Striving for Purity and Peace
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. Matthew 5:8–9
suggested further reading: Genesis 26:12–33
Purity of heart is universally acknowledged to be the mother of all virtues. Yet hardly one person in a hundred does not put craftiness in the place of the greatest virtue. Hence people are commonly considered to be happy whose cleverness is exercised in the successful practice of deceit and who gain dexterous advantages by indirect means over those with whom they deal.
Christ does not agree with this carnal reasoning. He pronounces those happy who take no delight in cunning but sincerely converse with people and express nothing by word or look that they do not feel in their hearts. Simple people are ridiculed for lack of caution and for not looking sharp enough to themselves. But Christ directs us to higher views. He bids us to consider that, if we do not have the cleverness to deceive others in this world, we will enjoy the sight of God in heaven.
Blessed are the peacemakers, he says. By “peacemakers,” he means those who not only seek peace and avoid quarrels as much as possible but who also labor to settle differences among others, advise people to live at peace, and remove every reason for hatred and strife.
There are good grounds for this statement. It is tedious and irksome work to reconcile those who are at odds. People of a mild disposition who study to promote peace are compelled to endure the indignity of reproaches, complaints, and arguments from others on all sides. The reason is that everyone wants advocates to defend their cause. So that we may not depend on the favor of men, Christ directs us to look to the judgment of his Father, who is the God of peace (Rom. 15:33), and accounts us as his children when we cultivate peace, even if our efforts are not acceptable to others. They shall be called means to be accounted as children of God.
for meditation: Are you at odds with anyone today? Are you so stung with pain from a quarrel or injury done to you that you cannot bear to think of speaking to that person? Are friends or family members likewise alienated from each other? How could you look to the judgment of God the Father to effect peace in your relationships?