When I was younger I would see a lot of fair skinned people with tattoos and I always thought that they looked so cool. The fact that their skin was light enough to make the colors stand out, so well, made me desire a tattoo. As I got older I started to listen to a lot of Heavy metal, and I loved the music so much that I started to dress like the artists that I watched; all black, skinny jeans etc. I even started growing my hair out because I wanted to look like them.
Then the reality of how I look sank in. I realized that my skin was a lot darker than theirs and my hair was not as silky as theirs. So my desire to get a tattoo died. I thought, “If I could not look as cool as them then why do it”. A couple of years later I gave my life to Christ and in an attempt to give up what many people call “devil music”, (Heavy Metal) I came across a band called “For Today”. It was amazing! I found a band that was extremely heavy and said the name of Jesus explicitly in most their music. In their Albums “Portraits” eighty percent of the song titles are biblical names. What was even more interest was that frontman for the band “For Today” was a black man named Mattie Montgomery. For the first time in my life, I saw an artist for the music I loved that looked like me and loved Jesus. What was even cooler is that he had a lot of tattoos. It was at that point when I desired to get a tattoo again.
Then I ended up in an extremely conservative Fundamental Baptist Church. Where everyone was white and essentially believed everything that I enjoyed was of the devil; the fact that I had long dreads, that I used dating sites to meet Christian women, and the fact that I listened to heavy metal, all evil. Over time, I started to believe the things I was doing were wrong, which, led to me to give up the music I loved again. Naturally, this also led to me losing my desire to get a tattoo since the desire re-awakened after getting into Christian Metal.
Then one day I thought, “Let me look at what the bible really has to say about Tattoos.” I was told by a lot of my conservative, brothers and sisters in Christ, that “you shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.” (Leviticus 19: 28 NASB) and then I searched up the passage to see if it’s true and lo and behold it was true that the bible did indeed say this. I was very saddened by this because I thought why does it matter to God if we get tattoos. But then I realized something! According to Galatians 3: 24, 25, those who are in Christ are no longer under the Mosaic Law, which, Leviticus falls under. Not only that, but more hypocritically, we see that verse 27 which is connected to the passage concerning tattoos, in Leviticus, says that those who read this law and choose to adhere to those rules, should also refrain from cutting their hair or their beards. So why is it wrong to get tattoos but it’s okay to get a haircut, conservatives? Just thought I’d add that.
From hypocrisy, we go to dishonesty. We often hear a very popular passage quoted to speak against tattoos and that passage is in; 1st Corinthian’s 6 where Paul charges the Corinthian church to abstain from fornication because our bodies are the “temple of the living God”. Notice that Paul’s words are in direct disapproval of fornication, right? But many conservatives use that passage to address tattoos being sinful. The only other time Paul uses this language “your bodies are the temple of the living God” is 1st Corinthians 3: 16, 17 and based on the context, Paul seems to be addressing doctrine that is contrary to the doctrine of Christ; also known as false doctrine. And the sad fact is we never hear that passage used to address the real issue of sexual immorality or false doctrines. Yet, we have a culture of Christians growing up with the belief that Tattoos are forbidden because of those two passages of scripture used entirely out of context.
My desire to get a tattoo returned after my research, at this point, however, I am trying to find the right things to get tattooed like my wife’s name or a favorite bible verse. Nevertheless, the existence of dishonest Christians became very real to me because of the time I spent researching, whether or not the bible truly prohibits tattoos. All in all, the blessing that is evident for me is that I was able to choose freely when to get a tattoo, due to my desire to know for myself, what God had to say, in his word, concerning tattoos. My hope is that those who have similar encounters with a different generation of Christians will do the same. Search the scriptures, in them, are eternal life and the proper direction for life.
~~ The mark of man condemns but the mark of God edifies