That’s what Jesus said! Not take it to counseling to figure out why it happened. Not sit down and discuss it with someone. CUT IT OFF!!
Was Jesus speaking literally? Well in some cultures that’s what they do. If you steal, they cut your hand off. Needless to say, the crime rate is at an all time low in that culture. This is a serious matter. Serious enough that Jesus talked about it. Serious enough that it was included in the best selling book of all time. The Bible!
Matthew 18:6-9 exhorts, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes! “If your hand or foot causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life lame or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet, to be cast into the everlasting fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you. It is better for you to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be cast into hell fire.
Why would Jesus use such harsh, graphic words to describe preventing offenses? Did Jesus want us to literally CUT OFF our body parts. I believe He wanted us to see how serious sin and offense is. That the impact is so serious that to consider cutting off the offending part would be better for us than committing the offense. I believe it’s because when our sin/offense causes people to sin or stumble [offends them], we could be causing them to walk a path that takes them away from God and causes them to fall into sin and destruction.
You might say, “well it’s not my fault how people take things and what they do just because I hurt them or sinned”. Listen to me, brother/sister, Jesus is very clear about this. We have a responsibility to others and Jesus makes it clear that offenses will come, but whoa to the one who brings them.
I fear causing someone to stumble. I fear that my sin could cause hurt, harm and wounding to come to another person. Have I offended others? You better believe I have. And I grieved until my stomach hurt because of it. When the Lord dealt with me about offenses and cutting off the sinful part of me that causes offense, I felt such a fear in my heart about the way my sin may have caused someone else to “stumble” that I literally begged God to cleanse my heart! It’s like He allowed me to actually feel how detrimental my sin was to them.
I’m concerned for the times when I skim past the true impact of the Word of God. I have read this scripture so many times but this time, my heart was arrested. These words are not just words but commands for living our lives. God’s Word is not just black and white on a page but the very LIFE and SPIRIT of the heart of God and His Kingdom.
They are not suggestions. The are commands. Why commands?? Because of the gravity of the consequence of our failure to live them. This is the New Testament! The dispensation of Grace! This is the Atonement of Christ! And this is the command of Jesus….”if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out”!!!! I have seen the impact of my sin on others and it is a mark/scar that cannot be removed. Atoned for and redeemed, yes, but the impact is felt and lived out, nonetheless.
This is such a serious matter that Jesus says, it is better to lose an eye than the alternative. What is the alternative?
TO BE CAST INTO HELL FIRE!!
I thank God for the Cross of Christ that atones for my sin and redeems all of my mistakes. I cling to the cross for salvation and forgiveness. I also take serious this command of Jesus BECAUSE of grace, BECAUSE of His blood. Our sin and offenses put Jesus on the Cross! We are not to CONTINUE in them, we are to be slaves of righteousness. Romans 6:18
The Word of God tells us in Romans 10:26-29 “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries. Anyone who has rejected Moses’ law dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? “
Ladies and gentleman, THIS is the worship life. To obey His commands and walk as He walked. We cannot do this in our flesh or own strength. That is why Jesus bestowed upon us His HOLY SPIRIT, so that we could walk it out.
I encourage you to bring your heart before the Lord in this verse and ask Him to reveal areas of your life where you have caused someone to stumble or areas of sin He is commanding you to CUT OFF!! Not for condemnation but for HEALING AND RESTORATION of not only your own soul but those you have offended. Hear Him today, worshiper, and be set FREE!
In love and sincerity!