“NO ONE can deny that chastity is a problem in the Church today.” Catholic journalist Vittorio Messori made that observation on the sex scandals that have recently involved the Church in Italy. “And it cannot be resolved by abolishing ecclesiastical celibacy because 80 percent of the cases involve gays—cases of sexual deviation of priests who abuse men and boys.”—La Stampa.
Rampant wickedness is without doubt a sign of these “last days” of the present system of things. (2 Tim. 3:1-5) As news reports show, the resulting moral decay has a negative influence not only on people in general but also on those who call themselves men of God. Their corrupt and impure heart moves them to commit depraved acts. (Eph. 2:2) For good reason, Jesus warned that “out of the heart come wicked reasonings, murders, adulteries, fornications, thieveries, false testimonies, blasphemies.” (Matt. 15:19) Jehovah God, however, desires that his servants love “purity of heart.” (Prov. 22:11) So how can a Christian maintain a pure heart in these critical times?
In the Bible, “heart” is often used in a symbolic sense. According to one reference work, the Biblical term for heart indicates the “innermost part of man” and “is supremely the one centre in man to which God turns, in which the religious life is rooted, which determines moral conduct.” The heart represents what we really are on the inside. As the above-quoted work highlights, it is this that Jehovah examines and that he appreciates in his servants.—1 Pet. 3:4.
In the Bible, “pure” and “clean” can indicate what is clean in a physical sense. But the terms are also applied to what is uncontaminated—not adulterated, soiled, or corrupted—in a moral and religious sense. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared: “Happy are the pure in heart.” He was referring to those who are, in effect, clean inside. (Matt. 5:8) Their affections, desires, and motives are pure. Motivated by love and gratitude, they love Jehovah with all their heart, sincerely, without hypocrisy. (Luke 10:27) You want to be pure in that sense, do you not?