“You have heard that it was said, Don’t commit adultery. But I say to you that every man who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in his heart. And if your right eye causes you to fall into sin, tear it out and throw it away. It’s better that you lose a part of your body than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to fall into sin, chop it off and throw it away. It’s better that you lose a part of your body than that your whole body go into hell” (Matthew 5:27-30, Common English Bible).
I was at physical therapy for my recently repaired right shoulder yesterday. As I reflect back on that hour plus of my life, I didn’t notice a single person at the wellness center who, at least as far as I can tell, was missing an eye or a hand. When I left the wellness center I went to the pharmacy. Once again, I didn’t notice anyone who was missing parts of their bodies. I wasn’t really surprised by this. After all, I have both of my hands and both of my eyes.
Many of us like to claim we read the Bible literally but when it comes to passages like today’s passage we quickly show we don’t really read the Bible quite as literally as we might want the world to think.
I think most all of us realize, we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When we read our lesson for today, would that not mean we should all be walking around blind and without hands? I really don’t think that is what Jesus meant in this passage. After all, there is no record that shows any of the sinful disciples were walking around blind and handless.
The thing is, my eye, your eye has never committed a sin, nor has it caused me to sin. My hand and your hand has never sinned or caused me to sin. That is because sin does not happen in the eye or the hand or any external part of the body. Sin happens in the mind and in the soul.
What I think Jesus means here is, when there is sin in your life, cut it out! And, ridding ourselves of sin can be extraordinarily painful. Still, better that we go through this spiritual pain than to risk our salvation by living with whatever sin we may have in our lives.
Jesus is not calling on us to participate in self-mutilation. Jesus is calling on you and I to work at plucking the sin from our lives.
What sin is in your life that needs cutting and plucking?
Have a blessed day in the Lord.
Joy and Peace,
Copyright 2017, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved