This post is in response to an email that went out to my email subscribers encouraging them about God’s love.
Isaiah 49:16 – “Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me.”
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There were a few points that were raised with respect to my first email –
1.) Many said my approach to the subject of Tattoo was shallow
My response: I totally agree. That email wasn’t really addressing the getting a tattoo as a subject, it was addressing God’s love for us, to the extent that he permanently inscribed us on His hands to tell us we are not forgotten.
2.) Now that the subject of tattoo has been raised, many also raised concern that I should clarify it so that younger believers are not led astray
My response: Again, I agree. It is important to share the right message about God’s love, His hatred of sin, and His unfailing mercy towards us.
3.) Some said the Pastors I referenced in my email, (and some names were even mentioned, Pastor Eddie Iduoze, Pastor Ayo Daniels, Pastor Sam Adeyemi) will not be very happy with the email. (I am not sure if any of the Pastors have seen the email, I will try and get these Pastors to share their thoughts on this subject. If you can get me to reach Pastor Sam Adeyemi, please buzz me)
4.) The most quoted scripture by the people who are clearly against tattoos is Leviticus 19:28. I will help put that in context as well.
Here is my first reaction.
I have never asked anyone to get a tattoo and will not encourage anyone (young or old) to do so either.
It is also important to note that no sin is as powerful as Jesus’ blood. The blood can wash any type of sin and whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved. (Romans 10:13)
Why did I mention that?
The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Sin will send many people to hell, but I have also seen that our definition of sin leans too much on action i.e. what we do or did not do, when it should be more of ‘nature’.
We sin because we had a sinful nature. It is not what we did that made us sinners, we were sinners first by nature inherited from Adam and as a result of the nature, we sinned.
When we give our lives to Christ, we now have a new nature, so we cannot be sinners because Jesus did not have a sin nature. We are now righteous by nature.. But we can still sin, because of the habits we are used to and learnt when we had the sin nature. (Romans 5)
As we grow in God, with bible reading, meditation, hearing from God and being led by the Spirit, our minds being continually renewed, those old habits will be replaced by new ones from our new nature. (James 1:21) (I John 2:1)
Let’s go back to the Tattoo subject and Leviticus 19:28
Getting a tattoo, if it is a sin, is no bigger a sin than shaving your hair or wearing clothes made of two different materials, or even planting your field with 2 different kinds of seed, or lying or stealing etc. (All those references were made in the same chapter in Leviticus 19)
I believe we should all read that chapter in context because it was addressing pagan religion and the activities of the countries surrounding Israel at the time, who worship their gods by cutting themselves and honouring the dead spirits with tattoos and marks.
Also, we shouldn’t pick and choose which parts of the laws to obey.
As James said, we have to obey all, or we would be guilty of all. (James 2:10
And that’s one of the scary things about the law, it was given to show us how limited and unworthy we are. In fact, sin gets its power from the law (Romans 5:13 – Yes, people sinned even before the law was given. But it was not counted as sin because there was not yet any law to break.)
In Galatians, Paul writes something incredible about the Faith that Jesus brings.
Galatians 3:23 – 26
“We were kept under control by Moses’ laws until this faith came. We were under their control until this faith which was about to come would be revealed.
Before Christ came, Moses’ laws served as our guardian. Christ came so that we could receive God’s approval by faith. But now that this faith has come, we are no longer under the control of a guardian. You are all God’s children by believing in Christ Jesus.”
Compared to many other atrocities we commit as human beings (and even Christians), I think there are many ‘sins’ we commit daily that will get many people (young and old) to hell faster than a tattoo.
Now, to the real question and my response, Should a Christian get a tattoo?
First, we need to remember that our bodies and our souls were paid for by the blood of Jesus. He died so that we may live by paying the ultimate price.
God values us so much He sent us His best, when we were at our worst. We should begin to value ourselves as highly too because our bodies have now become the temple of the Holy Spirit. As said in Romans 14:23 – Anything that does not come from Faith is sin. (tattoo, or eating, or driving, or drinking water).
I also believe “Should a Christian get a tattoo? is even a wrong question to ask, because our walk with God is personal.
A better question in my opinion is Should I get a tattoo?
So if someone asks me that question, or if you are asking yourself that question, here is my response.
Answer to the question, Should I get a tattoo?
It is a VERY BAD idea to get a tattoo. In fact, I will do everything in my power to ensure no one I know or can reach ever gets a tattoo because
- No one knows the future and people change. Getting a tattoo is a permanent decision to a temporary situation. It is very difficult to remove and 10 years or even 50 years from now, it will be a different story. Many people with tattoos definitely regret this.
- Tattoos have been researched to have health implications due to improper sanitation of the needles. A study by the University of Texas was quoted recently as showing that those who have been tattooed are nine times more likely to be infected with hepatitis C. The dyes used in the tattooing process may also be detrimental to someone’s health as reported in the Guardian.
Does God want you to get a tattoo?
This is one of the foundations of our faith, being led by the Spirit of God. Getting a tattoo is a decision like any other including what school to attend, where to live, who to marry, or even should I sleep with someone else’s wife? If you are serious about your faith, you will also take this to God and seek his opinion. If there is something you don’t want God’s input on, it is probably something you shouldn’t do.
Will getting a tattoo please God?
Will I still have the freedom to be an ambassador for God with my tattoo? Or will I be buried under guilt and simply continue to put up a front as if everything is fine.
Family acceptance and approval
Even more practically, will my family, parents, spouse (or future spouse) approve of my actions? These decisions like any other are not in isolation. Many things will have to be considered and you must be ready for the results/implications.
Impact on others
Will I be causing other people to stumble in their faith? – Am I loving enough to hold back on some things so that others might gain Christ?
That will be my general guidance to anyone who is contemplating to get a tattoo.
Once we have some answers to these questions, we will then pray about it, and I will ask the person to get a confirmation from God. (i.e typical due process).
Here’s what I really believe,
Sin will put you on the path to hell, but getting a tattoo will not send you to hell.
In of itself, I don’t believe getting a tattoo is a sin, but your motives, your actions, and the decision making process can be sinful.
If you already have a tattoo, God will accept you as you are. You have nothing to be afraid off, and no one has the right to judge or put you down.
The same blood was shed for us all and that blood has saved, is saving and will continue to save murderers, rapists, robbers, liers, cheaters, drunkards or any sinner for that matter.
That is why I absolutely love Easter. It reminds us of the love, hope, forgiveness and acceptance of God to humanity.
I will love to hear your thoughts. You can reply or leave a comment on the blog for others to join in as well.
I will also encourage you to follow The Lighthouse 40 Days Easter Devotional and register to attend Easter Faith Conference – EFC2015 with Pastor Ayo Daniels, HisFragrance and Guest Ministers – Dr Odusote, Nathaniel Bassey, Emeka Madubata for a time of Teaching and Worship.
Click Here To Register (Admission is Free, but spaces are limited)