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01.17.13

posted Jan 17, 2013, 8:40 AM by Susannah Francis
By Zachary T. Francis

When you think of someone who might cut themselves, who would you think…someone from an abusive home? Someone who is poor, grew up in violence? Here are a few profiles I found of people who self harm. 
  • I hold a high paying job as a lawyer for a pharmaceutical company. 
  • Grew up with wealthy family. 
  • I have a 4.2 GPA. But that doesn't mean that I don’t have pain. I am a varsity cheerleader and have been for four years and before that I was a junior high cheerleader for two years. In junior high I also played volleyball and track. I talk to everyone at school; I talk to the people of the town. There are people at my school that think they want to be me. Basically, I am one of the biggest role models for the younger kids in my town. I hate it. The pressure to do it is something that is so hard to cope with. So I started SI’ing. 
A highly-regarded treatment organization stated that a typical cutter is a white, middle class woman of above average intelligence who began cutting herself in adolescence. Surprised? When I started researching this subject, I was as well. But then again, why should I be?

Why do we assume that the high paid lawyer, the overachieving student, the kid that can afford to go to Harvard without a scholarship doesn't have problems? Don't we see Hollywood stars become drug addicts? Don't we teach that money can't buy happiness? Why then, do we assume that if someone is successful they wouldn't be going through something emotional? Can't someone who is a cheerleader, a football star, or a highly regarded surgeon deal with depression? Can't they have emotional stress that no one knows about?

One of the quotes above from a self-professed cutter, ends with "I am one of the biggest role models for the younger kids in my town. I hate it. The pressure to do it is something that is so hard to cope with."

I had a friend tell me a year ago that a pastor she really cared about is leaving the ministry. When I asked why, she told me it was because she was seeing so many sick people in the hospital, had so many people she was trying to help emotionally, that she started having health problems.

How many times do we feel like successful people are invincible? But those people need our love too! They need our compassion. The pastor at our local church is not just someone we can lay every burden on. He is a human being. The friend who seems to always be the best listener might have something on his/her heart that they need to share. The CEO of an ethical yet successful pharmaceutical company might have some inner pain that no one knows about.

1 Thessalonians 5 says to "encourage one another and build each other up." James 1 tells us that "everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry".

James 3 tells us that "the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark." But is not the reverse also true? Instead of saying negative things, what if our tongue was only "encouraging and building each other up". What if, instead of talking to these "successful" people with our own problems, we were "quick to listen and slow to speak". Perhaps we would then ask how the popular cheerleader, whose "friends" just talked about her looks behind her back, is doing. Maybe we could take dinner over to our local pastor after a week when he visited eight people in the hospital, had countless phone calls, and had to deal with numerous complaints from various members of his church body. We could even ask our friend who gets straight A's and has a scholarship to Harvard if there is anything they need prayer for at the moment.

Why do successful people cut? Perhaps it's because there not as successful as we think they are. And maybe, just maybe, God is calling us to show those individuals what agape love really means.
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