Self harm, also referred to as self injury, self-mutilation and parasuicicde, is a common coping mechanism, often adopted by adolescents and young adults. It is often a symptom of an underlying mental health problem.
Self-harm refers to the act of causing harm to your own body, such as cutting, burning, deliberate overdose, drug and alcohol abuse. It is reported by self injurers that the act of self harming brings momentary relief from their emotional pain, distracting with physical pain, and can create a sense of euphoria.
Often, self harmers are labeled as attention seekers and frowned upon by society, with music cultures and lifestyles such as 'emo' being blamed, however self injury is far from a cry for attention - in fact, most self injurers feel ashamed about their behavior and hide it from close friends and family.[Citation Needed]
As sufferers of self-harm are more often than not in great emotional turmoil and distress, they lack faith in God and have become disheartened to the world. With a bit of care and intervention, the introduction of Faith in the lives of self harmers can help cure them and take away their emotional pain - and in turn their need to self-harm.
Self harmers should not go unnoticed and should not be looked down upon for their behavior. Instead, they should be taken on and their Faith reinstated. God is a powerful healer.
Self-mutilation occurs in the Old Testament in a number of passages. It occurs in false religions. Here is an example from the contest between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire—he is God." Then all the people said, "What you say is good." Elijah said to the prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first, since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god, but do not light the fire." So they took the bull given them and prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no response; no-one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!" he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened." So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no-one answered, no-one paid attention. (NIV) 1 Kings 18:24-29
Self-mutilation was a common practice in false religions. So it is not surprising that God prohibits this practice in Leviticus and other Old Testament passages. Here is one verse.
Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. (NIV) Leviticus 19:28
Self-mutilation and suicide are marks of a struggling believer or a non-Christian who desperately needs God. All of us struggle from time to time. There have been times of pain in my life when I would have liked to escape from this world, but Jesus has ministered to me by His Holy Spirit.
There is a New Testament example of a demon possession including self-mutilation. It is not normal for people to do this. It is characteristic of behavior brought on by evil spirits.