A Biblical perspective of self mutilation by David Benoit

What is Self- Mutilation?

Defining the problem

Self-mutilation is a general term for a variety of forms of intentional self-harm without the wish to die. Cutting one's skin with razors or knives is the most common pattern of self-mutilation. Others include biting, hitting, or bruising oneself; picking or pulling at skin or hair; burning oneself with lighted cigarettes, or amputating parts of the body.

This is generally practiced by girls. . It is estimated that one out of every 200 teen girls between the ages of 13 and 19 regularly practice self-abusive behavior with a reported 2 million cases in the US alone. This is compared to only 11,000 boys a year. It has become such a problem that it has been termed the “New Age anorexia” by many professional. 

In 1938 a man by the name Karl Menninger suggested that self-mutilation was a form of Partial suicide in order to avert actual suicide. 


Self –Mutilation is not a new problem. In 1 Kings 18:24-29 we find a description of self – mutilation it was a ritual used by those who followed the false god Baal. Upon not hearing from their god Baal these prophets slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom.  This became such a problem that God dealt with it in Lev. 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.


In the New Testament, we find cutting oneself was associated with someone who was possessed by demons  (Mark 5:2-5).

And when he was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit, Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken

in pieces: neither could any man tame him.  And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones.


Self-Mutilation was a characteristic behavior of someone possessed by evil spirits.

Jesus also dealt with a young boy who was possessed by a spirit that tried to destroy the body of its host. This story is found in the Gospel of Mark chapter 9 verses 17-22

 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: (Cutting disorder) and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, ( Biting disorder) and pineth away: ( Eating disorder) and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? Bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming. And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto

him? And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire,( Burning disorder)  and into the waters, (Self-destructive behavior) to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.


Today this boy would be without a doubt a candidate for mental health professionals. Yet his problem was of a spiritual nature. With all this said let’s consider the options.

There are several reasons why young people become cutters and self- abusive.

  1. They may be just doing it for acceptance from their friends.
  2. They may be doing it to gain attention.
  3. They may be doing it because of a mental disorder.
  4. There may be demonic influence in the person’s life.


Through years of dealing with the occult I have learned that the mind is an incredible organ capable of deceiving and being deceived. The last thing I want to believe is that a person is possessed by demons. So my policy is always looked at natural and move towards the supernatural. Anger is a very strong emotion. Anger out of control can cause bodily harm whether it is putting a fist through the wall or cutting one self. 

 I can accept that some problems are physically or psychologically based, but I also believe in a demonic influence as well.


 Why is self- mutilation important to demonism?


1. The first and obvious answer is that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. The cutting, the burning, tattooing and piercing could be considered vandalism to the temple.


      I Cor.6:19-20 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy

     Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your

     own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body,

      and in your spirit, which are God’s.


2. Satan understands the importance of the shedding of the blood.

     Heb.9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without 

     shedding of blood is no remission. ( The self mutilation of the body becomes a

     sacrifice to the devil.)


3. Self-Mutilation becomes a sign of ownership. Just like a cattle owner brands his cattle to prove his ownership, the devil wants his people to carry his brand for a life time. Yes a person can be saved and transfers the title of ones soul to Christ yet they still bare the devils scares while living on earth.


Has God made a way of escape for those who suffer from the torment of self guilt and anger applied by Satan’s forces?  

      The answer is a resounding yes. The scripture tells us that Jesus was scared for you.

      He took the pain and mutilation for you. Who his own self bare our sins in his own

     body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose

     stripes ye were healed. I Peter 2: 24


Jesus took our sin to the cross and made provisions for our sin. Isaiah tells us that Jesus Christ took bodily punishment so that we wouldn’t have to.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  Isa. 53:5

Now that you understand Self- Mutilation’s purpose for your life is destruction. You now know that God also has a purpose for your life. Jesus came that you might have more than just a life. He came that you might have life more abundantly.

Let me give you a prayer to pray.


Dear Lord Jesus I have tried to do to myself what you have already done for me. You knew that I would hurt so bad on the inside that I would want to destroy the outside. Today I understand that it is not by my scares that I can find healing but by your stripes. Forgive me for the abuse I have inflicted on my body. Today I want to be healed from the inside out. I will from this day on respect your temple. I receive the forgiveness you offered by dying on the cross and rising again from the dead . I know you are listening  and will hear my cry. I pray this prayer in the name of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.