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Cutting Off My Hand

Cutting Off My Hand

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Published by Doug Floyd
This is a personal reflection on coming to terms with Jesus coming to cut off the foot, hand, eye that offends you.
This is a personal reflection on coming to terms with Jesus coming to cut off the foot, hand, eye that offends you.

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Published by: Doug Floyd on Aug 26, 2009
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08/26/2009

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Cutting Off My Handby Doug Floyd8-25-09“I think the Lord may be calling me to die a martyr’s death.” I told my one of my college friends.“I’ve been thinking the same thing,” he replied.As it turns out, many of the guys in our college group had a sense that we would give the ulti-mate sacrifice in service of the gospel. And we were ready.25 years later and I’m still here. In fact, I think all of us are still here. As far as I know, none of my friends were thrown into prisons, shot in the jungle, killed in the arena. We were ready to giveeverything, but God called us to give something.Jesus tells his puzzled listeners that they might just have to give up their hands, their feet, andeven their eyes if they are going to follow him into the kingdom of God. What? Laying my neck on the line is one thing, but giving up something specific like an eye, a hand or even a foot is ask-ing too much. Sometimes it is easier to die heroically than to live in humiliation.Several years ago when I entered in dialysis, I was prepared to die. I felt a peace that if I didn’tsurvive God had already enclosed me in his loving grasp, and I could rest. In the mystery of Hisgrace, I was blessed with another kidney.In the last year, I lost a church building to a fire and a job to a sour economy. Strange as itsounds, these losses seemed far more dramatic to me than my health problems. I’m not sure I waseven aware of the impact until my wife made a comment to me about dying. It seems I had beenacting like I was dying again.She saw through this and spoke to the discouragement that seemed to sap my vision and steal mylaughter. I realized that I felt as though God was cutting off a foot, a hand, an eye. By inviting meinto failure on multiple fronts, I experienced shame, anger, resentment, and jealously. I had begunreciting a daily litany to her of my failures.This litany of self pity hid an unwillingness to trust in God and a resentment toward those whoenjoyed the blessings I felt that God owed me. In His grace, He revealed my own unwillingnessto love and my own desperate need for His grace to repent and rest in His love that flows throughme to all people, including those I’d prefer to be mad at.
 
Sometimes He calls us to cut off the foot, the hand, the eye because they have become obstruc-tions to love. Sometimes He simply amputates the offending limb. He removes those things thathide our hurts, our broken places, our attitudes that resist the limitless love of God. These thingsseem so deeply connected our lives, our ego, our identity that to lose them feels as if we’ve lost avital limb.In the midst of such sacrifice, we may live under the illusion that we cannot continue to livewithout our foot, our hand, our eye, and sadly many times we sink into depression and even bit-terness. But the call of amputation (whether it’s the loss of a dream, a house, a job, and some-times even a relationship) may just be the call of love.Paul encouraged the saints to love for love is the fulfillment of the commandments.
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled thelaw. For the commandments, "You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet," and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: "You shalllove your neighbor as yourself." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillingof the law. (Romans 13:8-10)
But what we may fail to realize is that learning to love will not simply cost us everything, it willcost us something. The wounds of sin have damaged each of us in ways that hinder us from lov-ing fully, completely, divinely. The trauma of living in a sin-stained world means that we will anddo continue to suffer wounds. Whether acknowledged or not, these wounds are real, are painful,are deadly.Many a successful law practice, business and even church has been built on the foundation of wounded hearts in need of healing. The success simply hides the ache. While the Pharisees ap-peared as the righteous leaders, Jesus accused them of being white-washed tombs. The nation of Israel appeared to be worshipping YHWH and walking in His righteousness, but Isaiah indicatedotherwise.Outwardly they appeared righteous and holy, but they were really rag-covered beggars whosehearts were far from God. We are no different from the ancient Israelites. And often the suc-cesses that define us are merely compensations for the weaknesses we feel. Our hope, ourstrength, our victory is in Christ alone. Outside of His great grace, all our accomplishmentswhither and fade and blow away into dust.In His great and unyielding grace, He is leading us into love. Love that fulfills the command-ments. Love that rests in Him. Love that restores a broken world.

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