||Bible Question: What does the Bible say about self-mutilation/suicide, if anything?
Bible Answer: Self-mutilation and suicide are serious issues in anyone's life.
These occur sometimes when a person is depressed, discouraged,
lonely and hopeless. It is important that no matter how discouraged
one may be or if we have already committed one of these sins,
we need to know that God will forgive us.
Self-Mutilation. Self-mutilation occurs in the Old Testament in a number of passages.
It occurs in false religions. Here is an example from the contest
between Elijah and the prophets of Baal.
||Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the
name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire--he is God." Then
all the people said, "What you say is good." Elijah said to the
prophets of Baal, "Choose one of the bulls and prepare it first,
since there are so many of you. Call on the name of your god,
but do not light the fire." So they took the bull given them and
prepared it. Then they called on the name of Baal from morning
till noon. "O Baal, answer us!" they shouted. But there was no
response; no-one answered. And they danced around the altar they
had made. At noon Elijah began to taunt them. "Shout louder!"
he said. "Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or
busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened."
So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and
spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until
the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response,
no-one answered, no-one paid attention. (NIV) 1 Kings 18:24-29
Self-mutilation was a common practice in false religions. So it
is not surprising that God prohibits this practice in Leviticus
and other Old Testament passages. Here is one verse.
||Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.
I am the LORD. (NIV) Leviticus 19:28
Now we must ask, "How does this apply to pierced ears, noses
and "belly buttons?" God never condemns this type of practice
even though the Israelites did these things (Ex 35:22, Isa 3:21,
Eze 16:12). Self-mutilation is prohibited when it is connected
with religious practices. Does God approve of someone cutting
off their body parts and cutting themselves? This type of self-mutilation
is characteristic of demonic possession.
||When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an evil spirit came
from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no-one
could bind him any more, not even with a chain. For he had often
been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke
the irons on his feet. No-one was strong enough to subdue him.
Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out
and cut himself with stones. (NIV) Mark 4:2-5