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Can a Christian Youth Have a Tattoo

by osilama aliu  
1/20/2007 / Legal

Can A Christian Youth Have A Tattoo?
Getting a tattoo has become a very popular thing to do lately, and many Christian teenagers are trying to decide if they should get a tattoo or not. This article will help you to think through the scriptures on tattoos, and give you some reasons that you should or should not get a tattoo.
Let's begin with Biblical scriptures on the issue of tattoos:
Many Christians will quote Leviticus 19:28 when stating that Christians should never receive a tattoo: "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord." - Leviticus 19:28
However, it is interesting to note what other verses in Leviticus 19 say:
Verse 9: "When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field or gather the gleanings of your harvest." Verse 19: "Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material." Verse 26: "Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it." Verse 27: "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard." Verse 28: "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the Lord."
As you can see, many of the other rules that are laid out in Leviticus are not followed today. Does that mean that the whole book of Leviticus, or even the Bible should not be followed? No! It just means that we need to carefully analyze what the theme of the Bible is, and realize what it means for us today.
The book of Leviticus contained several laws that were made to keep the children of Israel healthy and holy for God. Tattoos in those days were extremely dangerous and could result in injury, disease, or death. The verse also is referring to a pagan ritual of putting tattoo marks on oneself for the dead, in order to protect oneself from the spirit world and the wrath of other gods.
We now are under a new covenant where Christ's sacrifice covers our sins in a different way than the old Levitical laws did, which is seen in the letter to Hebrews which states: "But the ministry Jesus has received is as superior to theirs as the covenant of which he is mediator is superior to the old one, and it is founded on better promises. For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another." Hebrews 8:6-7 (NIV).
Now, this does not give us license to do whatever we please. We are still responsible for our behavior and how it affects our spiritual lives and the lives of others. For example, the letter to the Romans states: "Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother to fall." -Romans 14:20-21. (NIV).
From this we can see that it is important to think carefully through all of the effects that getting a tattoo can have on oneself, on our relationships, and on one's future. For some this may mean that getting a tattoo will increase their ability to witness to others, while in other communities having a tattoo would greatly diminish this ability.
The conclusion then is that there may not be an answer to "Should Christians get tattoos?" Each of us may have to answer this question for ourselves after taking time to think and pray about it. But, let us also be careful as Christians to not shun those who have tattoos, or make the blanket statement that they can't be a Christian because they have a tattoo. To do this would be "destroy the work of God" instead of taking our time to reach the lost.
Osilama Aliu.

Osilama, Aliu, Born 21 years ago on Friday 23 May 1986 to the family of Deacon and Deaconess Frank. O. Aliu, has a knack for writing, he is a member of the Publications Department of his Local Church.

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