I met a man a couple of years ago who lost a leg in an accident, and he introduced me to a friend he had met at rehab who had lost an arm. It is a horrible thing to lose a limb. Their lives are forever changed. But I was having coffee with them one day and one of the guys said, “Do I wish I had my arm? Sure. But life is more important than a limb. That accident could have killed me. An inch to the left or an inch to the right, and I could have been dead. And every time I am with my wife and children, I remember that, and I am grateful.”
Both men have amazing prosthetic limbs, but I wonder what that’s like, and then my mind gets to thinking about times past when there was nothing like that. They have prosthetics for everything today. It’s amazing. Life changing and remarkable for people who have tragic life-altering accidents.
Something jolted me back to the conversation with the guys in the coffee shop. I had been daydreaming for a minute. Then something else in the coffee shop caught my attention. Two tables over, a man was speaking to his girlfriend in a way and with language that was so foul and dehumanizing that at first, I could not believe it was happening. Just as the realization of what was happening dawned on me the man stood up and stormed out, leaving the women sitting there sobbing.
One of the men I was with, the man with the prosthetic leg, stood up, grabbed the napkin container, walked over and passed it to the women for her tears.
He may not have a leg, but he has so much that the man who abused his girlfriend doesn’t have. And there is no prosthetic replacement for what that man doesn’t have. There is no prosthetic for an amputated soul.
Today’s difficult teaching is…
“If your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away.”
This is from Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 18, verse 9.
The idea of plucking your own eye out is, I suspect, as disgusting to you as it is to me. But look at all the other things we do that hurt us and make us less than who we are capable of being. Are they little things? Maybe. But at what point do lots of little things end up being massively self-destructive.
There is something in your life that is creating an obstacle between you and God, an obstacle between you and the-best-version-of-yourself, an obstacle to you loving other people deeply. You don’t need me to tell you what it is, you either know or with a little soul-searching will discover it. Pluck it out of your life and throw it away from you.
All new beginnings, all fresh starts, require a bold leap.
Watch the video!