Cut It Off
Mark 9:43 (ESV) — And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.
“Desperate times call for desperate measures.” This statement is a popular phrase used in all types of situations. The idea behind this axiom is that if a situation is bad enough then the actions taken in response may have to match the intensity and urgency. If someone breaks into your home in the middle of the night, you don’t invite them to the table for a cup of coffee to talk things out. You take aggressive action to protect your home and family. If someone breaks their leg in a sporting event, you don’t casually approach them with a couple of Tylenol. You match the moment with the appropriate intensity required of the situation.
Our passage today captures Jesus relaying this principle in our lives as it pertains to fighting sin. He says in Mark 9:43, “And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire.” Jesus is using a communication method known as hyperbole. This is a way of speaking that exaggerates for effect. He tells the person whose hand causes them to sin to cut it off. This isn’t Jesus’ practical advice for folks. He didn’t issue machetes after the teaching. No, it is his way of demonstrating how urgent the fighting against sin truly is. If your hand is the problem, get rid of your hand. We’d be better off in Heaven with one hand, than in Hell with two hands.
Jesus doesn’t want us lopping off body parts in the fight against sin, but what he does want us to see is that sin is so devastating and destructive, that you’d actually be better off if you did cut it off than to go to Hell because you keep sinning. Friends, this lesson is vital for us to grasp. Sin will wreak havoc on your life. It will eat away at your heart from the inside like cancer. If we do not take an active posture of fighting sin, then it will destroy us. Jesus says we have to battle. So if we sin regularly with drunkenness, then maybe we need to remove all alcohol from the house and stop buying it. If we sin with greed, maybe we need to force ourselves to live on a budget and increase our giving. In other words, we can’t passively fight sin, it must be active. What do you need to “cut off” today in order to fight sin in your life?
Reflection & Journal:
- Why does Jesus use hyperbole in his teaching on sin?
- What are some examples of fighting sin in your life? What have you actively cut off?
- How can we protect from getting lazy and passive in our sins?
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