A Debate over Washing Hands

As anxiety intensifies leading up to Nov. 3, align your spirit with the Lord of peace through the Beatitudes.

“Our social media posts reveal the condition of our hearts more than our longest and most eloquent prayers ever will.”

So writes a blogger.

Do you agree?

Today’s beatitude: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8)

Our words and actions reveal what’s in our hearts. One time Jesus’ opponents were arguing with Him about what makes a person unclean. They objected that Jesus’ disciples were violating the ceremonial law by not washing their hands before eating. (Today, we’re big on washing hands, but for different reasons!)

Jesus replied, “What comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person.” (Matthew 15:18) The disciples weren’t dirty because they put germ-covered food in their mouths. Jesus’ opponents were filthy because of what came out of their mouths – words that revealed hearts distant from God.

What we say and do shows the condition of our hearts. In the beatitude, Jesus exalts a pure heart.

As sinful human beings, however, our hearts are never 100 percent pure. Our motives are never 100 percent altruistic.

At the same time, faith in Jesus purifies our hearts of sin. And only by His cleansing can we receive the promise: to see God.

In the Old Testament, the prospect of seeing God was a frightful thing. After an encounter with the angel of God, Samson’s mother remarked, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” (Judges 13:22) (She didn’t die because of it.) No human could handle the sight of God.

We still can’t … unless Jesus makes us able. And He did! Not by lifting us up to heaven but by coming down to earth.

Check this out: Jesus said, “Whoever has seen Me has seen the Father.” (John 14:9) Whoever sees Jesus sees God! One day we’ll see Him face to face. Right now we see Him through faith.

Now our job is to help others see Jesus in us! Social media posts count. So do any conversations. So does the way you live your life. All of it gives witness to the One who purifies hearts by faith!

Have a blessed Reformation Day/Halloween, and be a blessing to others!

This post reminds me just how much our world has changed since Halloween last year!

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Published by Christopher Kennedy

Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, School, and Child Care in San Antonio, Texas. Husband to my beloved Ashley. Dad to the four most wonderful children in the world.

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