I’m sitting in bible study as we read Jesus’ teaching in Matthew and I’m thinking of the absolute impossibility of what is being said. For sure, I have understood that sin is this life sucking dementor that will stick to your shoes like gum, but never have I truly made the real and drastic commitment to not only cut that sin off at the roots but burn the flipping soil it’s in and never look back.
“If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away.” – Matthew 5:29a NIV
This is no light side comment Jesus is making. Gouging out one’s eye isn’t the easiest of things to do. It’s also no subtle hint that sin isn’t good. It’s a fluorescent yellow, neon, flashing warning sign pointing to the severity of sin.
Obviously (or hopefully obviously) Jesus isn’t being literal here, as far as I know, Jesus ain’t into mutilation, but he does paint a raw picture of what it’s going to be like to genuinely remove sin from your life. If one was to gouge their right eye out, then there is going to be IMMENSE pain. A time of healing that wound will be needed and once you get past the infection, life is going to be hard living without an eye. There will be a cost to this action.
In the same way, we’re encouraged to gouge the sin from our lives and it’s NOT meant to be easy. It’s going to be tough and you may need some time to spiritually rejuvenate. There will be tears, but that is the cost of following Jesus. So to remove sin from your life, you first have to take it seriously. Spend some real heart to heart time with God, reflecting on your life, choices, the influences that are leading you to sin. Be honest with not only God but yourself too. Try and get down to the root cause.
“It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” – Matthew 5:29b NIV
I guess, despite the morbid imagery of gouging out one’s eye and being thrown into hell, that this is quite an encouragement. God is literally saying that it is better for you to go through the difficulties of removing sin now, even if you end up ‘worse off’, than to continue sinning and spend eternity without Him.
A lot of the time, I won’t take certain sin as seriously as I need to. Even though I really, really want to know if Deaneries marries John Snow, I’ve got to ask myself, is this helpful? Is this going to lead me into a place where I will sin? Most likely, the super attractive male Gym instructor will lead me to lustful and covetous thinking, so maybe, I do have to reevaluate my heart and ask whether it’s worth moving Gyms?
A good passage to keep in mind is also Romans 14, where Paul encourages us that everyone will have different convictions about Christianity based on their relationship with God. So even if what you’re considering is the root cause of your sin, and it’s something that everyone does – even other Christians – you should ask if it’s worth it for you? Your individual relationship with God has to be considered, and you’ve got to examine your heart and what sin needs to be gouged out with drastic action in your life!