Hunkered Down Devotion

Mark 9:43-47 (NIV)
43 If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. 45 And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than to have two feet and be thrown into hell. 47 And if your eye causes you to stumble, pluck it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell,

This is not what we would call one of those ‘shiny, happy, scripture passages’.  These verses are not making it on any bumper stickers anytime soon, at least not on any bumper sticker that I would want any of you to put on the same car as an HPC magnet!  These are harsh words, words that talk about consequences.  The kinds of consequences that you can’t take back or recover from.  

Let’s just be honest, poking eyes out, cutting hands and feet off.  These do not feel like the instructions of a loving and grace filled God.  But, yet, that is exactly what we seem to have going on in today’s gospel passage.  So, what is really going on here?  The reality is actually quite simple.  Our lives our made up of choices.   Some of those choices are bigger than others. Some of those choices we are more aware of making than others, some have bigger consequences than others, but we make dozens – maybe more – choices a day, and each of those choices carries with it a set of consequences.  And each of those choices brings us closer, or further away from who and what God calls us to be and do.

What Jesus is doing is highlighting, in stark terms to be sure, that some of our choices have real and permanent consequences.  His point is that if the choices we are making take us away from God, then almost any alternative would be better.  If we are allowing our eyes to linger on things that temp us to sin and pull us from God – it would be better, figuratively not be able to see at all.  Similarly, if our tongue keeps getting us into trouble, well…. You get the picture (I don’t like to think about that one :) )

Ultimately, however, we must remember, in the end it isn’t up to us to cover the distance between us and God.  It isn’t about how many correct choices we make or how many bad consequences we deserve to suffer.  Instead, in the end, we will be judged not on the basis of what we deserve, but by the grace of God, and the love of Jesus Christ.  

Sharing God’s Love

Prayer: Lord, help us to rid ourselves of all of the things that lead us away from the path of Jesus Christ. Amen.

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