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Tom Scotus

Should We Pluck Out Our Eyes To Keep From Sinning?

Hell - Bostom Public Library (Flikr Image: Boston Public Library)"If your right eye makes you stumble, tear it out and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. If your right hand makes you stumble, cut it off and throw it from you; for it is better for you to lose one of the parts of your body, than for your whole body to go into hell." (Matthew 5:29-30).

These are tough words from Jesus. Firstly, the Lord warns us of the seriousness of sin. Secondly, He warns us of the consequences of sin. Finally, He tells us to make major sacrifices in order to stop sinning, if nothing else works.

In these verses, the Lord repeats Himself. He makes the same point twice. He does this to emphasize the importance of what He is saying. Sin is offensive to God. It destroys our relationship with Him. If we persist in it, we will be damned. So, if anything helps lead us to sin, even if that thing is very valuable to us, we must sacrifice it to save our souls.

The Lord uses the examples of a right eye and a right hand for good reasons. For the majority of people, their right eyes are their master eyes and most of us are right handed. Losing either would be a huge liability. Yet, their loss would be temporal liabilities, whereas the loss of our souls would be permanent and complete disasters. These verses immediately follow Jesus’ warning about adultery (sexual immorality). Our Lady of Fatima told us that most people are condemned to hell because of sexual sin. How do we sin sexually? By looking and by touching.

Jesus is also saying that we have no excuse for sinning. If we really want to stop, we can. Of course, Jesus does not literally mean we should pluck out our eyes and amputate our hands in order to avoid sin, but we must be willing to sacrifice other things that may be important to us.

Let’s assume that you have a well paying, enjoyable job in a city that you love, but you are having an affair with a married coworker. You have tried repeatedly to stop the affair but you keep failing. You could quit your job and move to another city, without telling the woman where you are going. That might be a big sacrifice but it would probably stop the affair.

Or, let’s assume you are an internet porn addict and that you’ve tried repeatedly to quit, but you keep failing. You could get rid of your home computer or, at least, cancel your internet. If you are viewing porn at work, you could get another job where there is no access to the internet. Those might be big sacrifices, but wouldn’t they be worth it in order to save your soul?

The vast majority of people won’t make real sacrifices in order to stop sinning. Don’t join them on the broad way "that leads to destruction" (Matthew 7:13). Be among the small minority who are going to be saved. God bless you.