You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
It has been said, “Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.” But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
Jesus never shied away from sensitive subjects. It must have been shocking in his day for a rabbi to openly discuss private matters like sex and marital fidelity. Yes, the Old Testament law has many references to sexual sin and sets clear standards for marriage and personal purity, but people have always felt a degree of shame when confronted about things we do in private. The truth is, we know Jesus’ words are directed at us, at all of us.
Jesus addressed here several serious issues, particularly sexual sins that bring devastating damage to families and communities. Every sin has consequences, and that is particularly true with sexual sin. We hurt others and ourselves when we violate God’s standards, even when the sin happens in our thoughts. Jesus reminds us that nothing we do is hidden from God, and righteousness requires integrity, a God-honoring way of life that is consistent through and through. We need to be the same person of faith, compassion and love in private, behind closed doors, even in the quiet of our minds, as we act like we are in front of other people.
Honoring God and following Jesus is not a spectator sport. We don’t act good just to look good to other people. We don’t treat our spouse well or love our kids just so our neighbors will think well of us. Jesus calls us to be better than that kind of hypocrisy and disingenuous pretense. Jesus calls us to be righteous, inside and out. When we fall short, He offers us grace, calls us to repent and asks us to do better the next time.Thank You, Jesus, for speaking hard truths and for calling me to follow You in every part of my life. Forgive me for all my sins, and help me to grow in purity of thought and integrity of action, so I can spread the light of Your goodness to those around me. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian