"And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: for it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched."
Now, just because I am talking about this scripture doesn't mean that I want anyone going in for elective amputations, okay? And, suicide (even with millstones) is against the law, and we are supposed to "obey, honor, and sustain" the law... so, let's just talk about this for a minute before taking any rash action. :) ... I think God here is teaching us how important it is to be obedient. Comparing hurting a child to death in the first verse shows us the extreme nature of that sin. ... if you might as well be dead, then that is pretty extreme, since life is when we have a chance to repent and make amends. And then God goes on... this scripture that I have included about your hand offending you... and two more in subsequent verses about your foot or your eye offending you. What I thought about first is that sometimes we make excuses for our actions... and God nips many excuses right there by telling us... if your hand is wandering... cut it off. If your foot is taking you somewhere you shouldn't be... cut it off. If your eye is looking places that it shouldn't, pluck it right out. And I think that the big message here is not really to maim yourself... but that we shouldn't be using those excuses if we aren't willing to do something about it. Controlling ourselves is a much better choice than cutting out the part that offends. Becoming clean is preferable to cutting off all the dirty parts. And not offending children is preferable to millstone-assisted suicide. Today, let us remember the eternal nature of our existence, and that our actions now will have consequences that will stick with us for eternity. We can make the choice to change. No matter how drastic the action that it takes to become clean and pure before God... let's take it. Because being clean, no matter the temporary, earthly pain the washing may cause... is better than an *eternity* of pain and regret.