On Thursday a box of 10 Hostess Ho Hos made it into the van. Three children and one adult each had one, leaving six. The rest were being saved for ‘movie night’ on Friday.
One child simply could not stop thinking about those Ho Hos.
While the rest of the family was distracted with dinner guests Thursday evening, that child ate four more Ho Hos. This same child also ate the last two for breakfast the next morning.
So, this child disobeyed mom, stole something that wasn’t his, considered his own desires ahead of his siblings, did not practice self-control, and allowed his eyes and his thoughts to constantly come back to what was tempting him. These are typical, childish sins, of course. But they were sins.
Paul has never been tempted to steal Ho Hos, or anything else for that matter. He is completely free from that kind of sin.
And which child do we feel sorry for? [i]
Would your temptations change if you had no eyes? Jesus makes extreme suggestions for dealing with the things that tempt us.
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
In a classic ‘this is better than that’ Jesus suggests that good things like eyes and hands can become tools for our spiritual corruption. In fact, the etymology of the word ‘adultery’ the meaning conveys the idea of polluting. Good gifts like eyes and hands can pollute you into hell.
Jesus was a teacher of God’s Law. The Kingdom of God was a central teaching of His ministry. Instead of turning a blind eye to God’s Law, Jesus informed His listeners that the Law goes further than they were willing to go. Isn’t that always the case with Law? There is often a boundary or life rule that we want exclusion from. We want to eat the whole box of Ho-hos.