I was the good kid in my family, and I’m not proud of it. See, unlike my siblings, who both had their rebellious stages in life, I pretty much did what I was supposed to do. When My parents told me to do my best in school, I did. When it was apparent that going to youth group and reading my Bible was the “right” thing to do, I did that as well. I went to Bible college, and I went into ministry. It took me years to learn that pride and self-righteousness also marked my obsession with being good. I also had no idea how I often made others feel by appearing to be put together on the outside. Let me tell you, a perfectionist is no one’s favorite person, because they are hard on everyone, including themselves.
When Jesus said Blessed are the pure in heart, he spoke to the perfectionists among us: it’s the folks who expect everyone to be perfect, including themselves. They are often lonely because they are hard to be around. They are harder on themselves than anyone else could be. It turns out that striving for perfection can be a recipe for misery. In fairness, striving to be pure is not bad in and of itself, but if the motive behind it is recognition or pride, it is a flawed pursuit anyway. The beauty of what Jesus is saying to the pure in heart is that they can experience perfection in a relationship with a perfect God. Not only that, but purity of heart can then become a virtue, because it is motivated by worship rather than by pride.
What makes you try to do well in life? Is the driving force behind your actions for you to be praised? What if the driving force shifted to be a joyful reflection of a perfect God?
Take a moment to Pray the Lord’s prayer. Remember as you pray that Jesus is inviting us into his kingdom now and forever.