Monday, June 16, 2008

Leviticus 19:28 Is it a sin to have a tattoo? If I have one should I get it removed? What about Christian tattoos?

The text says, “Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves.”

The New Bible Commentary says: The main focus of most of this section is to exclude rites and practices associated with pagan, Canaanite religion, particularly those which were physically or morally disfiguring. Abuse of the body in the name of religion is a widespread human aberration. The OT, with its high view of the view of the body as a part of God’s creation, disallowed it. The NT reinforces the principle with the assertion that the Christian’s body is a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20)

This prohibition was in a list that was intended to make Israel distinct as God’s people while being surrounded by pagan peoples. As it was written here, this specific prohibition does not apply today. That being said, if you are a minor and your parents do not want you to get a tattoo—then you can not get one. Wisdom also plays a big role. If your spouse does not want you to get a tattoo, then you should not. I would also add that we all need to be very careful about doing anything that will permanently change our bodies.

Our goal as followers of Jesus is to represent him well to the world. If you have a tattoo that is offensive and keeps you from representing Him well to others or is dishonoring to God, you need to have it removed or changed (e.g. character with the middle finger extended, swastika, any anti-God slogan, etc.)