This sermon is part of the sermon series "Change of Heart". See series.
What the heart wants
Back in the 1990's, the comedian and filmmaker Woody Allen was an icon of the movie industry—until his personal life began to unravel. His long-term affair with Mia Farrow came to an ugly end, just after they had a child together. A short time later, it was discovered that Allen was romantically involved with Mia's 17-yr old adopted daughter, Soon-Yi. The inappropriateness of that relationship scandalized even the most jaded Hollywood observers, but Allen seemed to find nothing wrong with dating the teenaged daughter of his former girlfriend. When a reporter challenged him on the matter, Allen rationalized and defended his actions, then concluded the discussion by declaring, "The heart wants what it wants." He seemed to be paraphrasing the philosopher Pascal who said, "The heart has reasons that reason does not know."
The heart wants what it wants. As disturbing as that defense was, it reflects a truth we have been considering throughout this series—that the heart is the control center of a person's life. Who we are and what we do is ultimately determined by the condition of our hearts. We are not robots who can be mentally programmed to function in certain ways. Nor are we animals who can be trained to behave properly. We are human beings who think, feel, and choose, and the place where our thoughts, emotions, and will intersect is right here, at the center of our being—the heart. In the end, our heart will reveal who we are, and in any given situation, our heart will determine what we do.
This is why Jesus says, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." Like the other Beatitudes, this one raises all kinds of questions. Who are the ...
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