A Radical Choice
May 1, 2003 • By Ed Wrather
You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. - Matthew 5:27-30 NKJV.
Aron Ralston is a mountain climber who has faced adversity in the past. Just a few months before his latest test from nature, he survived an avalanche that buried him and two friends on a Colorado mountain. Aron, on a Saturday, went hiking into Blue John Canyon in Shadowlands National Park in Utah. As Aron was descending into the canyon, an 800 to 1000 pound boulder fell, crushing his arm and pinning him. By Tuesday, he had run out of water, and by Thursday he decided the only way to escape was to amputate his own arm. Aron cut off his arm below the elbow with a pocketknife. He then rappelled down a cliff, and walked a few miles before flagging down a vacationing Dutch couple, who called for help. Aron is expected to recover from his ordeal. Sgt Mitch Vetere of the Emery County Sheriff’s Office in Green River, Utah said, “He’s pretty darn tough. He wanted to live. He saved himself.”
Jesus talks of cutting off your hand, or plucking out your eye, if they cause you to succumb to temptation. Most commentators do not believe Jesus was speaking in literal terms. Most Christians and churches have not interpreted this as being literal either; because we do not have eye plucking services, or right hand removal services. But Jesus, in these vivid statements, relates very powerfully the need to protect ourselves from the ravages of sin; even when there is great personal cost involved.
Aron Ralston did save his life, but it was at a great cost. However, it was the only choice Aron could see that he had, if he wanted to continue living. If you are addicted to the use of illegal substances, it may be that to save your life you will have to make a radical choice. You may need to ask someone to help you, and then enter a treatment program for a substantial length of time. To do such a thing may be like cutting off your arm, but if you want to have life, it must be done. If you have other addictions, the only way to be free of them will be through a radical change in your life. It just depends on whether or not you want to really have life, or just go through the motions of living.
If you decide that you are going to make that radical change in your life, you will not be alone. Jesus will be with you, and will empower you, to make the right choices that are needed. As the apostle Paul said, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).” Through the power of God, you will be able to make the radical decisions and changes necessary to be free of your addiction. Aron Ralston wanted to live - do you?