If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. (Mark 9:43)
Lose his hand or lose his life. That’s the choice Aron Ralston faced. In the spring of 2003, while Aron was adventuring alone in Bluejohn Canyon, Utah, a boulder slipped and pinned his right arm. For five days he worked in vain to free himself while surviving on the meager supplies he’d brought along. At last, dehydrated, delirious, and desperate, he made the fateful decision to cut off his own hand. The amputation took an hour. When it was done, Aron managed to escape the canyon and be rescued. His dramatic story went on to be told in the 2010 film 127 Hours—and he was alive to watch it.
Jesus used the word-picture of amputation to confront his followers with the seriousness of avoiding sin. “Get rid of whatever causes you to slip into sin,” he warned them, “no matter how costly the removal. It’s the only way to save your spiritual life!” Maybe that means keeping your hands off the devices, products, or bodies that put you in touch with sin. Perhaps it means backpedaling from places your feet tend to take you where temptation is sure to trip you up. It could even mean cancelling a subscription to a magazine or channel that provokes your eyes to lust, envy, or greed. Whatever the case, Jesus’ instructions are clear: Cut it out!
Get rid of one thing that trips you up spiritually.
Jerome Van Kuiken is a missionary kid, a pastor’s kid, and dean of the school of ministry and Christian thought at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
© 2020 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.