About Lust when Looking at a Woman
Plucking out Your Eye
You have asked several questions, I will try to answer them for you.
Question: In Matt. 5:27-30 Jesus is teaching on adultery. If anyone even looks at a woman with lust, he has committed the act. Is this literal?
Answer: Yes this is literal. Now let us look at it a little closer. This applies to women looking at a man as well as a man looking at a woman. It is natural to appreciate the good looks and figures of either sex, both of men and of women. To look, approve, and go on to other things is not lusting after them. It is when you start to picture yourself making love with them, picturing in your mind having sex with them, that the sin begins, because it is then that you are lusting after them. Your heart becomes twisted. You begin to recall this picture over and over until you can stand it no longer and then you will act on it. This is why, just to lust after the woman or man is a sin. You do not have to commit the act with the other person, and the other person does not know what you are thinking about them.
Question: What is the real meaning about plucking the eye out? Is this to be a literal physical act?
Answer: Jesus is telling us to do this, IF, I Repeat, IF the eye is in fact causing us to sin. Does this mean that if one has an occasional slip into sin because we look at something or someone, that we should punch out both of our eyes? Of Course Not. We slip, we fall, we sin, we ask forgiveness, and receive it. God does not demand that we cut off our hands and feet or put out our eyes in order to go to heaven. That interpretation of the scripture would be wrong, What Jesus is telling us, as best that I can understand it, is that we ARE to control ourselves. It is not the eye itself that sins, it is our heart, it is our thoughts. I would think that if what I was looking at was leading me to sin, then I had better put on a blindfold, or don't go there again. If I am unable to control myself, that is, I find it impossible for me to stop lusting after everyone that I see, then I had better do something, anything, to stop it. Even if I have to have my eyes taken out to stop sinning against God, that it is better than continuing to sin and go into Hell. I believe that Jesus is telling us that we must do everything in our power to stop sinning against God.
An example might be - viewing a web site that features un-natural sex acts which would stir up my imagination causing me to lust and sin. - I should not go there to start with - and having viewed it, I had better not go back to that web site again, and if I find that I can't stop myself from going back to that web site over and over again, then I had better take a hammer and destroy my computer so that I will not be tempted to go back to such a wicked site. Or an example might be - buying magazines or books or videos that show pictures of adultery, fornication, homosexuality, etc. As long as I keep on buying and keeping them around my house, I will be tempted to continue viewing them and thus my lust will grow. - I had better burn them all, destroying them so that I will not return to sin again, and I had better stop buying them if I do not want to go to Hell.
What Jesus is saying is that we had better use even the most drastic actions to stop taking part in what ever we know is leading us to sin against God, that is, If we wish to enter heaven. We must STOP SINNING.
Rev. Jack Barr