You haven't heard of Jonathan Metz - until now. Just a normal guy in his early thirties with a pet dog, a solid job, a fiance, and a love for softball. One day he puts a snack in the microwave and runs downstairs to check on his furnace. He ends up getting his arm caught in it. Nothing he tries to get it out works. He actually thinks to himself, "What would MacGyver do?" Well, after 18 hours, his options were few. His arm was cut up and swollen and starting to smell. Infection was certain and would surely spread and kill him. He was left with one option - he had to cut off his right arm. But could he do that? Well, according to the article below - he did. And he lived.
Cutting off own arm was ‘surreal,’ says man - Health - More health news - msnbc.com
It's hard to know what you or I would do in that circumstance. Somehow the body and mind seems to find the necessary willpower and adrenaline to do something this extreme in order to survive. It's an unfortunate and shocking story, but I'm sure Jonathan Metz would tell you he'd rather be alive without a right arm then dead.
This reminded me of a parable in Matthew's gospel. In Matthew 5:27-30, Jesus is giving the sermon on the mount. He says in these verses,
27 "You have heard that it was said,'You shall not commit adultery.' 28 But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body go into hell."
Here he is focusing on adultery and lust in particular and sin in general. This passage gives us a blatant statement from Jesus on how to handle sin. He equates sin with an offending member of the body that must be removed in order to be saved. If sin were an offensive eye it must be torn out and even thrown away in order to live. If sin were an offensive right hand it must be cut off and, again, thrown away. The mental pictures of such actions is horrid. But what should be even more horrid is how offensive sin is in the eyes of a holy God. How do you and I see sin? Do we see it as God sees it? Are we actively looking to literally amputate sin and obliterate it from our lives? That is the message of this parable. There is no other way to deal with sin. It must be completely and violently eradicated from our lives in order for us to live as God would have us live.
I don't know what MacGyver would have done if he had his right arm caught in a furnace, but I do know what Jesus tells us to do when it comes to sin - cut it out before it kills. Need further confirmation? James 1:15 has this to say, "Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death."
Sin kills. Period.
Sin kills. Period.