Leviticus 19:28 states, "You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the LORD." However, this served as part of the Mosaic Law and is not directly applicable to Christians today. As a background, please read our article on "Is getting a tattoo a sin?". Aside from the general issue of tattoos, many wonder if tattoos of a Christian nature are okay.
Are tattoos okay if they are Christian in nature?
First Corinthians 10:23-24 notes, "'All things are lawful,' but not all things are helpful. 'All things are lawful,' but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor." Scripture may permit Christians to get a tattoo consistent with his or her faith, but we must also ask if it is beneficial.
In addressing whether a Christian tattoo is beneficial, several considerations can be made. First, is getting a Christian tattoo good stewardship of a person's money?
Second, even if money is not a limiting factor, is getting a Christian-themed tattoo such as a cross helpful in witnessing to others or to help believers grow in their faith? In other words, it is not enough to ask, "Should I get a tattoo?" A biblical approach is also concerned with whether getting a tattoo will help you become more effective in serving God and others.
Third, it is important to address motives related to getting a tattoo. Is the motivation simply to fit in with a certain group of people? Is it an act of rebellion against a strict upbringing? Is getting a tattoo an attempt to create a new identity that may be different from God's best for your life? Through prayer, reflecting on Scripture, and wise counsel from others, you can help determine if this is something God is leading you to do or whether it's something you simply want at the moment.
On another note, there are some individuals who get tattoos out of some addictive type of behavior. As soon as one tattoo is completed, the person begins saving up and preparing for the next tattoo. If this is the case in your life, pause to consider the reasons for this behavior. God certainly desires for you to focus your desires on Him and His will rather than on the next tattoo.
Again, while a Christian-themed tattoo is not evil, a tattoo is a decision that will impact your body for the rest of your life. Therefore, it is not to be considered lightly. Instead, take time to pray and consider whether this is part of God's plan for your life. God may truly lead some believers to do so. However, in many cases other motivations are at work. By taking time to consider the reasons behind wanting a tattoo, you can make a wise choice on this issue.
As for those who do have tattoos, Scripture also offers important insight. Romans 14:4 teaches, "Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand." We usually do not know the story behind why a person has a tattoo. Instead of passing judgment, we are to show love and help others grow in Christ. In this case, we can let God address the issue of the person's tattoos.
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