You may not know the name Aron Ralston just by reading it here, but surely you have heard his story. Aron is
the young man who, back in 2003, was doing what he normally does, he was hiking Blue John Canyon in Utah when the unimaginable happened; a large boulder became dislodged and trapped his right forearm against the canyon wall. In the story that he tells, no one was told where he had been heading that day, and he knew that no one would be searching for him. After four days and almost out of life-sustaining water Aron came to an almost delirious conclusion: if he were to survive he would have to amputate his trapped forearm.
In an unrelated but similar story Colorado logger Jon Hutt found himself in a precarious predicament last month when six tons of his machinery slid off of his truck and pinned his foot underneath. Jon could not move without excruciating pain; having no cell phone available and knowing that there was no one in the vicinity that he could call out to for help, Jon knew that his only option for survival would be to amputate his toes. In both of these cases the men knew that if they did not cut off their limbs or appendages they would certainly perish. They made the life-saving decision to cut off something that had been a part of them forever in order to live.
Wherefore if thy hand or thy foot offend thee, cut them off, and cast them from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, rather than having two hands or two feet to be cast into everlasting fire.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire. (Matthew 18:8-9).
Just as Aron and Jon amputated their body parts in order to live, those of us who are a part of the body of Christ must also at times make the painful decision to cut off those things that offend us. This scripture is a testament to repentance and restoration not condemnation; I remember that months ago my husband preached this message with the same title, and we joked about seeing people walking around with eyes gouged out. The visual is both gross and funny, just think about plucking out your eye because the optometrist told you that you need bifocals, “stupid eyes!” 😉 All jokes aside, we have been talking lately about how people can become a stumblingblock to our walk with Christ, and instead of removing them, we allow them to continually inject their poison (or sin) into our system which drives us further from Him. Have you ever thought about why you get angry for no reason at all? Or maybe why you have a desire to listen to the music that your “friends” listen to? Or how about that occasional curse word that slips out? These are examples of things that separate us from the love of God and need to be radically amputated. If you have a friend who uses you as their relationship dumping ground, amputate them. If your boy (girl) friend would rather complain than pray, amputate them. If your music collection consists of tunes that take you back 20 years ago to when you were a “playa” then you need to get out your surgical tools and amputate it!
I remember late last year my son (who is 18) told me that he had been a huge fan of Wiz Khalifa (admittedly, I had no idea who that person was), and that when he listened to his music it made my son want to fight, argue and generally made him extremely angry. He saw how it affected him and made the decision to amputate all of his music from his iPod. That is radical for an 18 year old, but the music offended him so he cut it off. Personally I can say that I had been allowing people that I know were not attempting to know my Lord and Savior use me as their confidante, believing that I was doing them a favor. I found, over time, that I began to internalize their issues, and they manifested themselves in ways that I know offended me and by extension, God. I had to cut them off with a dull rusty knife because my walk with Christ takes precedence over everything else; I can still pray for them (Matt. 5:44).
Yes, it may hurt for a little while or like Aron and Jon, you may go into shock for a bit, but years later Aron is alive and well and back to doing what he loves – climbing mountains ( story documented in the 2010 film 127 Hours), and Jon is well and can now laugh at his predicament. It may help to remember that if the amputation is not performed then toxins (or poisons) can be released into your system which could eventually spiritually sicken or kill you. Make the choice for your own good, stay saved and be radical!
A Pastor’s Wife 🙂