If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched.
And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame, rather than having two feet, to be cast into hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched.
The Holy Scriptures about cutting it off are radical--even repulsive. But they're important. They hit us three times in two Gospels: Matthew and Mark. The words preceding them place them in context.
In Matthew Chapter 5, the cutting and plucking follow Jesus' warning about adultery. In Matthew Chapter 18 and Mark Chapter 9, the maiming scriptures follow Jesus' warning about leading children into sin. Both offenses are serious.
Jesus' solution? 'Cut it off.' It sounds like self-mutilation--too terrible to contemplate. But inserting one word makes this harsh prescription understandable. Consider it 'old' self-mutilation. As Christ-followers, aren't we commanded to 'Die daily' (1 Corinthians 15:31)? To 'Lay aside the old self with its evil practice' (Colossians 3:9)?
Cutting off a 'hand' that causes us to sin means cutting off an action or even our closest friend--if either causes us to sin.
Example #1: Going into a bar that leads to drinking that leads to immorality. The solution? Don't go into the bar. Cut it off.
Example #2: Hanging out with a friend who is a bully or a gossip or a snob that leads to harming someone else. The solution? Cut off the friendship. Your close association with a sinner leads you into the same sin.
Cutting off a 'foot' that causes us to sin means cutting off a bad path on which we are walking. Because 'Broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it' (Matthew 7:13).
Example #1: Going to an audition for a movie or a series or a job that has no redeeming value. Even worse, it could harm children by tempting them to believe in a bad lifestyle that seems good. Don't go there. Cut it off.
Example #2: Going out with your friends to an 'important' party that you know will be filled with intoxicants and intoxicators that could harm you or others. Don't go there. Cut it off.
To Be Continued...
P.S. To read the other devotions in this series, please see the Cut It Off series.