Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God (Matthew 5:3).
If your spiritual life matters to you, take a second look at that Beatitude: Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. For that blessing expresses the heart of spiritual life for those who love God.
It blesses the pure in heart with the satisfaction the spiritual person most wants: to see God, which means to intimately know God just as one is known by God.
So who are the pure in heart? Who are these people to whom the Son of God promised their heart’s desire? They are people growing into an undivided life. Loving God, they follow God’s lead into single-minded devotion.
This is difficult. We attach ourselves to many distractions and idols, and we must free ourselves from them to freely love God. It takes rigorous self-examination, letting go, redirection of vision over and over, willingness to let God lead us through the fire.
It takes a certain grit born of love, but mostly humble submission born of knowing oneself as loved. So the pure in heart grow into radical love, love that honors outsiders, forgives enemies, and advocates for those without a voice even as they love their families and friends. They do this in response to God’s love. The pure in heart find that in doing so, they see God through the loving.
In our political environment, we badly need such radical love not only among our leaders, but among the voters. Separation of church and state protects the two institutions from abusing each other. But it does not mean separation of the heart into spiritual and secular chambers. For doing so divides and fragments us. A vote without love splits our character into merciful and merciless sides that do not talk with each other.
Both political parties put their double-mindedness on display. It comes especially clear when they place their faith perspective in one compartment of their heart and their political thinking in another.
Examples: For the past four years, we marvel at the majority of white evangelicals’ loyalty to a president who declares he never needed forgiveness, who considers, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” his favorite verse, and who has no compunction about greed, infidelity, and bigotry. Yet for far too long, most Democrats treated faith as something for which to apologize or keep out of sight. Plenty of double-mindedness prevails on both sides of the aisle.
Political parties need voters who look beyond their individual interests to the human interests of those Jesus especially loved and called us to love, the hungry, thirsty, alien, sick, naked, and imprisoned and cast a vote that ministers to them. For in ministry to them, we see God in Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:31-40; also see Luke 4:18-19). For the pure in heart, the quality of life for “the least of these” sets the standard for all political programs.
Christians may differ on how to meet that standard and for whom to vote to get there. But Christians who take the spiritual life seriously will tackle the inner work of naming their prejudices, resentments, and selfish desires, offer them up to God, and then ask the Holy Spirit for guidance in the loving way to vote.