Nowadays, tattoos are everywhere. It's always been a huge part of several ethnic cultures, and it's even made its way to being a prominent feature on high-profile people associated with the NBA and the NFL. Additionally, most people that I’ve talked to about tattoos seem to have considered or have thought about getting a tattoo one day. But there are a lot of things to think about when you decide to permanently inject ink into your skin, right? Especially as a Christian... so let's break it down.
First of all, the Bible doesn’t ever explicitly say you shouldn’t get a tattoo, or that it's a sin.
That might come as a shock to you, and a lot of people might even disagree and say there are verses that implicate getting a tattoo is a sin.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
People have misinterpreted this verse, throwing tattoos under the bus by classifying it as desecration upon God's temple, which is our body. However, if you read this verse in its full context, you’ll see that it's talking about sexual immorality, and not tattoos. If in fact this verse was saying that your body was temple in the sense that you shouldn’t alter your body or appearance in any way well then makeup, how you eat and dress should also be scrutinized.
Leviticus 19:28 states “You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves; I am the Lord.”
Now this verse seems pretty straightforward about tattoos, but what it was really referring to was the forbidding of an old heathen ritual where people whould make deep gashes on their limbs to honor the dead. So as long as you’re not getting tattoos to worship the dead, then you’re fine.
Now, lets talk about why you might not really want to get a tattoo and some other specifics.
There are a lot of societal taboos with having tattoos, and it's not only within Christian circles. As Christians, we are called to reach out to the lost people of this world, and that may not always be to the most open-minded people. It’s a sad fact of life, and a lot of people will stereotype and pass judgment based on appearances, especially tattoos.
Tattoos are (usually) forever. So unless you want to spend thousands of dollars on a laser tattoo removal, you might want to spend a looooot of time thinking about it, and get something you wouldn't mind seeing for a long time. Also, things that you think are cool at 22 might not be so cool at 52, which is another thing to keep in mind.
In the business world, tattoos are still widely considered unprofessional, although they have become more and more acceptable. However, it can still affect your chances at getting certain jobs in which having a tattoo may be inappropriate. To be honest, it would be pretty weird if my pastor had full-on tattoo sleeves, and I probably would hesitate to hire a babysitter with a tramp stamp. *kanye shrug*
So with all things considered, why do you want a tattoo? Will it hinder your calling? What is your motivation? These are a lot of important things to consider and probably THE most important. Depending on what you do, having a tattoo may not be the best decision, but ultimately, it shouldn't affect the way you witness to those around you, and it DEFINITELY shouldn't change the identity you have as a child of God. Do you only want a tattoo because you want to maintain an image? Do you want a tattoo to be cool and accepted by a certain group of friends? Or do you just think they’re dope? Because they are. But in any case, make sure to think long and hard about it before putting something permanent onto your skin.
Just don’t go past your elbows, or you’ll never get a job.