Cut Off Your Hand!

Cut off your Hand!

Arguably the most bizarre command of Christ is found in Matthew 5:29-30, where he tells us to pluck out our eyes or cut off our hands if they cause us to sin. "It is better to enter heaven blind and lame," he says, "than to have a healthy body and be cast into hell."

This passage is often quoted as proof that Jesus never meant for us to take him literally. To be honest, we've never plucked out an eye or cut off a hand ourselves, and we know of no saint who ever did. We have heard of a few mental patients who did, however!

So maybe Jesus did not mean for it to be taken literally... and if he did not mean for us to take that literally, then maybe he didn't mean for us to take anything else he said literally either.

No way! We cannot accept that line of reasoning. If Jesus is really the Son of God, then trying to make him conform to our finite wisdom is blasphemy.

Let's start with the mental patients. If you or I cut a hand off, wouldn't we be committed to a mental hospital too? So what if the hand choppers aren't all crazy?

And is it really true that people who are widely recognised as being sane have never cut off a hand or plucked out an eye? Check the medical records of any hospital and you'll find that amputations and organ removals are commonplace. Life threatening conditions like gangrene or cancer often lead people to take such extreme steps.

A railway worker in outback Australia was bitten on the hand by a deadly brown snake. He had no hope of getting to a hospital before the poison killed him. So he grabbed an axe and chopped off his own hand. He was not locked up. In fact, he was commended for his courage. Obviously he showed good sense too. The loss of a hand was of lower priority than life itself.

Try this experiment. Get a very sharp pocket knife and put it in your pocket or purse for one day, with the understanding that you will cut your hand off (or maybe just put a big gash in it) before you will let it lead you into sin. Just do it for one day. And see if you don't think very seriously about everything that you do that day.

With a knife in your pocket, you begin to confront the seriousness of sin. It is so easy to make spiritually fatal decisions without thinking about their consequences. Physical threats are usually visible and immediate, so we tend to act more quickly to avoid them. A chopped off hand (or even the threat of it) might be just what we need to get things back into correct perspective.

The whole context of Christ's command was to show us that, if physical life is worth such drastic action, then spiritual life is worth even more. Most of us would lack the courage to do what that railway worker did to save his physical life. But we should be much more motivated if we thought that our failure to act would mean eternal death. And in either case we should be able to recognise the good sense of such an action even if we lack the courage to do so ourselves.

Muslims practise such 'atrocities' as cutting off the hands of thieves; and Jews teach "an eye for an eye". America actually executes dozens of people each year in the name of morality. All Jesus asks is that we show this same kind of discipline on our selves. Is that so bizarre?

And now for the loophole you've all been hoping for. (Though, to be honest, if you don't go through the stage of being willing to cut off your hand or pluck out your eye, you may not qualify for the loophole.)

Obviously it is not your hand or your eyes that actually cause you to sin. Cutting a thief's hand off does not stop the greed that caused the theft in the first place.

What we need to think more seriously about is a 'heart' transplant! Jesus said "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be." (Matthew 6:21) And he says to forsake our treasure if we want to be his disciple. (Luke 14:33) Paul says the love of money is the root of all evil. (I Timothy 6:10) So this is what we must cut out.

As extreme as amputation may be, most people would rather lose an arm or leg than give up their wealth and their source of income. But Jesus says to pick up that axe and hack away at the real causes of sin in your life. We think he is quite literal about forsaking the root of all evil.

Smash your pride. Pluck out your emotionalism. Cut off your visible means of support. So that you can begin (right now!) to live by faith in the eternal kingdom of heaven.

(See also the article "The Root of All Evil".)

Dave McKay, and his wife Cherry, are co-founders of the Jesus Christian communities, in Australia, England, Kenya, and the U.S. The community is dedicated to at least trying to literally obey the various teachings of Jesus. Visit their website at http://www.jesuschristians.com or email Dave at

In The News:

The EU's Work On Freedom Of Religion Or Belief Is Being Challenged From Within  ForbesGetting the European Union (and its different mechanisms) to engage effectively on the subject of freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) has always been difficult.
Islam as statecraft: How governments use religion in foreign policy  Brookings InstitutionThe discussion of Islam in world politics recently has tended to focus on how religion is used by a wide range of social movements, political parties, and militant ...
Respecting An Establishment Of Religion  Above the LawForcing free and independent individuals to pay for religious displays violates the First Amendment.
‘Religious freedom’ bill pitched in Iowa Senate  Waterloo Cedar Falls CourierDES MOINES — Iowans would be granted broader legal protection to take actions guided by their religious beliefs under a proposal advanced Tuesday by ...
Controversial 'religious freedom' bill gets another look at Iowa Capitol  Des Moines RegisterRepublican lawmakers have reintroduced a bill at the Iowa Capitol that they say will protect religious rights but that critics warn could allow businesses in the ...
Nigerians Deeply Divided by Religion on Key Issues  GallupAs Nigerians prepare to cast their ballots, the country's Muslims and Christians are deeply divided on key issues.
Abortion is not about religion | Letters  Jamaica GleanerTHE EDITOR, Sir: For Peter Espeut, contrary to his claim, and for many church people, abortion is very much a religious issue. Their position is clearly based on ...
Religious freedom bill makes ground at Statehouse  KCCI Des MoinesA Religious Freedom Restoration bill that was shelved by lawmakers in 2018 advanced in the Iowa Statehouse on Tuesday. Supporters say the bill will protect ...
POLL: Sidhu says terror has "no country, no religion". Do you agree?  Yahoo NewsCongress leader Navjot Singh Sidhu has been condemned for his remarks that terrorism has “no country, no religion”.
Iran should return to ancient teachings of Islam, a religion hijacked in 1979 by a dictatorial regime  Fox NewsMany experts on the Middle East never thought they'd see the day the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates would be ...
Why we studied the possible links between religion and happiness, health and civic engagement  Pew Research CenterPeople who regularly attend a house of worship are more likely to be happy and civically engaged than those who do not, according to a new Pew Research ...
UP budget 2019: Religion, cows among Yogi Adityanath’s 4 point development formula  The Financial ExpressThe budget aims to create a generous fusion between rural livelihood and cattle economy, women welfare, development of tourist destinations, modernization ...
Forget egos, look for common threads in religion  Free Malaysia TodayMalaysians are still mired in religious controversies despite knowing that it will not augur well for the continued peace and co-existence in a multi-religious ...
Cult leader Serge Benhayon’s ‘sick’ global religion found by jury to be dangerous  NEWS.com.auA former NSW tennis coach, posing as a religious leader, has been found to have taken millions of dollars from families and had an “indecent interest in girls as ...
Trump just promised to help religious adoption agencies that won’t work with gay parents. Here’s what he could do.  Washington PostAt Thursday's National Prayer Breakfast, President Trump introduced a family he called “inspiring to us all”: the Bucks from Michigan, who have adopted five ...
The Supreme Court Is Playing Favorites With Religion  ACLULast week, the Supreme Court permitted the state of Alabama to execute a Muslim man, Domineque Ray, without his religious advisor present. The court's 5-4 ...
British attitudes on national identity and religious minorities not unique in EU  Pew Research CenterOn issues including national identity and religious minorities, views among UK adults align very closely to general opinion across the EU.
What Science Can Learn From Religion  The New York TimesHostility toward spiritual traditions may be hampering empirical inquiry.
Men and women religious feel shame for failures on abuse  Vatican NewsThe abuse of children is wrong anywhere and anytime: this point is not negotiable.” This is what the leaders of men and women religious of the world ...
As Americans disengage from religion, a California institution encourages questioning  Religion News ServiceOJAI, Calif. (RNS) — They come by the dozens, making their way past groves of orange trees and converging on a low-slung white house with a gnarled pepper ...
When Religion Leads to Trauma  The New York TimesSome churches “weaponize scripture and religion to do very deep damage on the psyche,” one pastor says.
Why a centuries-old religious dispute over Ukraine's Orthodox Church matters today  The Conversation - USUkraine's Orthodox Church recently broke off from Russia. This dispute has a history that goes back to medieval Christianity, and continues to shape ...
Marie Kondo and Kuyō: Is throwing things away really a religious experience?  Religion News Service(RNS) — “Does it spark joy?” Since the release of the 2019 Netflix documentary “Tidying Up” with Marie Kondo, people across the globe have been inspired to ...
Listen to R.E.M. Perform "Losing My Religion," Released on This Day in 1991 :: Music :: Features :: R.E.M. :: Paste  Paste MagazineAthens, Ga. alternative rockers R.E.M. released their best-known song, “Losing My Religion” on this day in 1991. It was the first single from their 1991 seventh ...
Religion's Relationship to Happiness, Civic Engagement and Health  Pew Research Center's Religion and Public Life ProjectPeople who are active in religious congregations tend to be happier and more civically engaged than either religiously unaffiliated adults or inactive members of ...
Exclusion of women from temples not essential to Hindu religion: Kerala government on Sabarimala  Economic TimesNEW DELHI: Exclusion of women from temples is not essential to the Hindu religion, the Kerala government said Wednesday vehemently opposing in the ...
After 9-year battle, Vellore lawyer gets no-caste-no-religion certificate  Times of IndiaA Snegha Parthibaraja, a lawyer,is the first in the country to get certified that she does not belong to any caste or religion. She said, "people wit.
China’s disdain for religious freedoms  BusinessLineIts superpower status has allowed it to get away with persecution of religious minorities. India should leverage its soft power.
'Alien Religion': Tajik Customs Officials Burn 5,000 Baptist Calendars  RadioFreeEurope/RadioLibertyA senior official in Tajikistan's Customs *Service* has confirmed that the authorities have confiscated and burned 5000 evangelical Christian calendars ordered by ...
'No magic formula' for approving religious diets in Pennington County Jail  Rapid City JournalAn inmate and former inmate are seeking $2 million in combined damages while arguing that their right to religious freedom was violated after they were denied ...
Religion vs. Free Speech  The Jewish Press - JewishPress.comSpeaking and writing about Islam today requires discretion, sensitivity, and a good grasp of facts. Doing this is harder in most European countries than it is in the ...
YDS 'Quadcast' explores how to reconcile religion & philosophy  Yale NewsBy Emily L. Judd. Yale Divinity School Professor John Hare joins the YDS podcast for its February episode, in which he discusses the relationship between ...
Tax business denies service to gay couple, citing religion  Effingham Daily NewsFor the last four years, Bailey Brazzel has gone to Carver Tax *Service* in Russiaville, Indiana to have her taxes done by Nancy Fivecoate, who runs the business.
Mike Pence has inserted religious considerations into setting of foreign-policy priorities  MarketWatchIn the first two years of the Trump presidency, Vice President Mike Pence has worked to put religion at the heart of key diplomatic efforts, steering hundreds of ...
Religious people are happier than atheists, finds study  Times of IndiaIt seems impossible to zero down on ways that can induce happiness but there may be a way to do that - and the answer lies in your religious beliefs.
Brain changes related to religion and spirituality could confer resilience to depression  PsyPostNew research published in Brain and Behavior provides evidence that religious and spiritual beliefs lower the risk of depression because they're ...
Cdl. Burke: Pope’s declaration saying God wills ‘diversity of religions’ is ‘not correct’  LifesiteFebruary 19, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Cardinal Raymond Burke thinks the controversial statement in a joint Catholic-Muslim declaration signed by Pope Francis in ...
Students present at Religious Education Student Symposium  Universe.byu.eduBYU students presented papers on a religious subject of their choice at BYU's 21st Annual Religious Education Student Symposium on Friday, Feb. 15.
Woman claims discrimination by SC foster agency over her religion  WLTX.comIn an AP exclusive story, the woman says she was told she couldn't be a foster parent due to her religion.
Bossier Parish Schools, AU reaches agreement on federal lawsuit over religion in schools  KSLAThis resolution comes almost a year after the religious liberties watchdog group announced they would be filing a federal lawsuit against the Bossier City School ...
What Religion is 'The Pioneer Woman' Ree Drummond?  The Cheat Sheet'The Pioneer Woman' star Ree Drummond sometimes mentions faith, but what religion does she practice? Here's what we know about Ree Drummond's ...
Minority Muslims free to practise their religion in China, says Islamic group - Nation  The Star OnlineBEIJING: Minority Muslims in China are not being discriminated or persecuted by the Chinese government, says China Islamic Association (CIA) vice-president ...
Abortion, death penalty, religion: Late-night rulings show new alliances at Supreme Court  The Washington PostLate-night rulings that touched on abortion, the death penalty and religious rights provided new insight into the alliances on the reconstituted Supreme Court and ...
The Coming Test Acts Will Challenge Religious Freedom  National ReviewThink of a country where leading politicians question whether members of a long-established religious minority are fit for public office. Or where the head of state ...
UTSA sociologists study the impact religion has on child development  UTSA Today(Feb. 6, 2019) -- Do children raised by religious parents have better social and psychological development than those raised in non-religious homes? In a new ...
The Anti-Israel Religion  besacenter.orgAnti-Israelism is the modern face of anti-Semitism and just as toxic. Anti-Israelism is a modern-day religion in that it demands unquestioning adherence to a ...
Government allows SC foster care group to keep Protestants-only policy  Religion News ServiceA room in one of Miracle Hill's three group homes for children in foster care in South Carolina. RNS photo by Yonat Shimron. (RNS) — The U.S. Department of ...
Murders of Religious Minorities in India Go Unpunished, Report Finds  The New York TimesNEW DELHI — The Indian authorities have delayed investigating a wave of vigilante-style murders of religious minorities, with many instead working to justify ...
Religious orders apologize for sex abuse inaction, cover-ups  TribDem.comCatholic religious orders from around the world apologized Tuesday for having failed to respond when their priests raped children, acknowledging that their ...
Shoppers unknowingly buying no-stun religious meat in supermarkets  The IndependentShoppers have been unwittingly buying meat from animals that were not stunned when killed under religious rules because it is going unlabelled in ...
Why some young Muslim women are leaning into arranged marriages  Religion News Service(RNS) — Last month, Muslim matchmaking app Muzmatch hit 1 million users around the world. The co-founders of the so-called halal dating tool claim that at ...
Senators Can and Must Ask About Nominees' Religious Beliefs  Rewire.NewsQuestioning federal nominees on religion has been decried as a violation of the Constitution's ban on religious tests. But not only does it do nothing of the kind, ...
Muslim, Jewish college presidents focus on common goals with Christian educators  Religion News ServiceWASHINGTON (RNS) — Like most college presidents, Ari Berman and Hamza Yusuf care about giving their students the best education possible in the ...
How Does Religion Impact Child Development?  PsychCentral.comA new study suggests that growing up in a religious household can be a mixed blessing for childhood development. The findings, published in the journal.
Is Cannabis Against Your Religion?  LeaflyReefer Madness—the movie—was famously produced by a church. But do the world's religions really forbid the enjoyment of a plant?
Terrorism has no religion, no nation, says Navjot Singh Sidhu, favours talks with Pak, faces fire  India TodayPulwama terror attack: At least 40 CRPF paramilitary troopers were killed yesterday in one of the deadliest terror attacks in three decades of Kashmir's ...
Why is Nigeria cracking down on peaceful religious protests?  The Washington PostThe Nigerian government appears to be taking a hard line on religious opposition — though not against the usual suspects. Even as the Boko Haram insurgency ...
Why Religious Freedom Matters  TownhallWhy Religious Freedom Matters - Alan Sears: Of the beloved “Four Freedoms” famously described by Franklin Roosevelt .02/20/2019 1:05:32AM EST.
An Indiana tax preparer turned away a same-sex couple, citing religious beliefs: 'I am a Christian and I believe marriage is between one man and one woman'  Business InsiderAfter using the same tax *service* for four years, Bailey Brazzel was denied last week when the business owner found out she is married to a woman.
Provoked By Trump, The Religious Left Is Finding Its Voice  NPRThe Trump administration has inspired a new activism on the part of liberal religious groups. Like the Moral Majority of the 1980s, they fear an assault on their ...
Cuba's proposed constitution cuts religious freedom  BrnowCuban pastors are resisting pressure to support a Feb. 24 constitutional referendum that further limits religious freedoms in the Communist nation, international ...
Religious Exemption Vaccination Bill Fails  KJZZA bill that would have allowed Arizona parents to claim a religious exemption for the requirement to vaccinate their children to attend school did not pass out of ...
Is Religious Freedom for Christians Only?  The New York TimesDomineque Hakim Marcelle Ray wanted an imam by his side when he was executed. The Supreme Court said no.
Fifty years later, Catholic Church reckons again with unbelief  Religion News Service(RNS) — Fifty years after it held the world's first international conference examining the rise of atheism and secularism, the Vatican is joining forces with a British ...
George Washington's faith under scrutiny after sale of 'God letter'  Religion News Service(RNS) — The sale of a 230-year-old letter in which America's first president speaks of “Providence” guiding the fledgling republic's affairs has rekindled interest ...
Andrew Mackenzie finds new religion as BHP delivers on dividends  The Australian Financial ReviewBHP exercised the recovered power of its balance sheet by maintaining the interim dividend, even though earnings were shaken by the vicissitudes of running a ...
'Thaipusam shows Malaysians enjoy freedom of religion' - Nation  The Star OnlineKUALA LUMPUR: The peaceful Thaipusam celebration this year affirms the fact that Malaysians are able to enjoy freedom of religion, says National Unity and ...
Majority-Muslim Turkey Becomes Less Religious, Poll Says  NPRDespite a rise in religious doctrine from the government, a recent survey shows a dip in the portion of people identifying as religious, compared with a poll in ...
Reclaiming Religious Freedom  Center For American ProgressLast month, the most religiously diverse U.S. Congress in our nation's history was sworn into office. For proponents of religious liberty, this was an incredible ...
Five things to know about religious freedom in the United Arab Emirates  The Washington PostWhile the freedom of worship is enshrined in the constitution, the government maintains tight control over where religious activities can take place.
Here's What Members Of Malta's LGBT+ Community Had To Say About Religion On The Island  Lovin MaltaWe know what the Church's position is when it comes to same-sex marriages. We've heard it all time and time again.
How highly religious Americans view evolution depends on how they’re asked about it  Pew Research CenterEvolution remains a contentious issue. When asked about it, highly religious Americans' responses can vary depending on how the question is asked.
Baltimore County Council approves outside legal contracts for religious lawsuits, labor negotiations  Baltimore SunThe Baltimore County Council on Tuesday approved several contracts with private attorneys to handle legal work.
Côte Saint-Luc says it won't enforce religious symbol ban  CBC.caThe City of Côte Saint-Luc is taking a stand against the Legault government's religious symbols ban, even though it doesn't yet exist. Last Monday, the city ...
Why clerical rage over the “Macedonian question” has modern roots  The EconomistTHE SPECTACLE of tear gas clouds swirling through Athens on January 20th was as bewildering to many outsiders as the passions behind the huge (and ...
Is there really such a thing as the "Judeo-Christian tradition"?  ABC LocalThe notion of a "Judeo-Christian tradition" is a modern invention, and one we would do well to abandon. After all, it conceals the Western history of anti-Judaism, ...
Tulsi Gabbard: Religious bigotry is un-American  Religion News Service(RNS) — I am proud to be the first Hindu American to have been elected to Congress and now the first Hindu American to run for president. While the headlines ...
Conflict between brothers splits Uganda's thriving Abayudaya Jewish community  Religion News ServiceMBALE, Uganda (RNS) — During a recent Shabbat *service* here, Rabbi Gershom Sizomu led dozens of worshippers in a prayer for unity. Women sang psalms.
Glen Rock eliminates homework during religious holiday breaks  NorthJersey.comGLEN ROCK – The school district has updated its homework policy after calls from parents asking for a ban on assignments during religious breaks.
Valentine's Day special: Neither distance nor religion stopped us from loving each other: Siju Wilson  Times of IndiaOn Valentines's Day, Siju Wilson reveals his love story to us.
Q & A with Sr. Liliana Franco, leader of women religious in Latin America, the Caribbean  Global Sisters ReportSr. Liliana Franco sees the next three years as an opportunity for transformation for religious life in the Americas. Franco, a sister of the Company of Mary, ...
British inquiry into church sexual abuse blasts UK's papal nuncio  Religion News ServiceLONDON (RNS) — A British government inquiry into the sexual abuse crisis that continues to shake the Catholic Church has focused on the actions of the ...
James MacDonald fired as Harvest Bible Chapel pastor  Religion News ServiceCHICAGO (RNS) — James MacDonald, the embattled pastor of Harvest Bible Chapel, has been fired by the suburban Chicago megachurch he founded three ...
Ashrawi Accuses Israel of Seeking Religious War  Asharq Al-awsat EnglishPalestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi at a press conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah, (AFP Photo/Abbas ...

Satan is Let Loose One More Time

After the 1000 years are up in the Millennium Kingdom,... Read More

Sexual Deviants and the Catholic Church

It is unfortunate that the Catholic Church seems to continue... Read More

Has God Ever Disappointed You in Prayer?

Of a truth, the physical manifestations of God's answers to... Read More

Your Mission Field At Work

One point many Christian Working Moms who have been interviewed... Read More

Treachery in the Midst of the Land

The term Scripture uses to describe the activities of those... Read More

The Coming War with Russia

The Coming World War III [with Russia]In my book, "The... Read More

Lets Restore the Word of Christ

"What? Trying to spread the gospel message without quoting from... Read More

Are You Doing the Good Part?

Just compare yourself to these two sisters.Even though they were... Read More

Amos And Social Justice Part 2

Amos was summoned by God to warn the Northern Kingdom... Read More

Philippians 2:1-18 -- Seek Unity Through Humility

This passage begins (2:1-4) with a call to unity that... Read More

What is Love?

Now many confuse love with admiration and most commonly sexual... Read More

Reading the Bible

A friend of mine had asked my thoughts on how... Read More

Better Worship - 12 Marks of an Effective Music Ministry

Small BeginningsMy first experience in music ministry happened fairly soon... Read More

Have You Neglected This Righteous Cause Of God?

As believers, we have a responsibility to care for those... Read More

Understanding How To Pray - Part 1 of 2

Being in the Ministry for a few years now, I've... Read More

L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. Blows the Whistle

L. Ron Hubbard, Jr. Blows the WhistleWhen L. Ron Hubbard... Read More

The Greatest Love and Self-image

The Greek language had three words for "Love" First there... Read More

Firstfruit from Death Guarantees the Coming Harvest

The farmer handed buckets to us, the blueberry pickers. "You're... Read More

Why Christian and Atheist Libertarians Get Along

I'm the most religious guy in the Libertarian Party. At... Read More

Jesus as the Rose of Sharon

The words "rose of Sharon" comes out of the Old... Read More

Terror; The Lost War

Zephaniah 1:14-1:18{Terror; Intense, overpowering fear.An emotion experienced in anticipation of... Read More

White Sun - Tao of Heaven. Showers of Wisdom ( Part 1 of 3 )

'Showers of Wisdom' is taught by JiGong, the Heavenly teacher... Read More

Saved From Religion

"Religion is the fashionable substitute for belief." - Oscar WildeA... Read More

A Gentle God

I was in my late teens when I first read... Read More

7 Bowl Judgements

There is now one more set of 7 judgments God... Read More