“And if your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life crippled than with two hands to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life lame than with two feet to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, ‘where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’”(Mark 9:43-48)

Mark’s gospel contains several short teachings uttered by Jesus that cover a wide range of topics. Basically what Jesus is saying is that there is nothing more important than a person’s relationship with God. He talks about religious hypocrites who lead others away from God by their example and by their teachings. They are all bound for eternal hell. So do not follow them.

Jesus also stresses the importance of struggling with sin. He sounds as if he is advocating for people to maim themselves rather than commit sin, but these words should not be taken literally. Jesus is saying that we ought to examine our lives, ideals, relationships, and activities to see what is leading us or tempting us to sin. Many of these things seem mundane or harmless but they are deadly if they take first place in our lives over our faith. We should shun all such sinful motivations and cut them out of our lives. These could come in the form of a person or group of people, an organization, or even what we do in our spare time such as family activities, social media, the Internet, and television. Many of these things crowd into our lives and often take precedence over worshipping the Lord and doing His will. Many of them even have us condoning sin or finding it entertaining. Jesus says get rid of all such things or they will overcome us and lead us into eternal hell. Will power and self-help programs cannot accomplish this. We must ask the Lord for forgiveness and prayer so that He will enable us to overcome all those temptations which so easily beset us.