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To Be Pure


Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
Matthew 5:8

Young conservative woman: *gets a job working around rough, worldly men* 
OK, you guys. Y'all don't be cursing, and don't be speaking about any filthy things around me. I gotta stay pure. You hear? I need you all to think about that and respect me. 

   *   *   * 

I live this sort of weird conundrum where I embrace and rebel against my upbringing all at once. I don't really bother much trying to convert leftists or communists or atheists. But I do feel compelled to call out hypocrisy among my fellow Christian conservatives. 

deep, deep inside I feel this strong desire to not be that typical conservative gal that's all about my purity. In fact, if I find anything absolutely repulsive and vulgar, it is purity culture. 

Not that I find purity disgusting, but that I find the idolization of purity degrading to the true nature of what it means to be pure. I desire to be pure. I do not want it to be mistaken that I want anything less than a pure heart and mind. And yet... is not true purity found simply in not being impure? 

There were two large moments in my life where I suddenly realized I no longer had my girlish innocence, both when I was nearly twenty. I grew up watching many, many violent films and was often around men that cursed. These things did not bother me, as if I were some sift that heard and saw it all, but retained none of that. It was water under the bridge. I was the bridge. And then I saw a film I'd seen before. And the violence hurt me. I couldn't watch such films for months after that, and even now, my eyes will not stay open for certain parts. The second moment was when I first found myself hating a man. I saw all men different and I knew I'd lost a part of myself as my eyes opened to an awful world I'd never known existed before. 

I hated myself in these moments, but mostly I hated everything else, too. I felt pain and understood stupidity. It was terrifying and dark, and I saw at last that the sky was falling

It was difficult walking through this time, of trying to find something I'd thrown away. I hadn't wanted it, I'd thought. And now I saw I was less without it. 

At last, I understood the naive child's wisdom, that their innocence was maturity at its deepest, that the worldly knowledge I'd gained was merely a contractual bond with pain. I didn't want it. Funny thing, I began to see that a true return to purity was found through the simple advice spoken by children. 

   *   *   * 

What is this lost purity? How do we find it again? 

I do not believe it is rooted in modesty, in words that do or don't dwell in our minds and escape our lips, in how our courting practices are conducted and our reputations spread. Yes, these things stem from the heart. But it is so much more. 

There is the girl who claims modesty as her favorite virtue. She wears long dresses and hides her hair under a covering of submissive purity. But often, we will see something else from these girls. Sultry, suggestive, sensual photographs; promiscuously texting (or cleverly stringing on) many guys; coy looks and subtle words that bring attention but lack all purity of intention. 

There are those who speak of leading a kosher lifestyle. They eat strictly, cover inappropriate skin, keep certain words from their speech, give off the appearance of being a good person. There is nothing wrong with being a good person, but one must be humble and honest in their purity if they mean to not be a sham. 

It means nothing that certain words are restricted from your vocabulary if your heart is bitter and your conversation is full of cruel, degrading remarks. 

It means nothing that you eat well if you are incapable of fellowshipping with others. 

It means nothing that you dress modestly if your eyes and mouth continue on an impure path (not that I'm against sensual photos, btw. I should probably do a separate post on this. But, if you claim modestly and purity as your virtues, then proceed to have an immodest face, your heart can't be all that pure.)

And to use the excuse I opened this post up with is the worst lie of all; to put the responsibility of your purity into the hands of other vulgar men is blaspheme. 

We are responsible for our own purity. And such purity is not dependant upon the actions and words and conduct of others. If so, we would best attain a holy life living in a cave. But no. We are in a world full of decadence. And yet we are called to be pure and set apart ourselves.

If God is in us, we will not be so easily influenced no matter the environment we step into. Our vocabulary grows according to what we allow. Our wardrobe is of our choosing. Our intentions and motives will stem from the purity of mind we have from our relationship with God. 

And the truest purity we can attain will not need to be flaunted. We will never need to degrade ourselves or God's reputation by saying, "I am passionate about purity." It will be evident through our behavior.

And as our behavior proves we have seen God, others too will see God, and all their filthy ways shall fall away like darkness before the light. We need not tell any to be pure for our sakes; when our purity is seen, many will come forward for God's Glory. 

   *   *   * 

I did not stop watching violent films. I allowed myself to feel the violence and weep over it. 
I did not stop loving men. I allowed myself to feel the pain and betrayal; to keep loving them, as God would have it. 
I do not use language, I am doing my best to have a heart that is less bitter and frustrated so that even my speech is pure and loving, 
I do not worry about modesty, in the modern sense. I love art. But I do worry about my intentions and other people's hearts. I do not avoid sensuality, but I do rebuke all promiscuity. Isn't that what modestly really means? To be humble and pure, not to be bland and ugly. 

What does it mean to be pure? 
Is it not simply to be childlike and simply in love with all things worth loving, and unaware of all things that would have us not love what God says to love? 


  1. Interesting perspective, Keturah. I've definitely found that purity stems from the heart. I've been in that situation, working with rough guys as a young conservative woman. I've found that I don't need to say anything - my actions tell much more (like a piercing look, lol). It can be hard not to be legalistic in dress, but that's like attacking the symptom, not the disease.


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