Cut it Off

Dear Sinners Who Live By Grace,

Jesus says, "If your hand or foot get in the way chop it off and throw it away." (Mark 9:43 The Message trans.)
Those words no matter what translation is selected have always come off to me as a bit extreme. Even the most stringent of biblical literalist does not run around with limbs they chopped off per Jesus biblical suggestion. So what does Jesus mean?

Author Judith Wright, in her book There Must Be More Than This: Finding More Life , Love and Meaning by Overcoming Your Soft Addictions, argues that clearly Jesus is saying in the text be done with alcohol abuse, crack, meth, pornography and so on. However, Jesus is also after the “soft addictions some of us may not see as problem." These are what many classify as smaller issues that over time take a toll and effect the fullness of our lives.

Soft addictions, like habitually playing computer games, browsing eBay, maxing the credit card, don't seem as detrimental as smoking pot. But just like hard addictions, these habits can make you feel worse, not better about life.

You may have a soft addiction if you try to hide your habit from others, or make excuses or rationalizations to justify it, or retreat to this habit compulsively, or find that you want to change but cannot, or find that others in your family or circle of friends resent your addiction. With signs like these , Wright says "…a person should accept the fact of the addiction, although apparently a minor thing, it probably needs to be addressed."

So what might you need to pray for today to have chopped off and out of your life? What "sin" seems small to you but it interferes with living a full life as a follower of Jesus?  Jesus desires for you to have a full and joyful life. The teachings of Jesus in Mark 9 and the reflections of Dr.Wright might be fertile ground for a prayerful conversation with Jesus and truthful conversation with a significant other.

Still in One Peace,

Pastor David J. Jensen

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