She’s popular. All the girls say she’s sweet; all the guys think she’s gorgeous. She’s the youth group all-star and all the kids look up to her. She seems so… perfect. And that’s the problem. The pressure to be perfect all the time continually builds. She just needs an escape. So she opens her scissors and draws the blade across her leg. Her skin stings and she feels the needed release.
She’s an outcast. She sits alone. She isn’t invited to any parties. Her parents think she’s a slacker. She wonders if God even cares. She sits in church every Sunday and waits for the next time she can get away to her room and deepen the scars on her arms. The pain is the only thing that makes her feel alive..
Cutting is the most widespread method of self-injury, and it’s becoming more common. It quickly becomes a habit nearly as difficult to break as a drug addiction. You know it’s dangerous, but how do you stop it and what does the Bible say? If you look up “cutting” in your concordance, you won’t find much. So let’s examine why it happens.
Sometimes life just seems too big… heavy… like you’re drowning in expectations or troubles. You just need a bit of peace and cutting seems like the way. But God’s word has a better way. First, understand the only expectations you need to meet are God’s (Ecc 12:13, 14). Second, get praying. Phil 4:6,7 shows the way to peace beyond all understanding. The solution is to hand your cares and worries over to God in prayer.
But sometimes it seems like God isn’t even listening. So test it out yourself. Grab a plain spiral notebook and write down who and what you’re praying for. Leave a few lines after each request and follow up, watching for answers to your prayers. God doesn’t always say yes, but if you take notice, you’ll see God is working. You might even see that when God doesn’t answer the way we think He should, He has something even better brewing. He promises when we cast our cares on Him, a peace we can’t even understand will guard our hearts (Phil 4:7). Cutting can’t do that; only God can.
To Feel Something
You might just want to feel alive, to end a general numbness toward life. It may be helpful to realize apathy is nothing new; many others have been there before. Look at David (Ps 38:8-21). He feels numb, crushed, his heart is growling. He is sighing; his strength fails him. Even the things he loves don’t matter. He feels abandoned. People are trying to kill him and he doesn’t care. So what does this “man after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22) do? He turns to God. Even though he feels distant from God, David is still turning to Him. He wrote this psalm out of his deep apathy; maybe writing will work today. Maybe some good, uplifting music will help (remember the Psalms are actually songs). Sometimes realizing you aren’t alone, that others–even those who are godly–have felt as you are feeling is comforting. It can give the courage to seek out help.
She feels fat. Ugly. Worthless. Unloved and unlovable. Somehow cutting seems to help. For the Christian, a Biblical self-image is what is needed. The Christian is God’s own co-worker (2 Cor 6:1), God’s workmanship (Eph 2:10), free to approach the very throne of God with confidence (Eph 3:12), the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16). The Christian is free from condemnation forever (Rom 8:1,2), cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom 8:35, 38-39), hidden with Christ in God (Col 3:3). The Christian is God’s own child and heir (Gal 4:5-7), justified (Rom 5:1), bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20). Most importantly, the Christian is forgiven of all sin (Col 1:14). The question is, if God can forgive your sins, who are you to disagree? And if you are not a Christian and these things cannot be said of you, that is easily remedied.
If you, or someone you know, struggles with cutting for any reason, get help. Make sure it is Bible-based help. Talk to elders, preachers, youth ministers, a counselor, or others steeped in God’s word. Above all, though, learn to turn to God. Instead of cutting, the solution should be prayer, singing, and studying the Bible. Remember God is not only the Giver of life, but the Manager too.