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posted Mar 8, 2012, 8:40 PM by Susannah Francis   [ updated Mar 8, 2012, 9:02 PM ]
By Zachary Francis

There are two quotes that I read today and I want to share with you. 

"Well reading all these stories, actually lets me see what I was feeling but could never put into words. People may find this act scary but we know they don’t know. They don’t feel the rush. They don’t cry like we do, they use tears, we use blood."

"For me and my justification for it, it’s similar to the Romans of old who bled themselves to be free of their demons."

Blood removal has been done for thousands of years. Up until the late 19th century, it was thought that releasing blood would cure illnesses or prevent disease. Though the process of bloodletting was recommended by physicians, it was carried out by barbers! In fact, the classic red striped pole that you see in barber shops reflects this ancient practice. The red stripe symbolizing blood drawn, the white stripe the tourniquet used, and the pole representing the stick being squeezed into a person’s hand to help dilate the veins. I don't know about you, but I'll never look at a barbershop pole the same way again! Who would have ever thought that the ones who used to cut our hair were also involved in helping us bleed to death!

And why was bloodletting done to cure disease? Well, in ancient times, disease was thought to be a curse given by an evil spirit. Thus, bleeding a person would help to drive out a spirit that possessed him. Of course, bloodletting eventually developed a more physiological explanation for its use, but you get the idea. People bled themselves to get rid of demons! As a Christian, I find it interesting that the things of this world sometimes mimic the things of Christ. For example, if you have ever had a Christian evangelize to you, they would probably tell you about Jesus laying his life down on the cross. They would talk about his blood covering everything you have ever done wrong weather it's lying to get a job, stealing a candy bar when you were hungry, or drooling over your best friend's fiancé. And in bloodletting we have that same blood which is thought to cure diseases. Powerful things are always copied with slight alterations. When American Idol became successful, it caused other shows to pop up like America's Got Talent, The Voice, and get the idea. Were they the same? No. The Voice is not a carbon copy of American Idol. But they both are still vocal competitions, featuring soloists who want to make it further in the industry. Similar? Yes. The same? No.

So we have bloodletting which is similar but not the same as what Jesus did on the cross. Let's look at the first quote again. "They don’t cry like we do, they use tears, we use blood." People that cut...they feel so much pain. So much suffering. No one understands them. Voices fill their head. Voices like "dirty", "screw-up", "fat", "alone", "freak", "loser". We want the voices to stop, but it seems as if we can't control them. And many times we have people telling us we are no good, people ignoring us, people invalidating us sexually, physically, verbally...and many times we invalidate ourselves! There was a story that I read today and I want to share a quote from it. "All my friends and family get used to seeing me happy all the time that they never realize the anger and frustration and complete numbness that I’ve been feeling." How many smiling people out there are really not smiling? How many are putting on an act, trying to act happy? How many "successful" straight-A students hate themselves, go into their bathrooms at night feeling misunderstood, screaming out for control? This same person goes on to say "I get so sick of people coming to me for advice and to talk to because when my friends are talking about what jerks their boyfriends are and how annoying their parents are, I keep thinking about how it would be if I could kill myself because I don’t want to feel like I do all the time. No one around me thinks I’m going through anything at all." No one knows who she really is. All they see is her mask. Her inner self, who she really is....and that's deeply buried, protected with high walls for fear of rejection.

Imagine you are in a pool of water holding a beach ball which represents your emotions. Now let's look at a typical week for you. Your father was upset with the C you got on your history test, told you "Can't you try harder than that! I mean are you dumb or something?!" You get upset, but you don't want people to see it so you bury the beach ball under the water. Now you are at school and your boyfriend/girlfriend breaks up with you. You don't want people to see that this bothers you so you bury this underwater too. You come in second at a track meet; you don't want to seem ungrateful so you bury this underwater. Pretty soon, you have 20 beach balls you are holding underwater. They keep trying to come to the surface though! You can't control them...they keep floating up. So you have to do something. You have to control something. So what do you do? You go into the bathroom and try to puke, you go into your walk-in closet to cut your arms or you exercise on the treadmill until you can't breathe. You want to suffer because you can control that pain. You CAN CONTROL how much you suffer when you cut your arms, when you puke, when you exercise until your legs feel like popping off. No beach ball floating to the surface there. And what happens? You feel more in control. Chemicals are released to help you bury your inner pain; at least for a little while…until the next problem arises.

But are we really in control when we hurt ourselves, or is it a mimic, a copy of control? Joyce Meyer stated something amazing in her book “Beauty for Ashes”. She said that many of us say we are forgiven by God but we do not receive His forgiveness. As Joyce says "I used to kneel at my bedside every night and beg 'Oh, God, forgive me. God, forgive me. God, forgive me.' Every night I repeated that prayer: 'God forgive me. Oh, God forgive me.' I was still taking that load of guilt. This went on for a couple of years, until the day I heard the Lord say to me, "Joyce, I forgave you the first time you asked Me. Now you need to forgive yourself." If we ask someone for a drink of water, and that person gives it to us, but we refuse to swallow it, what can that individual do about it? It would be silly to keep repeating "I am thirsty" while holding a glass of water that someone gave us, refusing to drink it. But that's what many of us do with forgiveness of ourselves; what many of us do with burying our emotions.

We are afraid to show who we really are. We've been rejected, hated, scorned by people we look up to. So we put up walls, buriers, moats, to keep people out; to keep "control". And when we hurt, we bury the hurt underwater…again, keeping control. And when we have trouble burying the hurt, we hurt ourselves to give us the energy to keep our protections up.

But what if a person is reaching out to us saying "I love you", but we refuse to believe it. After all, no one can possibly love us, right?! So when they say "I love you," we still act like our fake happy selves because they wouldn't want to see someone who doesn't always like the food the other person likes, who doesn't always want to listen to our problems, who isn't as agreeable as they appear to be. They would hate that person right? So when they say "I love you", they are just lying. They are just faking it! Right? But what if we are wrong? What if we are so convinced no one will love us that we refuse to receive the other persons love? What if we are just holding the water in our hand and refusing to take a drink?

Sometimes we cut, hurt ourselves, etc. out of fear. We bleed the demons that aren't even there. They're fictitious. I believe that Satan mimics God. He wants us to believe that we need to purge our real selves. He wants us to bleed ourselves to death. He wants us to purge and puke our brains out! And why? So we can continue to believe the lies. Jesus died on the cross so we would not have to hide behind masks. But many of us do not receive the blood. Instead, we believe the mimic, the fictitious lie that is close to the truth, but like the serpent who talked to Eve in the garden, it's only a hint of truth. It isn't real. People can love us for who we are even when we are grumpy. Even when we don't like that restaurant that we said we have liked for years. When we share our real selves, will there be resistance? Sure. But the showing light always hurts people's eyes. But like someone learning to see again, the eyes will adjust. And the colors they see will be beyond anyone's wildest dreams!