There are many areas of life which the church tends to avoid. These issues are too controversial, too taboo, to awkward to discuss, and so we just pretend they don’t exist. I believe the most commonly avoided of these topics is female masturbation. But only slightly less avoided is this: Never go in against a Si- wait…no…that’s not the one. Ahem. Please Excuse my Princess bride obsession. Only slight less avoided is the area of self-injury.
I’ve only heard one church sermon on self-injury. Just one, in my 20 years of church-going. I wish I could say that the message was helpful, loving, and changed my life, but sadly, ’twas not the case. The preacher used the story of the demon possessed man in Matthew 8 that cut himself with stones in the graveyard to support his theory that all self-injurers are demon-possessed. When I left the church service, the preacher smiled, and shook my hand. There was no great exorcism. Just a smile and a hand shake, and I thought to myself, “If he only knew…”
I’m a self-injurer. I have been for about five years now, and, no, dear Preacher who will remain anonymous, I am not possessed with demons. I am just stuck. I am caught between the everyday problems of life and the church that actively ignores those problems. Dear church (referring to the general, world-wide body of Christ, NOT any specific congregation), I love you, but so many of us are stuck. You act like you have a monopoly on the freedom of Christ. You put imaginary conditions and stipulations on it, and us who are stuck feel like we’ll never be able to get to it, so we turn elsewhere. Every time I am told that I only suffer from depression because I don’t have “the joy of the Lord,” I turn to cutting. Every time I am told that “reading my Bible and praying more” will make me forget a horrific incident from my past, I turn to cutting. Every time I am told not to talk about the sins I struggle with because “it’s a bad testimony,” I turn to cutting. It’s not my first choice, but when I’ve turned to the church, it wasn’t there.
I don’t know the answer to this problem. I wish I could write a post about freedom right now, but I just can’t. I’m still stuck. But, is there anyone out there stuck with me? Maybe you’re not stuck in cutting, but there are so many things out there that we get stuck in. Perhaps, together, we can push our way out. Perhaps, together, we can find an answer. I know Christ’s freedom is out there somewhere…but it’s not right here. And, I’m stuck. Right here.