Hi. I've been a Christian for about two years now, but before that I didn't believe in God or the Devil or anything. When I was 11, I started getting picked on at school a lot. I have buck teeth so I was often called Bucky or Bugs Bunny. Then a nasty rumor went around my school saying I was gay because I didn't have a girlfriend. They called me gay and many more hurtful names. I would go home and cry my eyes out! And it just got worse. Soon it wasn't just name calling, it turned physical. To this day I have severe headaches from when I was hit in the head. That happened when I was 12.
It was not long after that when I started cutting. But that wasn't enough! It was around that time that I began to masturbate. It felt so good and it made me feel happy when the rest of the time I felt like I was drowning in a sea of sadness and despair. But one day when I was doing it, my dog came in and he licked me. At first I told him to stop, but I eventually gave in. But even then I knew that I was doing something terribly wrong. The bullying continued as did the action of masturbation and letting my dog lick me. It felt so good while it was happening, but when it was over I felt so wretched. I felt disgusting!
The bullying increased, and I just didn't care anymore! So I continued doing what I was doing. One night while I was cutting myself I contemplated killing myself. What a wretched existence I led. I said, "No one loves me, and I resort to this to make myself feel better."
But then I met this girl who invited me to a party at her church. I went and something snapped inside of me. I was 16 then. I've been attending church ever since then. I try to live my life for God whom I love so much!
My question is, will God forgive me? I still do it sometimes, and I can't take it anymore! I want to spend eternity in Heaven! Not Hell! How do I stop?
"Say to them: 'As I live,' says the Lord GOD, 'I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn, turn from your evil ways! For why should you die, O house of Israel? Therefore you, O son of man, say to the children of your people: 'The righteousness of the righteous man shall not deliver him in the day of his transgression; as for the wickedness of the wicked, he shall not fall because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness; nor shall the righteous be able to live because of his righteousness in the day that he sins'" (Ezekiel 33:11-12).
What was true in the days of Ezekiel, is still true today. God isn't looking to destroy people but to rescue them from their sins. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9).
But forgiveness requires that a person turn from his sins. It sounds to me that you are nearly there. You just need break some bad habits.
The bullying is a sad fact about children. They will pick on anyone who is deemed different. And if there isn't a difference, they will find something anyway. Adults should have put a stop to it, and I'm sorry those in your life let you down.
Cutting is wrong because you are harming yourself. I suspect that you are doing so to punish yourself, but in doing so you are acting as judge, jury, and executioner in your own case, but you are biased because you are involved. Your own emotions get in the way of seeing things accurately. The result is that you are going against what is in your nature, and I believe you know it. "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church" (Ephesians 5:29).
Cutting also doesn't solve anything. It gives the illusion that you are doing something, but nothing really changes; instead, you have yet another thing that you feel bad about. So in the long run you feel worse.
The male body needs to release semen once in a while, but like many things Satan can take what is a normal function and turn into some wrong. Some boys get caught up in pornography, using lust for sex with people they don't know to drive their masturbation. But pornography is wrong because of that lust. "For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God" (I Thessalonians 4:3-5).
You focused on masturbation as a way to artificially get happiness. Of course, it doesn't last because it is only a momentary pleasure. But because of that focus, you opened the door for another sin: bestiality. Bestiality is engaging in sexual acts with an animal. "Nor shall you mate with any animal, to defile yourself with it. Nor shall any woman stand before an animal to mate with it. It is perversion" (Leviticus 18:23).
The way to stop is to determine you are going to change. "For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. For observe this very thing, that you sorrowed in a godly manner: What diligence it produced in you, what clearing of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what vehement desire, what zeal, what vindication! In all things you proved yourselves to be clear in this matter" (II Corinthians 11:9-10). Decide right now that you aren't going to cut yourself anymore. If you feel the urge to do so, write to me and tell me about it. I want you to see what is triggering the urge and find better ways to handle problems that actually result in a solution.
Stop masturbating just for pleasure. If you need to release semen because your sexual urge is high, then fine. But no pornography and you keep the dog out while you are taking care of business.
You can stop. It is doable. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13). You just have to find it within yourself to be determined to change.
Thank You for getting back to me. It means a lot. Believe me when I say I want to change! But I think the problem is that I try to rely solely on my strength to stop when that is impossible. Alone against the Devil I don't stand a chance. It is only with Jesus that I can defeat Satan, and all his evil. So I guess my question is: How do I just let go? How can I let go of the reins of my life, and give them to God?
"Letting go" implies taking no action on your part but assuming that God will do everything. Paul said "Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" (Philippians 4:11-13). Notice that Paul doesn't say he does nothing. He is saying that he does what he can and Christ gives him the strength to go on beyond what he thought he was able.
So you don't let go of your life, but you do let God be your guide. You put what you know to be right ahead of what you feel like doing. "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and depart from evil" (Proverbs 3:5-7). Again, this isn't being passive, but having true faith or trust in God and His teachings. As Solomon promised, "My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will add to you" (Proverbs 3:1-2).
You are not alone in this matter. God restricts what Satan can tempt you with and He guarantees that there is always a way out that does not involve sin. "No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).