Wisdom for the Eye
● The human eye is a work of art. But it is more than beautiful. It is also powerful. The book Visual Impact, Visual Teaching says that “forty percent of all nerve fibers connected to the brain are linked to the retina,” a thin, complex tissue that lines the inside of the eye.
Jesus Christ rightly called the eye “the lamp of the body.” Explaining what he meant, he continued: “If . . . your eye is simple [sincere, focused on good], your whole body will be bright; but if your eye is wicked, your whole body will be dark.” (Matthew 6:22, 23) By these words, Jesus was impressing upon us the power of the eye, figuratively speaking, to incite thoughts, feelings, and actions. Good thoughts illuminate one’s life; bad thoughts darken it.
For example, consider Jesus’ words found at Matthew 5:28, 29: “Everyone that keeps on looking at a woman so as to have a passion for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If, now, that right eye of yours is making you stumble, tear it out [figuratively speaking].” His point? A wandering eye can inflame wrong desires to the point that, given the opportunity, a person might commit immoral acts and lose God’s favor.
How much better to exercise self-control, even if doing so is as hard as tearing out an eye! After all, is it worth sacrificing everlasting life for merely a few fleeting moments of sensual pleasure?
What we feed the eye can also foster greed. Hence, the Bible warns us that the selfish “desire of the eyes . . . does not originate with the Father, but originates with the world. Furthermore, the world is passing away and so is its desire, but he that does the will of God remains forever.”
Is the Bible being unduly restrictive? Not at all! To disregard its standards is to invite problems and unhappiness. (Galatians 6:7, 8) To heed God’s Word, including its wisdom for our figurative eye, is to sow happiness. “Happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it,” said Jesus. (Luke 11:28) What is more, they have the prospect of remaining forever on earth, whereas those who cultivate an immoral or greedy eye lose out on both happiness and life.