Gouge Out My Eye If It Causes Me To Sin?

Question:

Can you take Matthew 5:29 literally?
So if your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your body parts than to have your whole body thrown into hell.

First off, I haven't been to Church in years, and most of the Christians that I've encountered have disappointed me in various ways. However, the truth in Matthew 5:29 was revealed unto me recently, and I have a hunch you can take it literally. I know, for example, that your eyes don't CAUSE you to sin; but if you CAN'T stop doing something sinful, and removing your eyes would stop you, maybe you should remove them...what do you think? 
Am I misguided or temporarily nuts?

My Reply:
Makes sense. Although I believe that Jesus was explaining the seriousness of sin. If something "causes" you to sin (or if doing something results in sin), then get rid of it so you won't sin anymore. In other words, do whatever is necessary to stop sinning and to prevent from repeating the sin.  Often times in the letters (books after the Acts), you'll read "cast off from you..."  They're using the analogy of sin being like a coat you're wearing that's on fire.  Throw it off quickly and stomp it out!  Then never put it back on, or instead put on a different coat, one that's not in flames.  In other words, throw off sin and clothe yourself with Christ who is holy.

Keep the Matthew text in context though, too. Remember, Jesus said that if you look at a woman lustfully, then you've already committed adultery with her in your heart (you don't even have to do the act...you've already crossed over the line).  Then imagine them saying, "oh, but she's so beautiful! Just look at..." And Jesus responding about the eyes.

Hope I didn't disappoint you.
---Pastor Andy  :}>+-
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