Monday, January 17, 2011

Body art

Tattoos and body piercings are more popular now than I can ever remember. Tattoos have been around forever and have had different significance in different cultures. Often they have been used to signify your stature in your community. The more elaborate the tatoo the bigger your position. Even today in many gangs the size and complexity of your tattoo is directly related to your position in that gangs hierarchy.

When I was young I considered getting a tattoo as something military people(particularily sailors) and thugs did. Even now I still have that image in my mind. When I see a tattoo on someone that I know has no military background I instantly am a little leary of that person. Especialy when it has negative/demonic imagery. I know God loves us all equally but I can't help how I feel. I give everyone a chance though because a book can't be deemed good or bad by the cover alone.

What is it that drives people to desire tattoos? It can come from peer pressure. Often it is a desire for control. If you can't control what is around you then you can control your own body. Some people are addicted to the pain, for them pain is a rush or high. For some they have no choice as it is necessary for medical purposes or part of the incarceration process(prisoner number). For some it is something to use to commemerate events or times. There are many reasons and motives, some good and some bad .

I can't help but feel many will regret it later. I know of many people that have later had such a regret and went through the painful process(even more painful than getting the tatoo in the first place) of getting their tattoo removed with skin grafting.

For various reasons Christians in certains regions use tattoos to identify themselves as believers but what does the bible say regarding tattoos? The Old Testament is clearly opposed to it, Levitcus 19:28 says: "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD." Pretty clear but you can take that out of context. The Lord was referring to pagan worship and imagery. Christians are not under the law but under grace so what does the NT have to say. It is open to interpretation but 1corinthians 6:19-20 says: "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." That doesn't preclude any and all tattoos but it does mean you must not have imagery of ill repute.

There are many negative health issues that tattoos can cause. There are many talented and careful tattoo artists but there are also a lot of hacks. You could contract disease or HIV from a dirty needle. Infections are a real risk. Also as you age and your body changes your tattoo could contort and become something rather ugly.

You don't know where you'll be a year from now, 10 years from now or tomorrow so be careful. Please don't be twisted into feeling it is something you must do.

So if you want a tattoo consider closely what you want to present to people as who you are. If you put a demon on your leg you are giving yourself to satan. A snake is also demonic, remember Satan was a serpent in the garden. If you put a pic of a naked girl on your body you are demeaning all women. If you want to be a human canvass think about what you wish to convey.

All I'm saying is weigh the pros and cons. Choose wisely what you want your life to be. As Bob Dylan once said... Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord But you’re gonna have to serve somebody!!!

Grace and peace be yours!

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