Read: Matthew 5:27-30
If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. (Matthew 5:29 ESV)
I remember watching the press conference several years ago after a lost hiker had been found. He had been faced with a life or death situation as a result of an accident and made the decision to amputate his arm after getting it trapped. I listened as he described his situation, the decision making process, and finally the procedure he used to remove his arm. He could have kept his arm, stayed trapped, and died. Or, he could remove his arm through a terribly painful self-inflicted wound and try to make it to safety. It was a horrible dilemma, but the choice to remove his arm saved his life.
Jesus’ words from the Sermon on the Mount about voluntarily removing body parts reminds me of that hiker. The thought of literally removing body parts to avoid hell is sobering, and admittedly a little disturbing. But what if it didn’t have to come to that?
Couldn’t the same principle Jesus is speaking of be applied to the things in our lives that lead us toward sin? Let me give you an example. If a certain type of movie caused us to think sinful thoughts or pursue sinful acts wouldn’t it be better to just stop watching movies than to cut your eye out?
In the old days people called this principle holiness. And yes, some strange things have been done in pursuit of holiness, but I would rather be found to be strange than spend an eternity in hell. In the past this meant getting rid of a lot of stuff. As I find myself striving to be more like Jesus, I find myself pursuing authentic holiness. This isn’t something made up by men with a long list of rules and how to’s. It is, however, a reverent walk with Christ. One in which I long to be both sensitive and obedient. Ridding myself of distractions and hindrances along the way.