Tattoos & Jesus
28 “‘Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord.
Well there is it, I can stop there, I don't have to say anything else about tattoo's....or do I? It would be easy to asssume this one verse means christians can't get tattoo's or it's a sin if you do, or at least this is the verse everyone uses to claim this.
Leviticus 19:26-28(NIV)26 “‘Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it.“‘Do not practice divination or sorcery.27 “‘Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard.
These are just two of the verses before vs. 28, so if you follow vs. 28 then you have to follow vs. 26 only eat kosher meat, don't practice sorcery(that one's pretty easy for most) and don't go get your hair cut on the sides or clip edges of your beard, i guess if we want to get technical, it's a sin if you don't have a beard, because it implies you already have a beard.
Ok, I'm not meaning to be sarcastic, but my point is Leviticus 19:28 is taken out of context and is misused in a way to encourage people not to get tattoo's or to call tattoo's a sin. I am not writing this today because I have tattoo's and I want to justify it. Truth is, if I thought tattoo's were wrong or a sin even though I had them I would admit it or get them removed. At the same time, even if I didn't have any tattoo's I would not misuse scripture to say something is a "sin" or "wrong" when I did not have the scripture or authority to back it up.
The past week I have seen two debates on facebook about this issue and I have seen extreme on both sides of the issue and even shared my 2 cents for what it's worth, but the bigger issue for me besides tattoo's is the manner in which we make things sin and claim something to be wrong and use the Bible yet we are misquoting it, taking it out of context, or misusing or mishandling the Word of God to push a belief, meaning we already have a predetermined belief because of the way we were raised or taught so I have to have a scripture to back it up.
People do this with the tattoo issue and music in the church, and all other sorts of beliefs, that pull a scripture out of a book, chapter, and use it to say what they want it to say. That is wrong and I believe that is the SIN.
This chapter in Leviticus was a chapter written about various laws and mostly dealing with some of the pagan worship and practices that were going on in surrounding cultures around the jews and some were coming into their area and lives and God didn't want that in there. He didn't want people cutting their bodies to remember or honor the dead(pagan ritual) nor did he want people(many women in this time) marking themselves with various markings/tattoos to ward off evil spirits, remember the dead, or honor a pagan God, or some sort of idol worship.
The issue is you have to look at the book of Leviticus as a whole, you have to look at it chapter by chapter and do some research. I spent some time this morning looking at the Bible, reading some commentaries on Leviticus, and even read some articles online about the pro's and con's about this issue. People do the same thing with I Corintians 6:19, Paul addresses a section of scripture in his writing on sexual immorality in chapter 6 and vs. 19 says "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you,, whom you received from God? You are not your own."(NIV) Once again if you'd read this in context with chapter 6 and especially 6:12-20 you would see this verse is in deed not about christians getting tattoo's, it's about people abusing their bodies, especially with sexual sin. His best advice is in 6:12, where He reminds us "everything is permissible for me, but not everything is beneficial."
I think the bottom line is in my study and research and prayer of this topic, that a tattoo is an individual and personal choice and for some they can get them and have peace and a clear conscience and for some they have doubt and concern and they would be wise not to get any, but the key for all of us to remember is there is no scripture in the Bible Old or New Testament that specifically addresses this issue, but like many topics and issues that are not specifically addressed, we must use wisdom, discernment, self-control, common sense, and our personal liberty/freedom given to us by God and His Holy Spirit guidance.
I'm not promoting for anyone to go get tattoo's nor am I calling them wrong or a sin, nor am I riding the fence on the issue, because for me and what I've seen in the Bible it's a personal issue, not a church, doctrine, or salvation issue.
There are so many things we focus on and we try hard to make them a "sin" or about "salvation" or question others "christianity" if they don't agree, look like, sound like, or dress like us, or believe just like us, or go to our church group. That my friends is the bigger sin, because the bible speaks a l ot on our hearts and attitudes.
Jesus told us in Mark 7:20-23when dealing with the legalistic religous leaders of His day on what was clean and unclean 20 He went on: “What comes out of a man is what makes him ‘unclean.’ 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. 23 All these evils come from inside and make a man ‘unclean.’”(NIV) So I think a tattoo on the outside of your body if you choose is insignificant, but what comes out of you from your heart is the true sin.
I think we all need to go read Romans 14 in context and read the whole chapter and that should be our attitude on things concerning issues and topics where the Bible doesn't clearly speak or is silent so it gives us personal freedom to choose for ourselves. That your homework today, to read that chapter!
It was not my goal to change anyone's mind today, if you think tattoo's are wrong, then don't get one, but do not tell someone else they are a sinner or wrong if they have one or want to get one, and if you have tattoo's or plan to get one, don't do it for the wrong reasons or flaunt it to be divisive to those who don't share your same freedom. Most of all stop misusing, mishandling, or misquoting the Bible. Don't try to make the Bible fit into your belief system, but be a student of the Bible and let God's word change you from the inside out!