A Cutting Addiction

28 You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”  Leviticus 19:28

My first experience with someone cutting themselves was about 10 years ago.  A young lady, who was going through a lot of pain in her life, turned to cutting her wrists and arms with razors in order to relieve the emotional pain in her life.  She turned to me, trusted me through this difficult time in her life, and so shared some of her thoughts as she was going through her depression.  The pain she felt when cutting herself overtook the pain she felt emotionally and so the pain was transferred from the soul to the body, which was, to her, easier to deal with.  And, after the body pain left, it was almost as if there was a release, or a high, from the experience, and so this process took her from stress to calm.  But the calm didn’t last and as troubles arose again, there was increased need to repeat this process.   I never understood this until I came to a point in my life where I was in an abusive relationship.  This is when the light turned on for me.  I was sitting in the passenger seat of a vehicle with my abuser and through the intense yelling and profanity, my emotional pain was so great that I wanted to jump out of the moving vehicle.  As I pondered this option, I considered it better to inflict pain on my body and end up in a hospital, then to endure the emotional, soul pain that I was going through.  I didn’t jump, but I was very close to doing it.  There was another time where he threatened to punch and kill me as he stood inches from my face ready to make his move.  Internally, I wanted him to do it because either I’d end up in the hospital and away from him, or I’d end up dead and the pain would be gone.  These examples brought my thoughts back years earlier to the young lady who cut herself and I could now understand her feelings of wanting physical pain above emotional pain.  Today, a decade later, I know of so many youth going through this same trap.

Cutting has become an epidemic. It’s the new craze that is targeting youth all over our country.  It is estimated that today, 46% of youth harm their bodies in intentional ways.  70% of them are teenage girls.  70% of those who have inflicted self harm on themselves have tried to then commit suicide at least once.

Why do teens say they cut?

  • 55% of self-injurers said, “I wanted to get my mind off my problems”.
  • 45% said, “It helped me to release tension or stress and relax”.

But, is there a deeper rooted spiritual meaning behind the physical infliction of cutting?  You won’t be surprised to know that there is…

Satan and his fallen angel army are very aware of the details of Scripture as they’ve been alive since before the creation of humans.  They are very intelligent and well studied so that they can inflict maximum damage in multiple ways.  Their main goal is to infuriate God.  They want Him emotionally charged and ready to go to war with them so that, in their mind, they can overthrow Him from His throne.  Yep, though they know Scripture well and have read how it ends in Revelation, they don’t actually believe that God can fulfill His final judgement and remain on the throne.  So, they’ve managed to deceive themselves as well in the process.  However, in the meanwhile, what they view as the ultimate way to infuriate God is to corrupt and/or destroy His image on earth, which are people.

  • “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”  Genesis 1:27
  • “The thief [Satan] comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”  John 10:10

There are many ways to corrupt and/or destroy God’s image on earth and so God warns us in His Word of these ways and tries to make sure that we take precautions to avoid ways that Satan tries to corrupt and destroy us.  One of these ways is by marking our bodies in any way.

28 You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.”  Leviticus 19:28

The Hebrew word translated “tattoo” is actually the word,  “qa·‘ă·qa‘,” Strong’s 7085 [e], which can mean an incision, imprint, or tattoo, so it can refer to any marking that is made on the body to defile the image of God, which includes what we would call, “cutting.”

Why does God warn us about marking our bodies in any way?  Well, He knows that Satan is out to corrupt our bodies in any way he can to defile God’s image, and if you’re a Christian, that would include defiling the very temple that God’s Spirit lives in:

  • “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?”  1 Corinthians 3:16
  • “If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.”  1 Corinthians 3:17
  • 18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin[a] a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.  1 Corinthians 6:18-20  (This can also relate to any sin which physically and directly affects the body, which in this case, would be cutting the body).

The second reason that I feel why Satan teaches our youth that cutting is good is to mock God’s sacrifice and atonement of the blood of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.  God requires blood for payment of sins, but He sent His son to suffer bodily inflictions and death so that we do not need to suffer these things.  There was one sacrifice for all of us and His death covered every sin.

  • “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.”  1 Peter 2:24
  • “But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. ”  Isaiah 53:5

However, Satan convinces our youth to inflict pain and shed blood, which then appears that Jesus Christ’s sacrifice was ineffective and meaningless.  The ‘cutters’ need to continually inflict more pain and shed more blood and inflict more pain and shed more blood.  Spiritually, even though they are not aware of this, they are sacrificing their own bodies to Satan’s lies over and over, which, bottom line, is a form of worship to Satan (in Satan’s eyes) and thus corrupting God’s image bearer.

So what can we do?  Sending a youth to counseling could be effective and does help some, but the root cause is not the emotional pain that the youth is going through, but is actually even deeper than that.  It is outright spiritual warfare waged against the youth from the pit of hell. It is Satan attempting to draw the youth away from God, corrupt them, and cause them to worship him instead of God.  So, in order to fight a spiritual battle as this is, we need to fight it spiritually as God has laid out our instructions:.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, 19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.”  Ephesians 6:10-20

Take a stance against the enemy.  Fight for your children.  Pray for them.  Bind up the evil that is attempting to corrupt and destroy them.  Cast out the unclean spirits.  Take the full authority that Jesus has given you as His followers.  In the end, Satan does not win, so know that you are on Jesus’ winning team.  He will be victorious.

  • “Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”  Matthew 18:18
  • 19 Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. 20 Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.””  Luke 10:19-20

Father God, we lift up (name of known person who is cutting) to you as well as all of the hurting youth in our nation who are cutting themselves with the lie that defiling their body will bring them relief.  Lord, we bind up the evil spirits speaking to (name) and others around the nation) and cast them to the ends of the earth.  Silence them in the name of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, so that they are no longer able to speak lies to (name) and the rest of our youth.  Draw our youth to your truth.  Show them how they are your image bearer and deeply loved by you.  Forgive them, for they do not know what they do as they’ve been trapped in deception.  Remove their blinders, Lord, so that they might see what is really going on.  In Jesus Name.  Amen.