29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, 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.30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, 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.
There are certain parts of the bible that we should take literally. For example, Jesus really rose from the dead. God really did create the world. These are not just nice stories to make us feel good. But there are some places in the bible which are not meant to be taken literally. Case in point the verses above. Unfortunately, some have taken Jesus literally with this passage and obeyed this command literally. Here is where our English and grammar school education helps us understand the use of a literary device There is a manner of speaking in Jesus’ day called “hyperbole”. This involved making an extreme or absurd statement to illustrate the importance of another point. In this case, Jesus is not advocating “maiming” oneself, but doing whatever it takes to cut sin out of our lives. When Jesus called his disciples, he called them to drop everything and follow him. He told them, “If any man would come after me, let them deny himself and follow me daily.” In the end, I believe he teaches this way to help us avoid the things that really hurt us. He realizes how easily we become entrapped in the desires of our flesh and the problems that can cause. What things in your life keep you from the abundant life Jesus promised you? Are you willing to cut those things out of your life?
Jesus help us to cut out of our lives things that keep us from the abundant life, you want for us. While some may see what we do as extreme, if you lead we will follow. Amen.