Happy Friday! How’s your week been going?
When I was reading through Matthew a few weeks back, I found this passage in Matthew 18 particularly interesting.
(Jesus speaking) “If your hand or your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell.”
I’ve read this before, and never really had an “ah-ha” moment until now. When I read it the other day, it really stood out to me. I immediately had two reactions:
1. Jesus is telling me that it’s not only okay, but that it’s actually better to go through life “maimed or crippled” than to be whole or perfect.
2. This is true because – what’s the point of going through life with everything perfect – only to literally throw that life away (in other words, not have eternal life).
I also went to The Message version of this verse to see what it had to say. I bolded some parts that really struck me :
If your hand or your foot gets in the way of God, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owners of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell.
All of this is rather paradoxal to me. On one hand, I am tempted to believe that everything can be “perfect,” that I can have all I want and fulfill every desire, while at the same time living a life for Christ. But that’s a really tricky lie to believe.
From personal experience, I know first-hand that every single one of my wishes, desires, and dreams are not always what God wants for me. I am sinful so, of course, even my best intended wishes can have sinful motives or desires behind them.
This reminds me of the “maimed and crippled” part of this scripture. Although I am not literally crippled myself, living sacrificially for the Lord requires that I “cut off” the things that keep me from Him. While I don’t necessarily view getting rid of sin to be “crippling,” per say, it’s very hard and can feel crippling at times. And I am certainly crippled if I give sin the priority in my life over Jesus.
What I feel Jesus is essentially saying in this passage is that it’s better to be less-than-perfect and saved than to be perfect and go to hell. And that sin is absolutely worth cutting out of your life.
I’m encouraged by reading this scripture because it shows that life circumstances and our position as humans is less-than-perfect, to the point of being crippling. It’s not encouraging to think about that alone. But when Jesus is added to the picture and I realize that God designed us to be this way, I can rest easy and rejoice in the way I am, imperfect and all.
Questions for You:
- What has been “crippling” in your life? Are you always striving to change that or do you embrace it as a part of who you are?
- What have you cut out of your life that has brought freedom?