Note: This is based on MY study. If you are considering getting a tattoo make sure as in ALL things in CHRIST - You search your heart, Bible, and ask God to guide YOUR life.
Tattoos? Are they really a social taboo? With a culture that is obsessed with getting "inked" is it a notable
way to be "called and set apart" as Leviticus 20:26 proclaims for the Christian population? Now, before I begin with Biblical based research and what I feel based on MY relationship with Jesus, please consider this:
Before you go heavy on someone about tattoos and spew scripture and religious dogma in their faces, make sure you are NOT taking scripture out of context and if you attack a Christian or even a lost person with what the Bible says and does not say on this and any other controversial issue (note HUMANS make it controversial, the Bible doesn't) that you APPLY all elements of the Bible to your life (like not eating meat, waiting three years to eat fruits, etc.). Now, before we get to the scripture that everyone uses AGAINST the tattoo issue, let's focus on the above ones referenced in parentheses. That's fair, right?
- Leviticus 19:26 tells us: "Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood," while Leviticus19:27 gives more advice: "Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your beards."
- Three scriptures (Leviticus 19:23) ahead of that we are told, "DO NOT EAT fruits for three years." On the fourth year consecrate the fruit for the Lord and finally, in the fifth year, you can eat the fruit.
Now out of context, we all would be in BIG trouble because some of us like RARE steak and most men got a hair cut today so they can look nice for the Lord on tomorrow and maybe just maybe some man also shaved for date night with his wife tonight (my humor is FUNNY, isn't it?) Jokes aside, WITHIN CONTEXT, those behaviors were done to worship pagan Gods. Today, they are a matter of personal preference and hygiene - not to participate in a forbidden act of worship. During Moses's time, those acts were a "ritual, custom, and rite" associated with pagan beliefs. In 2012, that's not the case.
As for the fruit, we all are in BIG trouble for those apples, oranges, pineapples, bananas, and peaches we love. We did not wait five years. As a matter of fact, most can't even wait until they get home to eat them after grocery shopping. But why did the Isrealites have to wait? They had no pesticides and God wanted to increase their harvest. Today, we have ways to clean fruit and we increase harvests without the wait. We have tools and chemicals they did not have during those times.
So you see those scriptures were for "such a time as then" not for a time such as now. We have ways to preserve food so we don't have to wait to eat fruit and vegetables for 3-5 years at a time. Times have changed and I am not suggesting that the Bible changes with time - not at all. But society and how we govern ourselves changes and that is because God blesses us with new technologies to adjust to the times - those things change but His word doesn't. So taken within Biblical context and your relationship with Christ, we shall act accordingly.
Many who negate tattoos use these scriptures to slander Christians and non-believers:
- The NLT Bible states, "Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord" (Leviticus 19:28).
That's crystal clear right? But hold on before you give that "holier than thou glance" and that gaped mouth look that says "I told you so." In considering that verse in context, the Isrealites were LOST - I mean so lost that they were doomed for 40 years and God's desire was to "set his people apart to be HOLY" (Leviticus 20:26 again) and to stir clear of the pagan "religious rituals" (Christ is RELATIONSHIP, not religion, remember that?) that surrounded the Isrealites. God desired to prevent idolatry, witchcraft, and sorcery. This passage shows God as Protector, as He sets the Isrealites apart from other cultures because He knows they will be lead astray from the ONE AND ONLY TRUE GOD - HIM.
- Another scripture people use against tattoos is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
This scripture is taken out of context a lot, too. It refers to sexual immorality. Since our bodies belong to God, we should have "HIS" permission before getting a tattoo or body piercing. Therefore, Christians are to consult with God (in most cases our mothers are responsible for our pierced ears, right?).
[added on January 20, 2013]: Also, Jesus came to abolish the law. We have over 600+ laws in the Bible, which fit into the categories of : moral, ceremonial, and civic. Jesus abolished the latter two as we no longer sacrifice animals nor walk around with hair everywhere because God told the Isrealites not to cut theirs in the book of Leviticus, though some churches have communion and feet washing. Those are optional practices and depends on the church. Moral law still stands. It will always stand because God is unchangeable. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We follow the Ten commandments and walk and live like Jesus. Jesus's coming and resurrection is why Christianity is about relationship, not religion. I can't seem to stress this enough, it seems. Jesus is not to be contained into some box, and that is what religion does. Jesus was bigger than that - he rose from the grave didn't he? Even death could not contain him, so how can laws and ceremony practices get you to God? They can't and they won't. JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD. THE ONLY WAY.
Now, in considering YOU getting a tattoo because face it, that's why you're reading this blog, the question isn't if CHRISTIANS should get a tattoo, the question is IF YOU SHOULD should get a tattoo?? And I say to you to go to Romans 14:23: Everything that does not come from FAITH is SIN and consider these questions:
Why do I want a tattoo? What are my motives?
Will the tattoo glorify self or Christ?
Will the tattoo cause others to stumble? (Romans 14:13)
Will this tattoo be relevant 50 years from now?
How will my future mate perceive this tattoo?
As for me, I am a Christian and what that passionately means is that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior and through him, I get to God and because of this "relationship," I am a NEW creation in Christ. What I do and how I govern myself is based on the Bible and the Trinity. The Holy Spirit is my comforter and nurturer and also the voice of TRUTH for my life.That's my testament. I don't have a tattoo, but I WANT one. I just haven't found the right artist to ink me. Again, this decision is about MY RELATIONSHIP with Christ.
I also believe the greatest tattoo you can have is "IN" your heart because you are prone to speak and be passionate most about the matters of your heart. A visible tattoo is just a second decree for what you love. Now if you ask Google if you should get a tattoo, then it may suggest, "No." Your mom may disagree, as well. So ask God, as it depends on your RELATIONSHIP with Him. Christianity is not a set of rules, regulations, and a check list on the rights and wrongs of life. If it were that easy to please God then what was the point of Jesus and his crucifixion and ascension into Heaven? Your decisions are not decided by me, yet God decides for YOUR life.
God Bless You and know that Jesus is madly in love with YOU!