- Lessons from Life (formerly, the "One Minute Message")
"I believe this new name will be more descriptive of this message, and more in keeping with its mission and purpose." - Randall Vaughn
Title: "Chop Chop"
By Randall Vaughn
"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. (Mat 5:29-30 NIV)
Jesus often said things that others found shocking. The above
scripture is no exception.
He talked about eating His flesh and
drinking His blood, which was revolting to many of his listeners. He
said He existed before Abraham, the very idea of which His
contemporaries considered ludicrous.
And this. Telling people to
maim and disfigure their bodies.
Shocking? Yes. Even for today, if you take His words literally.
His words seem so far removed from our "educated" and "enlightened"
world. But, are they really?
I have heard people repeat the old cliche, "I would give my right arm
for...", but I do not believe they understood what they were really
What is worth giving up something valuable, even irreplaceable, to
attain? What would you be willing to die for? Is there anything you
would compromise your relationship with God to achieve or acquire?
Stop for a few minutes and answer those questions. Really do it,
right now . When you have your answers, continue reading.
People have struggled with these words of Jesus for centuries. Did
Jesus literally mean to maim and disfigure your body? Of course not.
But, you may argue, that is exactly what He said.
True, but on the printed page, just as in what you are reading now, we
do not have the benefit of His body language, His expressions, and the
overall "tone" of His words, all of which impact the meaning of His
Someone recently challenged that opinion. I responded, "You believe He meant it literally? Interesting. I don't see any hands or eyes missing." Enough said.
I believe Jesus was using what I call the "shock factor". I frequently
use it also. What is it?
Simply, you say something that is so "different" or challenging, that
someone has to listen very closely and think deeply (sometimes even
study) about it in order to understand what you said, or at times more
important, what you did NOT say. It is a technique used to keep your
words from "going over someone's head" without being seriously
One thing you will have to admit: Jesus got your attention with those
words. You have to think, study, even struggle to understand what He
meant. He accomplished His purpose.
When you really think about His words, there is nothing that you could
do with your right hand that you could not also do with your left.
There is nothing you could see with your right eye that you could not
also see with your left. So, He was "getting at" something much
deeper than body parts .
He was talking about compromise.
A friend recently told me of a very difficult decision she had to
make. It was one of those "right eye" decisions.
A friend of hers of many years became involved in something that she
could not, in good conscience, accept or condone. It became a "major
thing" between them, an impasse in their relationship, because her
friend expected her to accept this because of their long friendship.
What made the situation even more significant, is that the thing her
friend wanted her to accept would cause a compromise in her
relationship with God if she accepted it.
My friend was compelled to make that difficult decision. She had to
"break away" from that relationship, because she could not continue it
and disagree with her friend, nor could she continue it and compromise
her relationship with God.
That decision was, for her, a "right hand" or "right eye". She lived
what Jesus taught in the scripture above. She removed from her life
that which would cause her to offend God.
Earlier, I asked you some questions: What is worth giving up
something valuable, even irreplaceable, to attain? What would you be
willing to die for? Is there anything you would compromise your
relationship with God to achieve or acquire?
If you look closely at your answers, you may find some "right hands"
or "right eyes". If you do, what are you willing to do about them?
To "cut them off", as my friend did, requires commitment and courage.
It is not easy. It is not supposed to be. It never will be. Do not
expect it to be. That is why it takes commitment and courage, and not
everyone is willing to possess those qualities. (Notice, I said
"willing" . Anyone could. But not all will.)
Jesus made it clear. He said, "It is better..." So, whatever the
conflict, whatever the compromise, whatever the cost, whatever the
consequences, "It is better..." for you to make the right choice.
Choose Him. It will always be "better". He did not promise "easy",
but He did promise "better". There is no compromise on that point.
You will not regret the "better" choice. Jesus guarantees it.
And my friend's situation? The other person eventually removed the
compromising thing out of her life, restored her relationship with
God, and they have fellowship again.
Had my friend compromised, likely her friend would not have been
restored, and her relationship with God would have suffered as well.
It was the "better" choice for her.
What about you? Where does your axe need to fall?