If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell (Matthew 5:29-30).
Now we see where the phrase, “Cut that out!” came from.
I think it’s safe to say that Jesus is not literally suggesting self-mutilation as a behavior modification tool,
he is slamming home the seriousness of sin.
Beloved, let me ask you a question that I am afraid to ask myself: What sins are you putting up with in your life?
… (awkward pause)
Yeah, those sins.
How much do you want them gone?
There is a scene in C.S. Lewis’s book The Great Divorce that I love and hate and fear. In this scene an angel encounters a man who has a lizard sitting on his shoulder. The lizard, which represents a particular sin, whispers all manner of evil nastiness into the man’s ear. The angel offers to free the man from the evil nastiness by killing the lizard. The man wants to be free of the lizard–or so he says–but he is unwilling to have it killed. He is afraid that in killing the lizard the angel will also kill the man. After much anguish and debate, the man decides that he wants the lizard gone, even if it kills him.
Beloved, you don’t have to cut off a hand or gouge out an eye to get right with God.
Happy Wednesday, Beloved.