What does the Bible say about self-injury/cutting?

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Today, some people especially teens use knives and razors to cut themselves. This behavior is a non-suicidal self-injury to deal with psychological pain. The person involved in this activity usually has a hard time expressing, regulating, or dealing with his own emotions.

So, in an effort to cope with anger, depression, rejection, panic, worthlessness, and loneliness, he uses this unhealthy mechanism of self-injury to obtain a temporary sense of release of tension, a rush, or a supposed feeling of control. But in reality, this behavior causes him guilt and brings back painful emotions with no actual healing.

Although these injuries are not serious at first, it may lead to more-serious and even fatal self-aggressive behavior. And it can be an addictive behavior. The areas that are most targeted are the arms and legs. Usually, cutting is done alone, and most people who cut themselves hide their cuts by wearing sweaters and long pants. It is a sensitive subject and those that do it are ashamed of their behavior

This behavior is not a new trend but it was practiced in the Old Testament times by the worshipers of Baal and other heathen deities (1 Kings 18:28). This custom is confirmed also in the north Canaanite texts from Ras Shamra, the ancient Ugarit, where even the highest god, ’El, slashed himself as a symbol of grief and sadness.

The prophet Jeremiah talked about the cutting of skin in relation with the pagan ceremonial rites for the dead or at a time of a public calamity (ch. 16:6). Even today heathen people follow these practices such as certain New Guinea tribesmen that cut off finger joints when a family member dies.

These acts are occult customs that were clearly forbidden by God. For He clearly commanded “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD” (Lev. 19:28); and He added, “You are the children of the LORD your God; you shall not cut yourselves nor shave the front of your head for the dead” (Deut. 14:1).

Humans were created perfectly in the image of God (Genesis 1:16,27). And their bodies should be the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 16:6; 41:45,47). Therefore, Paul warns, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (1 Corinthians 3:17-19).

People that suffer from self mutilation should seek the Lord through a daily relationship. For He is the Great Physician of the soul and is touched by every pain that tears their hearts. He promises to heal their suffering and grant them His joy (Isaiah 53:4,5). David the prophet testified to what God has done in his life saying, “He heals the broken in heart, and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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