If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell. Matthew 5:29-30 ESVReally Jesus, you managed to pack so much silliness in these few sentences that it’s hard to know where to start! In fact, it goes well beyond silliness – perhaps ridiculously irresponsible would be a better description. Surely if you were God – all-knowing and wise – it might have occurred to you that encouraging people to pluck out their eyes and cut off their hands (even if you intended it metaphorically) might not be the best idea? Didn’t you realize that mentally unstable people might act on your words? Not very prudent of you to put those ideas so carelessly out there, now was it?
In fact, from news reports, there have been a number of individuals who have been obedient - from the man who cut his hand off on a table saw (he was convinced it was possessed), to the Italian guy who gouged his eyes out during Mass (I have sat through some really bad sermons that made me want to do the same thing). I’m sure there are some lawyers who would love to get your butt into court on a liability case or two, if only they could find you. Keep that in mind if you ever do return to planet Earth.
I am curious… did you really think that people’s eyes and hands cause them to sin? I know that scientific knowledge was pretty sketchy, back in the day. Perhaps you and your Sky Daddy were unaware that it is actually the brain that controls the actions of the body. This means that the eyes don’t decide to look at Playboy, the brain does. The hand doesn’t say “Hey, I think I’ll masturbate!” The brain does. I use these specific examples because I’m pretty sure that was where you were going with all this, since you were talking about lusting after women just before you got onto the sinful hand-and-eye thing. We won't even get into the whole thing of sin being a gimmick by which you make people feel guilty merely for experiencing life as a human being.
Fortunately, even biblical literalists tend to not take this passage literally. Otherwise, there would be a lot of handless, eyeless Christians wandering about, since pretty much everyone has sinned with the aforementioned body parts. Even before Al Gore invented the Internet, men could hardly walk by a woman without committing adultery in their heart, and now with entertainment like 50 Shades of Gray and Magic Mike, vast amounts of women are equally deserving of being blind amputees, according to your stringent mind-police standards.
I suppose from a merchandising perspective, it really is tragic that more believers don’t take your admonition seriously. Christian bookstores could be making truckloads of money selling eye patches and prosthetic hands with Matthew 5:29-30 inscribed on them. Remember how big that WWJD bracelet thing was for a while?
I must say though, you were playing some pretty nasty mind-games – making people think that they might have to choose between self-mutilation and roasting in Hell. No wonder countless monks found creative ways to torture themselves. How discouraging it must have been for them to find that no amount of self-flagellation and living in remote monasteries was sufficient to curb their lustful desires. I know I would be pretty pissed off if, after going to the effort of slicing off my hand and scooping out my eye, I discovered that your prescription for holiness was ineffective. “You thought I was serious about that hand-eye thing? Nawww, that was purely symbolic - meant to scare you into good behavior. Judas H. Priest, can’t you guys take a joke?” LOL… Jesus.
Oh, and one other thing. Why only the right hand and the right eye? Does this mean that lefties are incapable of sinning? That hardly seems fair. Ingenious humans will always look for the loopholes. If you indeed are only concerned with sins committed by the right side of the body… Left-handed masturbation anyone? Look at porn only while squeezing your right eye shut? As usual Jesus, your ‘answers’ only raise more questions.
By J. M. Green