You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery.' But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell. "It was also said, 'Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.' But I say to you that anyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of unchastity, causes her to commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.
As we saw yesterday and the day before, Jesus is not adding more rules, but rather looking more deeply than the scribes and Pharisees. What he sees is not the Law but the heart of the person who is trying to observe the Law.
It is often repeated that there is a diminishing sense of sin in modern times. This is certainly puzzling, for the past century has witnessed some of the greatest atrocities of all time: genocide, cities devastated by nuclear bombs, terrorism, widespread destruction of the environment and even of unborn children, rich countries storing and destroying food while others starve.... How is it that we have a diminished sense of sin?
Today we know about atrocities in every part of the world, and we know about them as soon as they happen. These sins of the world are so vast that our own sins seem puny beside them. If we have a diminished sense of sin, it is not because we think we are better than before; it is because we feel powerless and ineffectual. It is necessary to reflect on this state of mind, because it is the hatching ground of extensive evil.
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