“I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away.” (Matthew 5:28-29).
Our vices and bad habits begin from the heart. The summary of your future is the contents of your hearts right now. What are you thinking about? What kind of thoughts have become permanent visitors in your mind? As Jesus thought us: “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8).
Reversely, we may say: “Pitiable are the impure in heart, they shall see the devil.” Jesus says, it is not what we eat that defiles us, but what we keep in our mind. “For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander.” (Matthew 15:19).
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus teaches us that the root cause of our sins of unchastity are the kind of thoughts we accommodate within us. To make us fully grasp the point, Jesus equates lust with the sin of adultery itself. You may not have gone to bed with someone but the moment you look with impure thoughts, you are just as guilty of sin as one who did. One of my lecturers in the seminary often made a parable: “The meat you don’t intend to eat, don’t use your teeth to divide it for others.”
The book of Sirach warns: “Flee from sin as from a snake; for if you approach sin, it will bite you. Its teeth are lion’s teeth, and destroy the souls of men.” (Sirach 21:2). Do not even accommodate bad thoughts in the first place. Don’t imagine it. The sins against the flesh are not to be handled with kids’ gloves. Jesus tells us: “If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away.” (Matthew 5:29).
If being in a particular relationship exposes you to temptations of the flesh, cut it off. If your circle of friends are not morally encouraging, cut them off. Jesus is simply asking us to be sensible. No one is strong when it comes to resisting sexual sin. Don’t think you can handle it. Cut it before it begins. Like Joseph flee, run as fast as your legs can carry you. When our heart is pure, we are able to hear clearly from God just as Elijah did in the cave. The cave is a symbol of a heart removed from worldly distractions; focused only on God.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to purify my thoughts always. Amen. Bible Study: 1 Kings 19:11-16, Psalm 27:7-14, Matthew 5:27-32).