Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?

I recently commented on someone’s blog post concerning tattoos. The battle of ‘should Christians have tattoos or not?’ I do not know how my comment will be received and I thought that either way I will also post what my thoughts are on the subject here as well.

Let’s take a look at some verses that concern tattoos and body augmentation:
Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord. – Leviticus 19:28

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? – 1 Corinthians 6:19

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:20

In the past I would have loved to agree with them that the verses in the Bible used against tattoos could be seen as “outdated” or “only for that time for their protection of physical ailments” because I always liked tattoos, but I can’t say that I feel Leviticus 19:28 and down playing 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 are just simple reasons God would not like us to have tattoos; merely to protect us from disease.
I used to want half sleeves though I could never fully decide what I would want on my arms. I’m thankful I didn’t get them.. probably would have had to do with some sort of Celtic mythology. I did get a tattoo on my wrist that I’m hoping to get removed soon. There are many reasons I want to get rid of it but the biggest is that I have changed my body from the way that God created me to be, and I don’t like that.

Back to tattoos, God also tells us to come out from among them. To come out from among the ways of the world. To separate ourselves because we are different through the blood of Christ. That’s not to say that people with tattoos aren’t able to be Christians, I’m a Christian and I have a tattoo (I also have never had an piercings. I was given the change as a kid when my mom thought I was old enough but I never actually decided to get my ears pierced).

(16) And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  (17)  Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,  (18)  And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty. – 2 Corinthians 6:16-18

I’m not judging the other interpretations of this for those who feel justified to get a tattoo. I cannot judge them for it and it’s between them and God, honestly. But I do not think their reasons are justified by a few scriptures they feel are outdated. I do not feel that more reasons are being considered as to why God does not want us to get tattoos.
Would you, knowing those who worship him, have a Buddha in your house? Do you feel that the enemy in the spiritual realm would hold you as innocent for owning something that is worshiped as another god? With that being said, would you be held innocent to conforming your body the same way non-believers in the world do knowing that you are held to a higher standard through God?

There are many more reasons than those few verses that God tells us to come away from the world. Yes, many are for our own protection but what most don’t think about is what else He’s protecting us from. Yes, we can easily get caught up into the world and mingling traditions and what we as humans think is right, lowering our morals and whatnot, but what about the spiritual aspect? What if God is trying to protect us from more than what we see with our physical eyes?
I ask this because I’ve lived it. I’ve had to cleanse my house of anything that could even remotely represent worshiping a false god or had to do with pagan practices because of the amount of spiritual oppression and warfare it was causing me.

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? – 1 Corinthians 6:19
For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. – 1 Corinthians 6:20
Note: As Christians, our bodies do not belong to us but belong to God. He bought us through the blood of His Son. Maybe you should leave the decisions about your body up to the Lord.

(Side note: I always imagine my tattoo as being graffiti on God’s temple now)

Another thought: I also believe tattoos are comparable to cutting oneself (self-mutilation) or blood-letting which is also a pagan ritualistic act. I went through a depression phase when I was a young teenager where I was into cutting myself. I’ve had to repent for it since then and pray for the Lord to close any windows or doors it may have opened spiritually.

In the post I read, Revelations 19:16, which states “And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.” is taken in the context that John saw a vision and is assumed that Jesus does or will have a tattoo on this thigh.
The more we go through the Bible the more we realize that most of the visions are written in a symbolic manner and are not intended to be taken literally.

Do you think that the mark of the beast will be visible to the physical eye? Taking into account the way that technology and society is advancing it’s evident that the “mark” may not actually be seen but could be some sort of implant (besides, how would they buy and sell with just a tattoo without some sort of advancement in the ink or it being some sort of “mark” or signature that is electronic?)
And the seal of God that is placed on the foreheads of His chosen (Revelations 7:3) may not be physically visible but visible through spiritual aspects. Don’t forget, God is a Spirit (John 4:24). In Revelations 7 God is speaking to the angels concerning those whom will have His seal on their foreheads, so we can conclude it will be something that THEY (spiritual beings, in this case angels) can see and I’m not sure if we will see them ourselves. Also in Ezekiel 9:4 we see that those that sigh and cry for all the abominations have received a mark as commanded by the Lord.

In conclusion, I feel that getting tattoos and trying to find an excuse to get one (because face it, some people like them) is not justifiable through the Bible. Even though I have one myself there is not any way someone can convince me that God’s word concerning them is out-dated or misinterpreted. I believe it all comes down to the person that may be wanting one is just wanting one and trying to justify getting one. I’ve been there and done that and repented for it.

If you’re interested I found this “article” interesting. We easily forget the aspects of the spiritual realm and their influences in this world:
Please do not get that tattoo!
also: What does the Bible say about tattoos / body piercings?
[I do not fully follow or condone any articles in the links shared above. These sites do not represent my entire point of view concerning my beliefs, moral standing, or faith.]

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4 thoughts on “Tattoo or Not to Tattoo?

  1. I once believed that tattoos were wrong for the very same reasons that you do, I also had problems with folks who got tatted up – and then, God told me to get one. I’ll be the first to admit that I argue with God, but He always wins. He won this time, too, but it was after weeks of arguing and lots and lots of tears. He took me to one scripture. Not the one about Jesus having his name written on his thigh; nope, He took me to Isaiah 49:16 “Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.” That’s God speaking to Israel. Yep, God has a tattoo. I read everything I could find on that scripture in the commentaries and they all said the same thing. I got exactly what He told me to get, where He told me to get it, in the colors He told me to use. I wanted it on my shoulder where no one could see. He had me put it on my left forearm, just below my elbow. No hiding it there,unless I wear a long sleeve shirt. I had trouble even after I got it. Did I mention I had been taught tattoos are wrong? Then, an amazing thing happened – I found out what it meant and why it had to be where it was. God sent someone from California to North Carolina and he translated my tattoo.

    My tattoo is a butterfly – the symbol of new life. The colors are blue, purple and green – colors signifying Heaven, royalty and prosperity. Across the top, it says “Loved”; across the bottom, it says “Chosen”. I knew it said “Loved” and “Chosen” because God gave me a new name. He even told me that. He said that all my life, I have been despised and rejected, but that’s not what He calls me. That’s all I knew. What I didn’t know was that the butterfly also symbolizes freedom, the color blue represents revelation, green is the color of the Tribe of Judah and the left side is the identification side. Do I still think tattoos are evil or God has such a problem with them? I think that, like music, He looks at what’s behind them. What did you get? Why did you get it? What were your motives? “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17 We are no longer under law because the law brought death, but we have been given life and freedom. Paul said, “23All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify.” I know he was talking about food offered to idols here, but there’s a spiritual concept at the root. Who or what is being edified? God always, always, ALWAYS looks at your heart and motives DO matter. If I had failed to get my tattoo, I would be in disobedience. That was so hard for me to get through. God wouldn’t ask me to sin and seriously, I didn’t WANT a tattoo. What does it look like for a 50+ grandmother to get a tattoo? My desire to obey overrode my desire to look right or whatever else people would think about it. On the other hand, I asked God to give me an anointing to remove tattoos from people who wanted to get rid of them. It hasn’t taken full effect yet, but I prayed for a friend’s daughter and hers started to fade. I think God is beyond comprehending and obedience to what He tells us is always the best thing to do.

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    • That’s very interesting. The entire thing. I agree that we are no longer under the law, I’ve tried to argue that point to some in the past that believe it is still the only way to salvation. Needless to say they still don’t understand.
      I do not believe that having or getting tattoos affects anyone salvation. Maybe it’s more along the lines of how I personally feel in regards to them. I still like tattoos and if I see someone that has one I’m always curious about it. I like seeing what strangers may be so passionate about that they would get a permanent image put onto their body in regards to passions or interests. Of course there are those that get many they later regret, but who doesn’t have regrets in their life?
      For me, my opinion is based more on my view of how I prefer to be concerning my relationship with the Lord. In attempts to steer myself farther away from worldly and materialistic aspects I personally don’t want to have certain marks that are from certain points of my life. Though those parts of my life reflect who I am today I am not that person but a new person.
      Along those lines, I also no longer wear any make up. That stopped during work when I just didn’t care how I looked anymore. My skin, eyes, and cheeks are the way God made them and I’d rather that be evident than trying to hide, accentuate what I think is more attractive, or distract from what I may not like. I’d rather accept my physical self the way I was created. Of course physically I’d rather be in better shape than I am and could stand to lose weight (quite a bit, I might add), I would still rather do it for health reasons than to be accepted by society.
      By no means does that mean I can judge others out there that may wear make up. And although I feel that everyone has such beautiful qualities in the way they were made I understand the insecurities that come from a society that breeds expectations of beauty. Many women don’t realize just how beautiful they are and that they do not need to apply their make up with a trowel (I am in Texas and the stereotypes are true to an extent).
      Anyway, I got my tattoo the day after my wedding. It’s a flower with some of the petals drawn to represent the trinity (back before I realized what the original drawing intent of the trinity was before it was decided to be used or merged in with Catholicism as means to describe the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Then later brought in with the Protestants during their separation. In actuality the symbol has pagan/occult representations BEFORE Christian influences decided to use it). It’s in now faded yellow, orange and what used to be purple tones that now appear as faded black outlines. When I see it, which hasn’t been often with the cold and long sleeves, it reminds me of the horrible experience of my marriage and divorce; what I was going through at that time.
      I could see God and spiritual beings having “tattoos” or symbolisms on them but I can’t exactly relate that to a point of view of our physical bodies or the intent most people get them. Of course if God told you to get a tattoo then that’s what you had to do. I personally would rather not have one at all. I have enough marks on this body to remind me of my past and this one is much like a giant traffic sign that always reminds me of a past that I have moved on from and would rather put behind me now.
      I would say this subject is an interesting one to have and although some differ on what they believe or perceive what God might think about it, it’s not something that should be argued in a hateful manner by any means.
      In my mind it’s more of a cultural influence sort of deal that has merged in with society. Some will always say it’s fine and others will disagree. I say it’s up to God and I don’t think He’s going to hold it against anyone. Besides, there are much more damaging things we could do to ourselves, but like all changes we still have to realize that the changes we make in the physical can still impact those in the spiritual.

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    • I was thinking about the tattoo thing again and your story about God asking you to get one made me think of Isaiah when the Lord requested that he walk around barefoot and naked (Isaiah 20:1-2). It made me wonder if your tattoo was more an example of doing what the Lord tells you even though the real reason hasn’t been revealed to you yet.
      I’ve often wondered about having a tattoo and if it could be used as a witnessing example, one that shows others with tattoos that they are not being judged.
      Considering the idea of praying for it to fade completely and the Lord to heal it also made me wonder if eventually you might be used for that example. Maybe God is trying to get you to have faith for His reasons, while not knowing them, than holding expectations to what we’ve grown up being told.
      It still doesn’t make sense to me that He’s necessarily FOR tattoos in my mind, even not being held to the laws. I guess I view them as joining in to the widely accepted culture of the world, most of which reject God to begin with, the side of the world we have been told to come away from.

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  2. I totally understand the culture perspective. That was part of my (and my husband’s) argument against getting it. After I made my hair blue, I heard a lot of “Now you need a tattoo.” Uh, no I don’t. That’s when I was told to get one. I told God that it looked like I was giving into the pressure to get one. My husband actually accused me of giving into “peer pressure.” Seriously? I didn’t give into peer pressure when I was 14; I’m not going to start now. Things only got worse when I finally DID get it, because then I heard, “We knew we could talk you into it.” Uh, no you didn’t. Let’s be VERY clear why I did it – God said so and I do what He says. If I was giving into peer pressure, I would be living in Virginia where it’s sunny and warm, not Western Pennsylvania. Things are not always as they seem. Anyone who really knows me knows I follow God and not the world; that’s why it was so painful to have my husband accuse me of giving into peer pressure and having a mid-life crisis. He of all people should know better. I’m the person who was told by a military shrink that I’m stubborn, strong-willed and opinionated. That kind of person doesn’t give into peer pressure; we usually create it. That’s why I had to be delivered from control and manipulation (Which are forms of witchcraft); I felt a need to bend people to my will.

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