Inside Out 288: Self-Injury - The Merciful Scar

09.11.13 | Martha Manikas-Foster

Each day millions of teenagers—young women and young men— intentionally cut, burn, or otherwise hurt themselves in response to guilt, shame, and what they feel are the hopeless situations in their lives.

Grammy and Dove award winner  Rebecca St. James joins us on Inside Out to talk about this kind of self-injury, a central theme of her new novel, The Merciful Scar. Rebecca and her co-author Nancy Rue have crafted a novel around the central character of Kirsten, a young woman who slowly finds courage to look at the memories she’s kept hidden--much like the thin razor scars she continues to hide under her clothing. What she sees—when she looks--is that there is nothing that cannot be redeemed.

In our Inside Out conversation, we talk about the book, people Rebecca both has met briefly and known well who have struggled with self-injury, and how you and I might extend the mercy of God to those who need to know freedom from self-harm.

In preparation for writing the book, Rebecca spoke with a friend who had struggled with self-injury for many years. “She just said, ‘I didn’t need a lecture. I didn’t need somebody to tell me how bad it was—what I was doing. I already felt enough guilt. I already felt enough shame.  I needed someone to say “I’ll walk with you through this process of healing. I will stand by you. I will listen. I will love you in those practical ways.”’And that’s what they need. A listening ear that is there and going to be there for the long haul.”

Join us by clicking on an icon above (either Listen or Download) to hear our conversation about responding with Christ’s love to those we know—or will get to know—who are caught in a cycle of self-injury.

Learn more about the new novel The Merciful Scar by Rebecca St. James and Nancy Rue here: or

Learn more about Rebecca St. James.


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Inside Out airs Wednesdays at 12:20pm EST during the Family Life Noon Report.


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