The sermon at my church yesterday was about sin. The pastor preached about Jesus’ statements (clearly not to be taken literally) about cutting off one’s hand, or foot, or plucking out one’s eye. The context in Mark suggests that there is a real danger of judgment, with fire, but also that the fire has a purifying rather than an ultimately destructive aim. That in itself would be worth talking about further.
But the main point of the sermon was how often people assume, or at least seem to wish, that Jesus had said something like “If your neighbor’s hand causes you to sin, cut it off, and if your neighbor’s foot causes you to stumble, cut it off, and if your neighbor’s eye causes you to offend, pluck it out.”
But he didn’t. He told us to turn our attention to the beam in our own eye, rather than the speck in someone else’s.