Well, I wouldn't suppose to speak on behalf of the Lord, BUT...we do have the Bible which is the Word of the Lord!
This is something to definitely discuss, but most stay FAR from. This is a matter that is very pervasive in our culture, has seeped into Christianity and many people struggle with. It's important! And...it's a matter we can look into without dividing.
My initial comments would be to say that I don't think that one can come to a "black and white" conclusion on the matter. *ALTHOUGH*, I could pull the, "God's Word says it in black and white and that settles the matter!" card. I personally don't think that Christians should be running around getting tattoos, but that's just my personal conviction and I find myself hard-pressed to point to definitive Scripture(s) that will allow me to stand on solid ground while defending my (anti) stance.
Of course, there's always Leviticus 19:28:
"Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."
Seems pretty clear to me! Case closed!! End of blog.
If we follow that standard we might be in a wee bit 'o trouble. Grab your Bible and let's look at some of the text above and below Leviticus 19:28:
"When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden; it must not be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the LORD. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the LORD your God. Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it. Do not practice divination or sorcery. Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard. Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD. Do not degrade your daughter by making her a prostitute, or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness. Observe my Sabbaths and have reverence for my sanctuary. I am the LORD."
Wait five years before eating fruit from a tree you planted? Failed that one! Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it? The prime rib's pushin' it! Hopefully we're not practicing divination or sorcery. Wait, did someone say, "rebellion" (1 Samuel 15:23)? I think we're all in trouble on cutting the hair at the sides of our head or clipping off the edges of our beard. You're REALLY in trouble if you're a woman...clipping your beard and all! I've not cut myself for the the dead, BUT I did get three tattoos in my "B.C." days. YIKES!! (Wait, did John just say he had three tattoos?!) No problem in the "making your daughter a prostitute" here. "Observing Sabbaths and having reverence for my sanctuary"? Most Christians don't blink an eye these days to work on their "Sabbath" (whole other blog on that one!!) and "reverence in the sanctuary"? Gimme strength!!
So do we just throw out the book of Leviticus and all of it's seemingly strange rules and regulations? Of course not!! This is God's Word people!
As I read Leviticus, I glean that it was given for two main reasons:
- To provide "right" and "healthy" living.
- To set God's people apart from others. People would easily be distinguished as belonging to Jehovah God if they did or did not do something.
In today's society, it's become part of the normal culture to get a tattoo. As Christians, we have to ask ourselves a question, "If the Bible does speak to the matter and it's clearly something that's never been part of Christian history (but rather Pagan and sometimes used as a form of branding and even punishment), should I join the 'world' in running out and getting one?"
Some questions to ask yourself:
*Why do I want to get a tattoo?
*Is this just a fad or phase that I'm going through? (Hey, you'll be stuck with that "Tramp Stamp" for life!)
*Does it bring glory to God or just make me look like I'm conforming to the pattern of the world?
*Have I prayed about this and asked for the Holy Spirit's leading?
With all this in mind, I love what Paul says in Romans 14:1: "Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters."
Is this a potential "disputable matter"? I think so. We would do well to hold to and give a Biblical position and perspective if someone asks us, but ultimately we move into dangerous waters if we begin to judge who is saved and who is not based upon the matter of getting "inked".
My final thoughts are from Paul, "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
While holding to an "anti-tattoo" stance, judgment on salvation belongs to God alone. As Christians, be encouraged not conform to the pattern of this world. Instead, offer your body, not as a canvas for tattoo artists, but as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—let this be your spiritual act of worship.
I welcome your comments at John@Heuglin.net!