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UCGia Bible Insights Thursday, August 20 2020

Think before you ink

We often make decisions on the spur of the moment, based on our emotions at the time or peer pressure, without considering how our decisions will affect us in our daily lives --- now and in the future.

by Janet Treadway

Currently tattoos are viewed in a more favourable light compared to a few years ago when, according to a survey in London’s Daily Mail, as many as 50% regretted their decision to get a tattoo (Naomi Greenaway, “Do You Regret Your Tattoo? One in Six People Hate Theirs and 50% Regret Getting Inked Because It Makes Them Look Common,” April 1, 2014).

We all know that fashion changes. With that in mind some obvious questions to ask yourself before getting a tattoo is will you regret the decision later on, will it be worth the cost and pain to remove it and does it affect the image you want to present.

In the same article quoted above author, Naomi Greenaway, names several celebrities who now regret their decision to get a tattoo. Dr. Andrew Timming of St. Andrews University School of Management interviewed recruiters in 14 organizations, including a hotel, bank, city council, prison, university and bookseller, to get a broad view of their opinions on tattoos. He found that most respondents agreed that visible tattoos can sometimes be viewed as a stigma. A third of those surveyed said they would be less likely to date someone with prominent tattoos.

Christians should also ask themselves if tattooing reflects God and His values given the instruction God gave the ancient Israelites 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.” This instruction was mainly targeting tattoos and marks on the body related to worshipping idols and false gods, but it should still be taken into account when considering whether to permanently mark your body.

The apostle Paul reminds us that our body is meant to be the temple of God’s Spirit and that we are to glorify God in our body (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). Our worship of and service to God are far more important than anything else we do, and our appearance should reflect that.

However, if you have already got one or more tattoos you shouldn’t feel you have to have them removed to have a committed relationship with God--- although they should be covered or removed if they promote something offensive or vulgar. The advice in this article is aimed at those who might be thinking about getting tattoos and isn’t meant to condemn those who already have them.