Body art, ink, tatts, call them what you like. Tattoos have been around for thousands of years(First discovered on mummies in 3370 BC). But they still face a lot of the same stigma today that they did more than 75 years ago when the troops started coming home with them after the war.
So the question remains, is it wrong for a Christian to get a tattoo?
I love tattoos and have 2 of them, but I have also experienced and witnessed somejudgement and criticisms that come along with having tattoos. Although tattoos are no longer purely associated with gang members or people of lower class, they are still deemed as "unacceptable" by some people, because they are "not a good look."
Even though the first tattoo parlour opened in 1896, tattoos were still associated with war troops, who would commonly get them overseas as souvenirs from their time in the war, or gang members who would use them as mark to signify allegiance to the gang.
It was unlikely to see an office worker in the 1940s/50s sporting body art.
Change of heart
This all changed in the 1970s with the end of the hippie era and beginning of the feminist movement. Tattoos were becoming more mainstream and were acceptable for both genders as an expression of freedom and art. It was also around this time that singer Janis Joplin famously revealed her wrist tattoo.
But most importantly, what does God have to say on the subject of tattoos? The Levitical laws have commonly been used to argue this case where it states: "Do not cut your bodies for the dead and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord." (Leviticus chapter 19, verse28)
But this verse is frequently misquoted as it also states that the Levitical laws were exclusively for Israel to follow as they were God’s holy people.
A second opinion
So if the Levitical laws are considered outdated then where do we as Christians, stand on the subject of tattoos? Joyce Meyer who is a well known Christian speaker and author has given sermons on tattoos as recently as 2018 and has been quoted in saying:
"true biblical holiness is based on motives and not following rules and regulations. If your motives and your heart are of good intentions, then that is what matters. Isaiah 49 says God has an image of us tattooed in the palm of his hands and I think that is pretty cool."
Behold I have a picture of you tattooed on the palm of each of my hands. (Isaiah chapter 49, verse 16)
Another place that makes me think about tattoos from a Christian perspective, is the crucifixion. When I think of the scars that Jesus had from nails that he endured out of love for me and so many others, I don’t see horrible marks that show his pain, I see the permanent symbols of love.
I and many other people that I know, got their tattoos to symbolize something meaningful. While a tattoo can never have the same meaning as the marks that Jesus bore for us, we still use them as a permanent way of recognizing something important to us.
In closing I leave you with one finalbible verse that to me, answers what God really thinks of tattoos. "The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." (1 Samuel chapter 16, verse 7)
My name is Kate and I love gardening, exercising, and being involved with my church social groups. I have loved to write from a young age, and took up poetry as a teenager. I have recently got married and am enjoying getting used to married life.