By: John Cooper (podcast link above)
I notice that none of the apostles carried out this recommendation by Jesus, nor did they ever repeat it. AND Jesus knows the problem is in our hearts. The reason He didn’t tell us to chop off our heads (minds) or rip out our hearts is because there are people who would DO it! But this is how severely we are to deal with sin in our lives – I love the phrase “Doing whatever it takes.” “I buffet my body – I make it MY slave,” says Paul. Good stuff, Pearl! Drink it in deeply!
IMO self mutilation as an alternative to obedience is cowardly. I don’t believe Jesus was advocating that, rather what was already mentioned above, we are to deal that severely with our sins. Our hand or eye doesn’t cause us to sin. It never does. Our hearts/minds are in charge. So wasting that anger and guilt and frustration on innocent bystanders (such as our appendages) is missing the point. We need to focus our passions on rejecting our sinful nature.
That’s how we deal with our own sinfulness. As far as others are concerned, Jesus’ compassionate: “Neither do I condemn you … go and sin no more” model seems appropriate. If we were the Taliban perhaps we’d decide that Jesus should have hacked off her hands or plucked out her eyes? That’s not what Jesus did because Jesus is the exact opposite of those people. Jesus is the exact opposite of anyone that fails to love the sinner. I don’t always love the sinner well, but Jesus does, and He loves me well despite my own sins.
If we are soft on sin for the sake of popularity. Then yes, we are too soft. If we are soft on people for the sake of compassion and love… then we are imitating Christ. Sin is sin, but God desires “that no one should perish” … we should too.