Please make sure that after you read this article, you check out Part 2.
I know that cutting, or self mutilation, has become a common way of dealing with anger an pain in many societies in different parts of the world. Over the past few months, this topic has come up over and over again, and I thought it was time to talk about it.
The Rush Of Control
I have never cut myself. I just want to be straight forward. I do know though, that there are some similarities between the feeling that someone who cuts feels when they cut, and the feeling that you get when you have hunger pains and you have disordered eating. If you don’t already know, I have a past of disordered eating, so that is why I am making this comparison. Hunger pains gave me a sense of being in control of something in my life, and they made me feel a release from stress. But it was always temporary, and it was destructive to my body. Not only that, but it was destructive to my spiritual self because I was feeding my flesh by taking control of my situation rather than trusting God to help me through whatever the situation was.
You Are Not Your Own
I’m not going to go into the Old Testament verses about marking your body and all that. I don’t think that most people cutting today are doing it as a sign of worship to another person or false god like they were in the Old Testament, but when you cut, you are taking part in an activity that is against God’s will. Here is the verse that anyone who has a disorder where they harm their body in one way or another should memorize:
“Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a prince; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20
God loves you, and when He made you, it wasn’t part of His plan for you to hurt yourself. In fact, He doesn’t want you to try to deal with life’s difficulties on your own. I think that is a trap we often fall into. We don’t know how to get through hard times on our own, and so we set up coping methods. But what does the Bible say about getting through life’s difficulties?
Jesus Gives Rest To The Weary
“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” -Matthew 11:28
Go to Jesus. Does that sound too simple to you? Well it isn’t as simple as it sounds, because in order to go to Jesus and give Him our problems, it means we are giving up our right to be in control. If you want to receive rest from Jesus, you have to let Him take control. That is what it is talking about in this verse when it refers to the yoke. This was a tool that you could use to harness ox power to plow your field. Jesus is saying, “Strap in with Me, and I’ll drive.” The question is, do you really want to be given rest? If so, you need to make the decision to let Jesus drive, give Him control of your life. He won’t take it from you. You have to be willing to let Him give you rest.
The Flip Side
We can see clearly that God wants to deliver us from our burdens, but what does the opposite side look like?
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” -1 Peter 5:6-8
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” -John 10:10
One one side of this battle is God. He wants to give you life more abundantly. God wants you to cast your cares on Him because He cares for you. On the other side we have Satan, aka the thief, who wants to devour you. He wants to steal every good thing from you. He wants to kill you. He wants to destroy you. This is why he uses things like cutting and eating disorders to give us false and temporary comfort while he is slowly convincing us that these destructive behaviors somehow empower us. We have to remember that Satan is a liar. God loves us and shares the truth with us so we can be set free. He cares for us. He gave His only Son to die on the cross for our sins so that we could be with Him for all of eternity. What good thing has Satan ever done for us? Not a thing! Not one thing.
You Aren’t Alone
If you are struggling with cutting or any other kind of self mutilation or destructive disorder, you are not alone. Remember this from 1 Peter 5:8 from the previous paragraph, “knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” Satan wants you to feel alone in this behavior, but like we established before, he’s a liar. Reach out and get help. There are people in your church that would love to walk with you through this trial. Go see a Christian counselor for help. They may refer you to a Psychiatrist to help you with underlying physiological problems that are contributing to your spiritual problems. There is nothing wrong with taking drugs. Pharmaceuticals will not solve all of your problems, but they can be used as a tool to help in certain cases as determined by your team of counselors and doctors. Just remember that at the same time you should also be addressing your spiritual needs by seeking out someone to work with you, discipling you and giving you biblical counsel.
Thank You for Your love for us. That You care for us, and that You desire to help us through any difficulties that come into our lives. Please help us to resist the devil and his destructive nature? Help us to trust You, and to allow You to have control over everything we do? Thank you that we are not alone in our struggles, Father. In Jesus’ name, Amen
I hope that this post has encouraged you. I’m praying for you, that God would give you victory over these destructive coping mechanisms as you learn to trust more and more in Him.