I was recently privileged to share a piece of my heart at John Piper’s website DesiringGod.org. This article is meant to give readers a glimpse into the heart struggle of a Christian tempted to self-harm, as well as the intimate love and affection that Jesus has for such ones who struggle in this fashion. The battle is presented much as a wicked romance only overcome by the divine romance of being bought with the blood of Christ. I am able to write such an article because of my own personal experience with cutting and self-inflicted burns. Though by God’s grace I have walked in freedom from this coping mechanism for over 16 years, the temptation remains when things get dark and desperate. For additional insights into the article, as well as excerpt/Scripture lock screens and other resources, visit the sister post (click here to view).
You’ve been here before, haven’t you?
The swoon of an edge meant to flay? The pin in the wall, the staple in the gun, the dashboard lighter primed for a brand? When control escapes you and thoughts berate you, where else does the fury go but here?
But nobody really understands.
Just a tiny cut here, and maybe one over there. Soon the lines interweave, don’t they? First resistance, then rush; adrenaline beats through skin red and exposed. The relief brings a momentary peace, a manufactured calm.
But as soon as it comes, it is gone.
Yes, you know this dark passenger well — a hidden thorn in the flesh, buried deep in your loneliness. Locked away in your anger, he lies dormant until the ground starts to quake. In duress, the parasitic passenger rouses himself to destroy his suffering host. He stands tall to hiss wicked taunts. “But there’s no other way you can cope.”
So, you pull out the sharp blade, or light up the coils, or glance at the smooth razor’s edge.
“Did it hurt all that much before?” My, how quickly he helps you forget. “Yet, what of it? Just one layer deeper — finally reach where things went oh so wrong.”
But there’s Someone else calling your name.
Beloved, Lay Your Weapon Down
“Put your sword back into its place” (Matthew 26:52).
Did you hear what Jesus just said? How he knew you were walking the wire? On one side: red blood. The other: black death. How he cares if you sway either way? Traversing the mire, he seeks to redeem all he has created. He stands tall to guide wandering sheep, “I have called you by name, you are mine” (Isaiah 43:1).
His call sings of hope — something larger than life. “Beloved, lay your weapon down.” But the line still remains to be walked, armed or not. The allure of the cut pounds your chest like a wave; the dark passenger still fights for the helm. You shake your head to fend off the pull, locking eyes with the Christ at your side. His hands bearing scars, pierced for times such as this, that he might hold your feet firm to the line.
“I have paid the price to set you free” (Isaiah 44:22, NLT).
Holy liberty rings grace aloud in your ears. Its tune stays your hand from the bleed. “Bought with a price” is what the Lord said. “In your body, now glorify me” (1 Corinthians 6:20).