Pure Heart

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)

I’ve never quite gotten the hang of the pure heart thing. In fact, a recent spiritual cardiograph shows significant deposits of grudge, lust, selfishness, and a general patina of moral turpitude. There’s no doubt about it: I’m definitely gunked up in there.

This used to bother me. I had this crazy idea that getting saved was like getting an enema while riding buck naked on a flatbed trailer being pulled through a car wash. I thought of Christianity as a kind of Sani Flush for the soul. And if some little piece of trespoop did get on the shoe of my soul, I would reboot with a well-tuned spasm of self-loathing followed by a moderate dose of religious humiliation and capped with an invigorating spiritual scouring from which I’d emerge squeaky clean.

The benefits of this hygienic approach were many. For one, I felt better about myself. I was a paragon of religious perfection, secure in the knowledge that the salvation thing was working pretty damn well. Best of all, I could visit God without getting busted for contraband. No looking over my shoulder, no patting my secret pockets, no sham detectors, no expired visa. Being saved was actually kind of fun back then.

But I got tired of religious binge and purge. Well, the purge part anyway. Things started collecting in there. I learned to live with them. Oh, I realized that I was technically clean of all that grunge; the blood of Jesus and all that. Still, my windows got a little cloudy. Yes, my theological maps were still good, but I now had a hard time actually seeing the landscape. No big deal. Besides, I love looking at maps.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I actually like being gunked up. It’s just that a genuine cleanup would require a little more involvement than I’m comfortable with these days. And though I remember the heady spiritual days of yore, I’m not sure I’m the creative anachronistic type. If I could figure a quick and easy way out of this, I think I could make a fortune.

 

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