by Terry Wane Benton
Jesus talked about "causing" ourselves or others to sin, and in making His point cut deep, He showed that retaining sin is far more serious than cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye (Matthew 5:27-30). You can go to heaven without a hand or an eye, but you cannot go to heaven without cutting off or plucking sin out of the heart. Sin is far worse than living without some part of the body. Why? Because there are eternal consequences of sin. Losing a hand or eye is only a temporary condition.
Now, as vivid as the imagery is, does Jesus mean to imply that the actual cause of sin might be your hand or eye? No! Sin starts much deeper than that. The cause of sin is not the hand or the eye. These may be instruments used to carry forward a sin, but sin actually starts in the mind or heart. That is where it must be addressed. Get down to the cause of sin. Each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin, and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death (James 1:14-15).
Where did David go wrong with Bathsheba? He looked to lust, the lust grew and he did not cut it off at the heart. He was enticed by his desires, and that moved him into the decision to call for her. He sinned in his heart, in his decisions, before he ever engaged the physical sexual act. Was his eye the cause? No! It was only an instrument of sin, not the cause. The cause was that he fed the desires in his heart and used his eyes to feed his desires. That is where the real cause of sin needed to be addressed.
If your hand is really the cause of you stealing something, then you should cut off the cause of sin. But the hand is not really the cause of stealing, is it? The cause is much deeper. That is Jesus' point! Cut off the cause of sin where sin is being conceived. It is in lust and desires. Take that more seriously than cutting off a hand or plucking out an eye. Sin has a beginning point, and if not dealt with properly will land us in hellfire. That is a misery far worse than losing a hand or an eye.