And if thy right hand cause thee to sin, cut if 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 hell


The metaphor of the Church as a Body is perhaps the most natural of analogies, not simply because we all have bodies that ground the metaphor with an unrivaled concreteness, but because we are all social beings. We are all, as Saint Paul puts it, “members of one another” (Ephesians 4:25). And the state of one member naturally affects the condition of others. Social psychology spells this out in great detail. The behaviors and attitudes of those … [Read more...]

The Benefits of Forgiveness


While the act of forgiveness may pose challenges to us, the benefit of forgiveness is universally acknowledged. In his farewell address to staff just prior to leaving the White House for the last time, even President Nixon appeared to recognize the value of forgiveness when he said: “Never be petty; always remember, others may hate you, but those who hate you don't win unless you hate them, and then you destroy yourself.” Psychologists who’ve … [Read more...]

And if thy right eye offend thee, 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 be cast into hell


Our eyes are precious gifts though which we apprehend the beauty and diversity of creation. An ample part of the human brain is used to create the miracle of vision that tells us where we are, indicates where we can go, and can suggest what we may desire. And yet the misuse of the eyes can bring harm of epic proportions. Clement of Alexandria used to say “it is better to slip with the feet than with the eyes” (The Instructor, Book 3, Chapter 11) … [Read more...]

The Pragmatics of Forgiveness or the Divine Purpose of Forgiveness


In their article, “For Whom Do We Forgive? A Functional Analysis of Forgiveness,” authors Peter Strelan, Ian McKee, Dragana Calic, Lauren Cook, and Lisa Shaw probe the pragmatic or functional use of forgiveness, looking not so much at what forgiveness is, but rather at what forgiveness does and the valuable changes it brings about. Their basic argument is “forgiveness theorizing and research can be advanced by thinking about forgiveness on the … [Read more...]

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, 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

Susanna and lecherous elders

In an age in which modesty is rare and lusting after images has reached epidemic proportions, the Savior’s words about adultery and the fathers’ commentaries on the same are as timely as ever. The prophet Jeremiah once wrote, “death has entered through your windows” (9:21). And indeed, there is neurological evidence that death enters into the brain through the windows of the eyes when individuals look at internet pornography, causing atrophy in … [Read more...]

Forgiveness Requires Courage


Anyone who has experienced forgiving another human being recognizes that the act of loosening our grip and extending our hand that has recently been bitten requires courage, courage to act like Christ when our impulses drive us to act like wounded beasts. We know this on an experiential, intuitive level. Psychologists, however, have confirmed that fact in their study of forgiveness. In his dissertation, John W. Beiter writes, “Thoresen (2001) … [Read more...]