-3 minute read
Can Christians Tattoo Themselves?
Regardless of your denominational viewpoint, tattooing has been a debated topic within the Christian community. A lot of people have their doubts about having a tattoo or getting one done, and many stand firm on their opinion, and no matter what your view is, its fine before God.
“Do you have faith? Have it to yourself before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves. But he who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not eat from faith; for whatever is not from faith is sin.” • Romans 14:22-23
I don’t want this topic to be something that encourages you or discourages you on having a tattoo or getting one done. I trust that the Holy Spirit can guide you through this controversial topic of tattooing.
Its a fact, in Leviticus 19:28 clearly says “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the Lord.” But, if we don’t understand this time, and the reasons which these teachings were written, we can inadvertently take them out of context. When we read the Bible, His word is something we must take delicately, we can hurt or bless others with what God is actually saying, so put on love.
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.” • Colossians 3:12-14
Its important to know
During this time there were tribes where the cutting of the flesh and tattooing was a way of worship to their dead and to their pagan gods. Actually, before jumping to verse 28, this chapter starts off with God saying to us: “You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy.” (Leviticus 28:1-2), and the word holy is interpreted as: apart, only, or incomparable.
So, the beginning of the chapter alludes that the message was made to protect the identity of His children, so that others would not have compared or confuse the Lord of Israel with a pagan god.
If you think about it, its funny, because if we were to take this verse 28 literally, we would also have to consider the verses before this one, and if so, today every Christian man would be walking around with long sideburns and untrimmed beards, and we would still be offering burnt sacrifices.
I’m not saying we should ignore these teachings, but if its important to understand the culture of that time, we should also consider todays culture.
Today tattoo is no more than art
This doesn’t mean that your body is a canvas where you can freely expose erroneous drawings. Your body is still a temple of God, and any damage to your body is damage that you do to God.
If you really want to be serious about having a tattoo, ask yourself this:
-Why do I want a tattoo?
-How will I glorify God with my tattoo?
-What will be the meaning of my tattoo?
The simpler you keep it, the better
Still don’t have a tattoo? dedicate it to God, keep it a secret between you and Him.
Although recognizing that to be tattooed isn’t something to be alarmed about , remember that for many others its considered wrong-doing. Romans chapter 14 speaks to us about the importance to avoid being a stumbling block for others, we were called to be different, to care for others and to represent God worldwide.
Read and Study
I encourage you to take the time this week, bring out your Bible and read up on:
• Romans 14
• Colossians 3:12-17
Author: Anthony Broady