution to what is wrong in this crazy world. These eight attitudes come in four pairs, the third of which is to be merciful with a pure heart.
One scholar writes that these blessed attitudes are like climbing a mountain. The first pair takes us halfway up the mountain, the second pair takes us to the top of the mountain, while the third pair takes us half way down the other side.
With profound simplicity Jesus is basically asking: “When disciples are filled with righteousness that takes them to the top of the mountain, what kind of people are they? Are they Bible experts who throw the book at others?”
No! They are filled with mercy (which is unconditional love) and while they love in this way they are pure in heart.
To be pure in heart is only understood when we research the Greek word that is used here for pure – the word from which we get ‘to be catheterized.’ It means that as disciples are merciful we have a catharsis through which everything that is not the unconditional love of Christ is removed from our hearts.
If you want to be one of the solutions of Jesus in this world, hunger and thirst for what is right and you will find that love is right and right is love.
Be a conduit of that love – the love of Jesus – and become His salt and light.
Dick Woodward, 13 April 2010