…Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. (Matthew 5:8)
What does it mean to be pure in heart? I have unclean thoughts and words everyday, so how can I be pure hearted? I have to know because I want to see God, as Jesus declared.
We picked our way through mud toward a palm-thatched hovel. A six-year-old mute girl in a bright yellow dress shot out from the curtained doorway, ran past the Nigerian Bible college student leading me, and threw her arms around my legs. Normally in the villages, my white face frightened children who’d never seen a Caucasian, but this precious girl clung to me with unfettered love.
Who was pure hearted that day? The girl’s mother was inside the hut practicing witchcraft. The neighbors mocked the child. The Bible college students tried to pull the kid away from their missionary. I stiffened and set the girl aside. It was my chance to swoop her up and say, “don’t try to stop her, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” But I missed it. None of the adults were pure hearted.
The six-year-old wasn’t troubled by what others thought about her. She didn’t concern herself with pride in her stature. She only wanted to give and receive love, and that made her pure, eligible to see God.
It’s been fifteen years since I encountered the pure hearted girl. But whenever I need a reminder of what God expects from me, I look down, close my eyes, and see the yellow dress. I feel the squeeze of love at my knees, and I know that pure hearted isn’t complicated. It’s just loving others more than prideful self.
Prayer: Jesus, give me pure love for others.