If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.

The thought of getting rid of your hand, foot, or eye to avoid sinning sounds rather extreme—and yes—even grotesque. Yet we can relate to the frustration of desperately wanting to just cut sin out of our lives. At the same time, we know that missing some body parts—or other elements we attribute to sin—would not keep sin from entering back into our lives.

But here’s one way to cut sin out of your life: look at it as a missed opportunity to love. Rather than trying to remove every potential cause of sin, try putting more effort into using your hands and eyes and feet to honor the Lord and to serve the people around you. Remember the famous quote attributed to St. Teresa of Ávila:

Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.

Holiness, like sinfulness, can become a habit, but you have to work diligently at it and aggressively seek God’s help and grace. Investing time in prayer, adding positive structure to your day, and looking for ways to be Christ’s body on earth might take a little extra planning and effort. But with practice, you will find that your hands are too busy to sin. Your feet will have so many places to go that you won’t have time to wander from the Lord. Your eyes will be too occupied looking for opportunities to serve.

Don’t stop there! Take a look at how you use your money, your time, even your hobbies. Instead of using them for yourself, look for ways that you can use them to be Christ to others.

By focusing on turning opportunities to sin into opportunities to love others, you will begin to feel your whole body—especially your heart—reorienting itself toward Christ. Gradually, your hands and eyes and feet will become instruments of service rather than instruments of sin.

“Lord, help me find ways to use everything you have given me to love you and serve your people.”

James 5:1-6
Psalm 49:14-20
Mark 9:41-50


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