I would be true,
For there are those who trust me;
I would be pure,
For there are those who care.
(Howard A. Wheeler)
WE PROBABLY UNDERESTIMATE HOW MUCH OUR CREDIBILITY AND POSITIVE INFLUENCE DEPEND ON THE MAINTENANCE OF PERSONAL PURITY. When we indulge in morally wrongful actions, other people, even the immoral, lose confidence in our integrity, and that is one of the worst things that can happen.
Unfortunately, many people see purity as nothing more than “Puritanism.” The Puritans considered any sort of physical or temporal enjoyment to be evil, and so the term “Puritanism” came to mean rejection of any social pleasure at all. But surely that is an unwarranted view. Whatever good things in the world may have been perverted and turned into evil, there are still many wholesome things left, things which ought to be enjoyed in their rightful place. Purity, rightly considered, does not require us to become ascetics; it means we distinguish that which has not been corrupted from that which has, and commit ourselves to staying away from the latter completely. Above all, it means we discipline our thinking and acquire habits of thought that are clean and wholesome and constructive.
Maintaining purity of mind is no easy matter these days. Using their freedom of speech, the purveyors of entertainment (and even information) have surrounded us with stuff that is as toxic to our spirits as anything that ever polluted the natural environment. Surrounded by so much dirt, staying clean is hard work, to say the least.
Purity is not a gift that life confers on some and withholds from others. It is not the result of being born into a certain family or graduating from a certain university. It does not come from intelligence, talent, or any other natural endowment. It comes from within our hearts and it’s the result of watchfulness and self-discipline by each of us, day after day. Purity is hard to maintain and easy to lose. So today, let’s not forget its importance or fail to guard the great treasure that it is.
“We often pray for purity, unselfishness, for the highest qualities of character, and forget that these things cannot be given, but must be earned” (Lyman Abbott).