If Your Phone Causes You to Sin, Cut it Off

And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire.  And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire (Matt 18:8-9; cf. Matt 5:29-30; Mark 9:43-45).

Jesus directs us to take radical action to keep from repeatedly falling into the same sin.[1]  Of course Jesus is speaking metaphorically—he is not telling you to actually cut off your hand or gouge out your eye!—but his words make it clear that he is deadly serious that you need to take decisive action to stay away from sin.

“Why don’t you simply crush your cell phone?”  That’s what I asked a young man recently who was reflecting on the ease with which he was able to access pornography.  Let’s be clear.  It’s not as though possessing a smart phone is a human right, or, for that matter, even a basic life necessity.  It is still possible to buy a dumb phone for talk and text, and you can purchase a stand-alone GPS if you need help finding your way around town.  In place of a dumb phone (or “basic” phone as phone companies prefer to call it), you could turn off internet capability on your phone and entrust your password to two friends in case you need temporary access.  (Be sure to give the password to two friends in case one of them forgets or loses it.)

But you still might be tempted by another devise, like a computer.  OK, then make a decision to never take your computer out of your carry bag when you’re alone.  If that’s too hard for you, physically lock it in your bag somehow and put a warning tag on it.  If you still can’t resist, then start doing all your online work in public spaces.  If all these suggestions are truly impracticable in your case, sign up for Covenant Eyes so that a friend or two will get an update on everything you view online.

If you keep sinning via your phone or computer but are unwilling to do something radical about it, maybe it’s time to consider whether you are—or ever have been—a disciple of Christ.

There is much more to say about overcoming the temptation to gaze upon images that are dishonoring to God (…not to mention dishonoring to your spouse, children, parents—and the person behind the screen who is being manipulated and abused).

But the purpose of this post is to make a single point:  If your phone causes you to sin—what are you waiting for?—cut it off!


[1] That Jesus is speaking about temptations to sin seems clear from the previous verse.  Matthew 18:7 says:  “Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!”

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