Thursday, February 13, 2014

Think Before You Ink

As I sat in front of close to three hundred young men, I quickly glanced over the stack of papers filled with questions for the Q&A session. In my opening remarks I let everyone know that I did not have all the answers. In fact, I informed them that I too, have many questions about life that have not been answered yet. With that I assured them I would do my best to answer all the questions I was given from a  biblical perspective. One of the questions that came up had to do with tattoos. "Is it wrong for a Christian to get a tattoo?" 
When I was growing up tattoos were certainly not as popular as they are today. Nor were people as talented with the artistic designs as they are nowadays. Growing up I never thought about getting one. It seemed in my generation, only bikers and sailors had them. But now you see not only young people and athletes getting tattoos, but even grandmas are getting some fresh ink on their feet or wrists. 
There are some who feel strongly that is biblically wrong to get a tattoo. The proof text that they turn to is found in Leviticus 19:28 You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you, I am the Lord. In the context Moses was referring to a pagan marking of your body for the dead not tattoos as we have them today. So let me give you my perspective. 

1. Personally I do not have any tattoos, nor do I plan on ever getting any. I choose not to get one, NOT because I think I am more spiritual in any way, nor do I feel that it is sinful to have one. I have no problem with tattoos on other people. I know many amazing believers and even pastors who have scriptures,crosses,pictures, greek words, hebrew letters, that mean something to them. I minister to people regularly who have tattoos and I don't look at them any differently, I honestly don't even think about it, until I was asked this question at the Q&;A. But for me, I exercise my liberty not to get a tattoo. 

2. Now listen, if you are young person living in your parents home, and your folks tell you not to get one, then it is important that you "honor your father and mother" and refrain from getting one. If you feel later on life when your on your own, that you want to do that, that is between you and the Lord. 

But let me share a few considerations before you put on that permanent marking in order that you may be confident in what you decide to do. 

First of all there were many things as a younger man I thought were really cool, but so many of those same things I do not think are cool any longer. And for that matter neither  does anyone else. ;-)
Its a funny thing getting older, your perspective changes. But not only does your perspective change, but your body WILL CHANGE. 
I have known guys that got a barbwire tattoo around their bicep when they were lifting weights 15 years ago, but the barbwire doesn't look as awesome now because they are not able to put up the big iron any more. You may get tweedy bird tattooed on yourself early in life, but as you grow in different areas and change, it looks like "Big Bird".  Having said all of that let me end with this word. Before you put that permanent, unremovable mark, that will be with you till death or Jesus comes again, take some time to pray. Ask the Lord what He thinks. And if He gives you the green light then get the green ink. If you don't have peace about it, then wait. 

Remember this, "THINK BEFORE YOU INK."