I’d rather not give up my hand, foot or eye even if the consequence of keeping what causes me to sin is hellish. That’s the literal truth of this passage and one that is not that hard to understand. Giving up what causes us to sin is as difficult as cutting off a hand or a foot or plucking out an eye. The fact that the text makes us uncomfortable is a good indication that we know we have grown accustomed to stumbling through life and are not all that anxious to do the painful but necessary work of removing from our being the thoughts, words and deeds with which we harm ourselves and others and ultimately offend the Lord. But when the word of the Lord salts us with fire we hear both the truth about our faltering footsteps and the invitation to be free from whatever impedes peace within ourselves and one another and the Lord. Which is how law and gospel works, or in other words, what sounds like bad news is actually good news.