Putting a stop to self-mutilation

Jean Whitehouse
A study of teenagers in the Lancet magazine (November 2011), reminded me of a time when I was healed of some very unhelpful thoughts about myself. The article reported that a significant number of teenagers were mutilating themselves in the United Kingdom: 10 percent in the case of girls and 6 percent of boys. (In the United States the overall figure is 10 percent among teens.) It noted that those who practiced self-mutilating were more likely to do so if they were depressed. I never engaged in self-mutilation, but I have experienced depression, and I feel great compassion for these young people.

While praying about the report, I was reminded of the Bible’s account of Jesus’ healing a tormented man who lived among the tombs. The description of the man’s condition indicates apparent self-mutilation. So even though this problem seems so modern, here is an example of Jesus’ healing it by spiritual means (see Mark 5:1–15). 

To me, this means that spiritual solutions can heal people struggling with self-mutilation today. From my own experience with depression, I can honestly say that at first I didn’t find help in simply reading that I was, in reality, the image and likeness of God. It wasn’t a problem with the words, but with my ability to perceive them as applying to me.

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In the Christian Science Bible Lesson
Easter week: Preparation of thought
April 2, 2012

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