“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Matthew 5:8, New Revised Standard Version).
It’s been their claim to fame for more than 100 years, “99 and 44/100% pure.” Ivory Soap is coming up on its 200th anniversary, first around in 1840 and sold under the name “Ivorine” and later sold to Proctor and Gamble who began selling the soap under a new name, “Ivory.” The slogan itself began after Harley Proctor hired an independent laboratory to analyze the soap in 1895.
As marketing campaigns go, the slogan sounds really good. To be honest, it does make me wonder what the 56/100% is that is not “pure.” Whatever that small portion is might keep some of us from ever wanting to use Ivory again.
We often think that a product like Ivory is great. It is so close to being pure and yet there is something there that isn’t quite right. Several years ago there was an urban legend floating around that McDonald’s used beef products in their “100% beef patties.” While not at all true, it did cause some folks to shy away from the world’s most popular hamburger.
The bottom line is, if it’s not 100 percent pure, do we really want to eat it? Most of us would say no. A scene from the movie/book, The Help featuring brownies with a special ingredient comes to mind.
So, if I am 99 and 44/100% pure in heart, is that good enough for me to see God as the Beatitude above suggests? Well, the answer isn’t as simple as the question might make it seem. That is because Matthew doesn’t say to us anything about being 100 percent pure or what fraction of purity is actually acceptable for us to see God.
Some 30 or more years ago I worked with a woman who believed she was a good person, and I would say in general she was and that she would be acceptable to God. I would answer that she is, but not because of herself. Pure in heart, at least the way I read it, is pure in heart. Mostly pure, just like those brownies in The Help isn’t good enough. Being pure isn’t even Ivory Soap good. We need more. So no, in and of ourselves, we aren’t good enough to see God because none of us are truly pure in heart.
That is the bad news. But, there is also good news. God loves us and wants a relationship with us enough to give us more than we deserve. For we who desire a real relationship with God, there is the free gift of grace. God takes whatever part of us isn’t pure and through grace makes us fully pure. Then, because we are truly pure in heart, we can see God. I can’t think of better news for any of us than that.
What is keeping you from being pure in heart and would prevent you from seeing God? Accept the free gift of grace. God offers it to each of us.
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved.