Here’s a passage that some use to criticize the Bible:
And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell. – Matthew 5:28-29
Some actually believe that Christ is recommending self-mutilation in these verses!
Christ is saying that if there’s anything that’s keeping you from doing what’s right, it needs to be dealt with—and to take radical means if necessary. This is exactly the opposite of human nature. Human nature wants to get as close to the line as it possibly can.
Think back to the story of Adam and Eve. Where was Eve when the serpent came to her? You see, I believe that even though the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was in the middle of the garden it could have been avoided if they wanted to avoid it. They could have put up barriers, or created alternate routes.
Instead, Eve was near the tree and ready to be tempted—and that’s like most of us. Whether it’s issues of modesty, or any other type of sin, we seek to be a little better than the culture, and we seek to get as close as we can to being wrong, and then we act surprised when we’re tempted.
What Jesus is saying in these verses is as radical as it sounds—if something’s going to cause you to stumble, don’t sit around…do something about it!
If the friends that you’re spending time with will cause you to fall, it’s time to separate from them. If you’re having trouble with things on the Internet, pull the plug. If you’re married and there’s a girl in your office that’s hitting on you, be blunt or find a different job.
Your spiritual life is not worth staying in a place because you think you can handle it or you believe that it’s permissible, but it’s on the borderline.
It’s not worth it.