I can relate so much to this scripture. I think if we are honest with ourselves we can see ourselves in it.
In Matthew 18:1-9, we are not being told to dismember ourselves. We are, however, being told to cut off from our lives that which causes us to sin.
Following Jesus is a lifestyle. Before we become Christians, we develop unhealthy habits that cause us to sin. Maybe we have girlfriends that we gossip with every time we get together. Maybe we drink when we gather with certain friends. Maybe we over eat when we become depressed or are alone. When we open our hearts to Jesus, we make a choice to change our lives. We make a choice, not to be better, but to be different. Therefore, we make lifestyle changes. Our habits change. We change.
I have had to distance myself from certain people because of gossip. A former coworker of mine loves to get the dirt on others and spread it. Too often, I would find myself getting caught up in this with her. I had to really watch my words with her. I found that I needed to gently turn the conversation in a different direction. I have even excused myself from her presence. When I was able to admit to God that I was struggling with gossip, he was able to show me how to keep away from that sin....with her. Now there are others that I find it easy to get caught up in conversation with as well. When I acknowledge where my faults lie, God is able to help me find an escape.
I believe the key is humbling ourselves in admitting our weaknesses. When we are able to do that, God can really help us.
Each day I pray the prayer of Jabez:
Lord, I pray that you would bless me indeed, that you would expand my territory. Father, I pray that your hand would be with me and keep me from evil so that I may not cause pain.
When I am praying this, I am asking God to guide my thoughts, words, and actions so that I may not sin against others or cause others to sin. I am asking him to help me bring honor and glory him.
As Christians, we have a responsibility to teach others how to serve Jesus, what the difference between right and wrong looks like. We have the awesome responsibility to live in such a way that others will be attracted to Jesus. When we fall, and we will, we must acknowledge our faults and sincerely ask for God to show us how to cut off from our lives that which makes us sin.