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: 8 – 9
Have you ever used any of the following sayings: this bag weighs a ton; there’s enough food in this fridge to feed an army; I’m so hungry I could eat a horse; this is the worst day of my life; or (my favourite) my dad will kill me when he comes home! These statements are known as hyperbole which we use to exaggerate what we mean or to emphasise a point.
Jesus was also known to use this dramatic style of language. These two verses are also found in Matthew 5: 29 – 30 and Jesus is using them to grab our attention, not to be applied literally (although there was an historical context of that period that saw lepers lose body parts due to infection or amputation), but rather to make us take heed of the message behind the graphic pictures in our mind.
In referring to the eternal fire of hell, Jesus is – in a modern context – telling us that there may not be a need to mutilate our bodies as a punishment for our sins but instead He challenges us to continually make sacrifices as we follow Him in our daily lives.
Prayer: Father, I thank you for the fact that I haven’t been asked to make the gruesome sacrifice of losing parts of my body for my sins but instead grateful to be reminded that you forgive me as I try to follow your Son’s example. Amen
Action: Ask for God’s forgiveness for your sin today.