I received a text the other day from a well-wishing friend. It was a link to a site that condemned tattoos, quoting Leviticus at length as it’s reference. The article stated, among other things, that getting a tattoo, as a believer, was basically creating an inroads for Satan to claim my soul for himself; that I couldn’t possibly be a devoted follower of Christ if I purposefully chose to get a tattoo… She prefaced her text with hoping that I wouldn’t be offended by her speaking ” truth” into my life.
I didn’t judge or condemn my friend, I simply sent her a “thank you” text in response. I read the article she sent me, and the applicable Biblical passage, and I began to dig deeper. Because if I truly took the whole Leviticus passage as literally as she wanted me to take Leviticus 19:28 ( ….don’t tatoo yourselves….), I would also have to do the following things….
*not wear clothing woven from two different materials (19)
*not have sex with a female slave who is engaged to another person, insinuating that slavery is acceptable and Godly (20)
*when I plant a fruit tree, I can’t eat the fruit from the tree for three years, otherwise I’m eating forbidden fruit (23)
*not eat any meat with the blood still in it (26)
*not cut my hair on the sides of my head, or trim my beard (28)
*always stand up in the presence of someone older than me (32)
*always treat a foreigner in my land as native-born, loving him like one of my own (33). Side note…..wow…..what a concept in an election year such as the one we are experiencing now.
Now, I’m not against some of these rules. And I also agree that some tattoos, just like some music people listen to, some clothes people wear, some art people hang, and some shows people watch, are ungodly, and possibly even give an advantage to an evil inroads into one’s life. However, tattoos in and of themselves, are not evil. A piercing is not a sign of the devil. And while clothing can be inappropriate, in and of itself, is rarely “unbiblical”.
And while those of who have loved God for a long time ARE called to reflect Him, and His glory, and our lives SHOULD be different than the world around us, I think that the greatest unspoken testimony we can share is to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly; to allow God to be seen through us by how we interact with the world around us, not by the drawings on our skin.
Because while Leviticus records regulations and restrictions of outward actions as a measure of our loyalty to God, 1 Samuel 16:7 says, ” Man looks at the outward appearance, but God looks the the heart.”
And I wear that heart on my sleeve.
With the etching of each tattoo needle, my story and my journey are a little more revealed, and a little more defined. With each design that takes shape, each word that is inscribed, just exactly HOW God has shown up in the darkest moments of my life, and brought laughter to my soul at joy-filled moments, is a bit more displayed for the world to see. And when I’m asked about my tattoos, which is often the case, I can purposefully, and proactively, speak to the ever-present promises that God has revealed Himself through, as I’ve journeyed through my life. The Israelites had Memory Stones to commemorate significant events of their lives, I have my tattoos. Take away all other forms of remembrance, and give me ink on my fair-freckled skin. Take away all other forms of gods to worship, just give me my tattoo-scarred, nail-driven, Jesus.
Join me as I journey through my life, via the various clues of my tattoos, in my next few posts.