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Are Tattoos Okay For Christians?

by Annagail Lynes  
11/23/2007 / Christian Living

Should Christians get tattoos?

Tattoos are everywhere these days. It used to be that we would only see tattoos on sailors, service men and bikers.

Now every one seems to have them from politicians to teachers, from rock stars to celebrities. These days tattoos are the fashionable thing to do because they have been forbidden for so long.

We see young preachers with tattoos of crosses and Jesus, who call it a witnessing tool.

No matter what the tattoo depicts it is still a tattoo. Someone still had to take a needle and use ink to draw on our bodies.

The world is full of people who have these markings on their arms, backs, faces, legs and many other unmentionable places. The Believers have joined the bandwagon, thinking it is cool and that everyone is doing it.

We, as Believers, are not to be conformed to this world (Romans 12:1-2).

We are not to be conformed to their way of thinking. Not about fashion. Not about sports. Not about politics. Not about tattoos. Not about anything.

We are not to be followers but leaders. We are not to follow trends but be trend setters.

Even to Believers, God's ways of thinking and doing things seem backwards. They aren't, but we don't understand God's ways.

Instead we automatically do what we see our favorite celebrity doing. What everyone else is doing.

We are called to be separate from the world. We are called to be different.

More and more, though, the church and the people of God are looking like the world in their speech, dress and activities.

If we look like carbon copies of the them, how will the world tell what God has done in our lives?

We are not to be conformed to what the world is doing. We need to do things according to the Word of the Most High God--the Bible.

What does the Bible say about tattoos?

It says we shouldn't mark or cut our bodies (Leviticus 19:28).

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost (I Corinthians 6:19). It is where the Holy Spirit lives (Romans 8:9).

Just as we wouldn't defile or mark on the outside of a church building, we shouldn't mark the outside of the real temple of the Holy Spirit--us.

Imagine all the ways, though, that we do defile the temple of the Holy Spirit through what we say, think and put into our bodies. Not to mention what we do to them when we do drugs, drink to excess or are promiscuous.

When we conform to the world, to their fashion, to their movies and their way of thinking, our boundaries between right and wrong become blurred.

Little by little, we move the line of what used to be right and wrong just a little further into their territory.

Now we are watching things we used to think were wrong. We are listening to music we used to object to. We are doing things that we would have never done before. The boundaries between right and wrong are harder to distinguish.

We have to pay attention to what we are watching, what we are reading, what we are listening to, who we are hanging around. These factors will determine what our life will be like and whether our boundaries will be blurred.

We need to use the Bible as our moral compass. It should be the final authority in our lives. What it says is the final answer. Learn to follow its direction.

When we get a tattoo, some consequences can occur. If we don't go to a reputable place, we can be injected by a dirty needle. We can be infected with AIDS or hepatitis. The tattoo could get infected. We could be allergic to the ink they use in the tattoo.

Once we are tattooed, we have ink flowing through our blood. Even if we have it removed, we will still have a flesh outline of where the tattoo once was, and we will still have ink in our blood.

If we want to be in a professional job, or any job dealing with the public, we will have to wear clothes that cover up the tattoo(s). Jobs of this nature require it.

We are called to be salt (Matthew 5:13) and light (Matthew 5:14) to a dying world, and we are called to be an example to them. We must show them that godly living--good, clean living--can be prosperous and fun.

They must see something different about us--about the way we act, talk, walk and conduct ourselves. We need to let God shine through us.

We are God's ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20) to the world, who are craving and seeking something that will fill the void in their lives. We are to be that light. The example that brings them into God's kingdom.

Annagail Lynes is a pharmacy technician, certified life coach and ordained minister. She is helping people move forward after trauma by helping them discover their purpose. Follow her blog at

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