If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell. (Matthew 18 v 8-9)
So we haven’t done this yet have we? We haven’t cut our hands and feet off, we haven’t plucked our eyes out and thus saved ourselves from an eternal fiery hell.
If we were to start where would we stop? We would have no body parts left for sure!
But perhaps our understanding of these verses have caused us to try harder, to stop this, to stop that, become better, work harder, do more, go without and if we do all this then we will enter the kingdom of God.
We have certainly done that and we are up for trying even harder today.
But what if we have understood it wrongly?!
Let us remind ourselves of the scene:
Jesus has again revealed that he will suffer, die and rise again.
The disciples not understanding have spoken about who was the greatest among them.
Jesus warns them in their leadership position not to make the little ones stumble because if they did their own lives will be seriously affected, they would be the ones to stumble.
So what is the hand, the foot and the eye?
Is it certain sins that we have tried to rid ourselves from?
Or is it self-righteousness towards others? Is it the desire to become greater than others? Is it a lack of serving others? Are these the sins that need cutting off? Are the sins against others what is being focused on rather than the sins against our own bodies?
But if you don’t agree, go ahead and keep cutting off your body parts!