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Adultery


27-28. Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. That is, if one stands gazing and examining, kindling desire by looking, and looking again to desire even more, he has already brought the evil to readiness in his heart. If he did not add to it the deed itself, what of it? He was not able. If he had been able, he would immediately have perpetrated the evil. But nevertheless understand that if we have lusted, and then were prevented from committing the deed, clearly we were protected by grace. And if a woman has adorned herself in order to attract others, yet does not succeed in attracting, she is guilty of having mixed the poison into the cup, though no one drank.

29-30. And if thy right eye causeth thee to sin, pluck it out and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should he cast into gehenna. And if thy right hand causeth thee to sin, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into gehenna. When you hear "eye" and "hand" do not imagine that the Lord is speaking of parts of the body, for He would not in that case have specified "right eye" and "right hand." He is speaking instead of those who appear to be friends, but who are in fact harming us. Take, for example, a young man who has friends living in debauchery, and who is harmed by their bad influence. Cut these off from you, the Lord says, and perhaps you will also save them, when they come to their senses. And if you cannot save them, you will at least save yourself. But if you continue in your affection for them, both you and they will be destroyed.

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