16
Jan
13

Does Jesus Advise Extreme Measures?

“If your right eye causes you to sin, 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 sin, 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

Does Jesus mean this literally? If our eyes are causing us to sin by lust or through another avenue, should we literally gouge them out? Is he that radical in his teaching?

Well, perhaps. I suppose there are situations where taking this to the extreme might be necessary, but I find it hard to believe that such action is what Jesus expects. Instead, I would consider alternative ways to achieve the same desired result. For example, if lust is an issue, why not remove yourself from the situation that causes the problem in the first place? It might be a place one frequents, or a common situation that one encounters which can be tactfully avoided. It might be necessary to find an accountability partner to challenge you on keeping this commitment. But rather than gouging out your eye, removing the thing that your eye is drawn to seems to be a good alternative.

Consider the consequences raised by Jesus – is it worth risking our eternal soul to be condemned to hell – just because we weren't bold enough to take action to stop willful sin?

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