Sermon Whitby Rest Home 21 Feb 2014 Matthew 5:21-37
Today’s reading has the very familiar idea of getting rid of part of your body that causes you to sin. This was never meant to be taken literally – Jesus used exaggeration a lot in his teaching! But it certainly got the attention of the first audience, and it gets ours too.
What can this mean for us today? If something about us causes us to sin, get rid of it.
That could apply to habits. if you have a habit that leads to sin, it can go. Maybe that’s not such a problem as we get older, but habits such as grumbling and gossiping are not limited by age or health!
Maybe it could relate to relationships. Sometimes we can have unhealthy relationships – you know the sort when a friend is more trouble than an enemy. We can cut those off from our life too. But the main thing that jumped out when I was thinking about this was attitudes. If there are attitudes we have that cause trouble, these can go. Maybe you have been brought up with attitudes about people of different races, or different social groups. We all are – we all absorb what our family values are. But in the kingdom of heaven, there is room for us to love everyone.
Maybe you have harboured resentment about something that happened a long time ago. This can be cut out too, because it will hold you back. Are you stewing over an offence you suffered in the past? Did someone offend you? Are there broken relationships in your life? These are the sorts of things Jesus is referring to.
But it’s not that easy is it. I cannot imagine it would be easy to pluck out an eye, or cut off a hand either. It would need help. No, don’t try it at home.
The sort of help we can always reach out for is God’s help. If you sense that God is telling you that there’s something you need to let go of, lift it up to God, ask him to take it away and set you free.