Hi. This is kind of hard for me to talk about. But i cut myself for the first time a couple days ago. And i feel horrible about it, i dont even know why i did it. I know that God’s love for me has not changed. but i feel like he is disappointed with how i view myself. how do i deal with this correctly?
Jed Brewer replied:
Hey my friend,
I’m sorry you’re going through a rough time. My wife and I are praying for you, and we’ve got your back.
I think there are three things to look at. The first is just to sit down with God and clear the air. Say, “God, I shouldn’t of done that, and it wasn’t cool. And I’m sorry.” And rest easy in the knowledge that God isn’t holding anything against you at all. (1 John 1:9)
The second thing is to deal with the shame you’re feeling. See, I’m guessing that part of what you’re struggling with is the question, “What does this say about me? Am I a different kind of person now?” That’s how taboos work. People tell us that “only a certain kind of sinner would do xyz”, and, then, when we’ve done xyz, we’re left to wonder if that’s true.
Well, it’s not. The person you are hasn’t changed. At all. Nearly everybody on the planet has, at some point, done something “they thought they’d never do.” It didn’t change them or put them in a different category of human being. All it did was to confirm that they – like everybody else – fall under the category of “sinner”. And sinners sin. And if you put a person in the right set of circumstances with the right pressures, they’re capable of doing just about anything. Hence the phrase, “there but for the Grace of God go I.”
The good news, my friend, is that, if you’ll work through this shame with God, he’ll bring something amazing out of it. Because, on the other side of thinking you’re a dirty sinner and realizing you’re not, you’re in an amazing position to set other people free. You know, today, in your life, people who are convinced that they are damaged goods or “different” due to sex or drugs or any number of things. And that belief becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You think you’re dirty, so you do dirty things that hurt you. And God wants to use you to set those people free. (How’s it taste, Satan?)
The last thing I’d suggest you look at is strategy. See, people use heroin for a reason. They get into bad relationships for a reason. And they cut for a reason. You have some legitimate needs in your life, and some part of you thought that cutting would help (this is another reason not to be ashamed). Well, that makes sense, it just doesn’t turn out to be true. But, to move forward, we need to know what needs you were trying to fulfill with the cutting. Maybe it’s a need for excitement. Maybe it’s a need to feel something full-on. Maybe it’s a need for release. Or for self-expression. But it’s something, and we need to know what. Find a mentor who is significantly farther along with the Lord than yourself, and start talking stuff out. I bet the two of you will be able to find it.
And then you need a plan to answer that need in a healthy and Godly way. God has a desire to give you excitement and immediacy and release and self-expression. And he has a way to hook that up. We just need to figure out what it is.
My friend, if you’ll work through these steps, you’ll have a first hand experience of what it means for something to be redeemed. That God can and does take tragedies, and turn them into something good and right and beautiful.