Amongst the things Jesus preached in that preeminent, if chillingly surgical, discourse we know as the Sermon on the Mount, is the line, If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell (Mt. 5:29). This line follows immediately after his admonition against looking at a woman lustfully.
Though I have moved in a number of Christian circles of various stripes for a majority of my 44 years, I have yet to encounter even one monoptic Christ-follower. Even fundamentalists and biblical literalists seem to have backed off from the literal interpretation of this instruction (unless, of course, they never lust…but that is a matter for another day). And this is right and just, for Jesus does not instruct self-mutilation, but rather outlines in striking hyperbole the need to avoid occasions of sin. And yes, the eye can be a ready vehicle for sin to enter the body, as Jesus again points out later in the same Sermon (see Mt. 6:22-23).
While it is reasonably certain that we are not to take an ice-pick to the baby blues (or browns, or greens, or hazels, etc.), we can still mount a ready defense against the lust (or greed, or envy, or anger, etc.) of the eye: indeed, a physical defense. Eyes, you see, wonderful gift that they are, come equipped with lids. With truly minimal effort, we can stave off all sorts of optical occasions of offense…simply by closing our eyes. I duly intend to work at making this practice part of my spiritual discipline.
Closing one’s eyes in order to see? Yes. Much like silence being the prerequisite to hearing God’s voice, in true divine-economy fashion, opting for blindness readily becomes the vehicle for divinely given sight (see Jn. 9:39ff.).