5. “Merciful…? Pure In Heart…? – Be Glad!” – Jesus

Matthew 5:7
“Blessed are the merciful,
for they will receive mercy.”

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

“Will you rescue me? Can I trust you?”

Blessed are the merciful… Blessed are the pure in heart!

The values that God calls us to are often very different to the values applauded and lived out in our everyday lives. The term blessed could have been translated from the Greek as ‘well off’. Jesus teaches that being well off in his economy involves being merciful and pure. Go down to your favourite bookstore or log in to Amazon books and search for characteristics of being well off. You won’t find mercy and purity listed. You will find things like wealth, privilege, opportunity, and possessions, but not mercy and purity. So why did Jesus say we’re well off if we’re merciful and pure?

Mercy involves being compassionate. The community at large benefits from compassion, and It usually feels good to offer others compassion. Purity is all about integrity. Jesus says if we’re the real thing, inside and out, then we will be well off. Again, the community will benefit and so will I. Living a lie is so tiresome!

One of the keys to understanding the values of Jesus is to see them in the light of wellbeing for the community, the neighbourhood. In Hebrew it was called ‘shalom’ and the values that Jesus calls us to live will assist the development of shalom, wellbeing, in the world around us. Compassion and integrity will help build shalom whereas the lack of them will undermine a community’s wellbeing.

I am writing at a time when the Church at large is under attack, not ‘for righteousness sake’ but for the evils of child sex abuse. Church leaders have been found guilty of horrendous crimes against the ‘least of these’, the most vulnerable. Children have been entrusted for care to Church organisations and this trust has been terribly abused.

Where is the purity that Jesus calls us to? The profile of the Church in our world, in our local neighbourhoods, has been tarnished and it will take an undeterred commitment to integrity, to purity, on the part of Church leaders to begin to walk the long pathway back to being trusted once again. For God’s sake, for the wellbeing of our world, we must make and keep that commitment.

David Wilson has been a teacher and practitioner in theology, psychology, counselling, and urban mission over the last 45 years.