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Clean heart liberates: Meditation for the sixth Sunday after trinity

By Princewill Ireoba
24 July 2022   |   2:43 am
The heart is the seat of emotions and signifies the total inner self, a person’s hidden core of being (1 Peter 3:4). It is the genuine self, distinguished from appearance, public position and physical presence

Princewill Ireoba

The heart is the seat of emotions and signifies the total inner self, a person’s hidden core of being (1 Peter 3:4). It is the genuine self, distinguished from appearance, public position and physical presence (1Sam. 16:7; 2 Cor. 5:12; 1Thess. 2:17).

When our hearts are filled with filth, rancour, enmity and other evil things, they do not only become detesting to God but also uncomfortable and unhealthy for us. As Mother Theresa of Calcutta put it: “A clean heart is a free heart. A free heart can love Christ with an undivided love in chastity, convinced that nothing and nobody will separate it from his love.”

We can only liberate ourselves by keeping our hearts clean or free of all that entanglements. A clean heart liberates us to live rightly with God and with men. Excess loads in the heart obstruct. It is only when we have a clean heart and travel light that we are liberated.

Meditation On The Bible Readings For The Day (Mattins)
The OT passage (Gen. 50:15-21) is a story of how Joseph’s life ended. Joseph died in peace because he had a clean heart. All through his life, he had endeavoured to be at peace with God. In all the plots and accusations against him, he had a clear conscience and kept trusting God no matter the situations he found himself. Nothing was able to separate him from the love of God. Now, he looked back and appreciated the divine guidance and providence in his life. He was thus able to forgive his brothers whom he considered instruments in the hands of God for his upliftment to the glory of God and for the service and good of man.

Grudges and un-forgiveness put man in bondage, even when he is the one who has been wronged. But when he forgives, he set himself free. Jesus enjoins us to go for reconciliation even when it is our brother who has something against us (Matt. 5:23-24), not to talk of when we are the ones holding grudges. We should strive as much as it is possible to be at peace with all men and leave vengeance to God (Rom. 12:18f).

The brothers of Joseph on the other hand had unclean hearts or guilty consciences and so, were not free. They were haunted by their atrocities of hating Joseph and selling him out. It is said that the evils that men do live after (or with them). So, even when there was obviously no sign that Joseph was still harbouring what they did in his heart, they were never free again with him. This surfaced when their father died. Their hearts were troubled and they said: “Perhaps Joseph will hate us, and may actually repay us for all the evil which we did to him,” (vs.15). Those who put their hands in evil are never free. Neither are they at rest. There is no peace for the wicked (Isa. 48:22). To live clean is to live free.

The NT passage is an exhortation not to play double standard in our relation and walk with God. We cannot claim to know and love God without keeping his commandments and loving others. He who hates and is not in good relationship with God does not have a clean heart and stumbles in his way. Our hearts are clean when we know God (loving our brother); are strong; the word of God abides in us; overcome the wicked one and do not love the world or the things in the world (vs 14-15). That is the perfect love, which casts out fears (4:18). It is the way of light – clean heart liberates.

The Venerable (Dr.) Princewill Onyinyechukwu Ireoba, FIMC, CMC, is the Rector, Ibru International Ecumenical Centre, Agbarha-Otor, Delta State. https://ibrucentre.org. princewillireoba@gmail.com, trinityfoundationibrucentre@gmail.com)

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