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

Question: "What does the Bible say about self-mutilation / cutting?"

In the Old Testament of the Bible, self-mutilation was a common practice among false religions. 1 Kings 18:24-29 describes a ritual in which those who worshiped the false God Baal slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom. Because of the traditions of pagans, God made a law against this sort of practice. Leviticus 19:28 says, “You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.”

In the New Testament, cutting oneself was associated with someone who was possessed by demons (Mark 5:2-5). It was characteristic of behavior caused by evil spirits. Today, self-mutilation is rarely used for ritualistic practices or actual demon possession, but instead usually by teen-agers and young adults who have misplaced anger and pain that they are attempting to work out in destructive ways. Instead of dealing with emotional pain, some people would rather bring themselves physical pain, which actually serves as a relief from stress. Unfortunately, though, this sense of relief is quite short-lived, and the feeling of wanting to be self-destructive quickly returns.

The Bible doesn't talk about self-mutilation in terms of depression or anxiety, but it is very important that whoever is making a practice of this seeks immediate psychological (and hopefully Christian) counseling. They may need to obtain medication in dealing with a mental illness. This behavior also indicates, or can lead to, drug and/or alcohol abuse, eating disorders, identity disorders, and suicidal thoughts or even attempts. 1 Corinthians 6:19 tells us how important our bodies are to the Lord. We no longer belong to ourselves, but instead we belong to Christ, who purchased us at a high price. We should not abuse one of the greatest gifts we have been given.

A person who is struggling with self-mutilation should seek immediate counsel from a pastor and/or Christian counselor. Self-mutilation is the result of an incorrect view of yourself and of your personal value to God. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a proper understanding of His love is the only true cure for self-mutilation.

Recommended Resource: How to Win Over Depression by Tim Lahaye.

Related Topics:

Why should I not commit suicide?

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What does the Bible say about self-hatred?

How should a Christian view self-esteem?

How can I know God's will for my life?

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