Q. Matthew 5: 29-30 says, “If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” Did Jesus literally mean for us to maim ourselves ?
A. This passage is obviously symbolic, because the urge to sin does not originate in the offending body part. Even blind men lust after women and men with no hands covet the possessions of others. Sin originates in man’s heart. Only God can “cut out” our hearts and give us new ones. (Ezekiel 36:26) The Lord was demonstrating the futility of trying to eliminate sin from our lives in our own strength. That’s why we need a Savior.