Lately this has been a popular topic of discussion: tattoos. I’ve been asked my opinion on them by a student, but my opinion on the matter is somewhat complicated. So, I decided to write about it. If you have a tattoo, this isn’t a slam against you, so don’t go getting all offended on me.
So, in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, it says:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
This has so many more elements to it than what’s usually discussed. Let’s talk about one word, the most important: Temple.
“Your body is a temple.”
Everytime I hear these verses, the body is referred to as a Holy thing after a person accepts Christ. I like to think of the body as a literal temple, a sturcture built for nothing more than a Holy purpose. If that’s how we’re going to see it, then what does that mean? What do you think when you see a church that’s been graffitied? You think, “Wow. They must not care about their building.” Right? So if our bodies are meant to be Holy places for the Spirit to dwell, what does it mean when we graffiti our bodies? We’re abusing the Holy place where God resides.
What about tattoos that are Bible verses or crosses?
Well, and this is my opinion, if you get a tattoo like this you need to really diagnose your purpose. There a couple of reasons:
Are you getting it for other people?
A lot of times, people get Christian tattoos with an underlying purpose of proving themselves to other people; wanting people to look at them and visually see they are Christians. Maybe you should find another way to exude Christ, because I think this reason abuses the temple.
Are you getting it for you?
I have a plan to get a tattoo. I know…curveball! This plan involves a wrist tattoo in white ink that reads “Hope.” This is for me, and me alone. It’ll be in a place where I can see it everyday, but I can hide it if I need to. It will be to remind me of Madi and to never hesitate in sharing my heart and the Gospel. I don’t think these types of tattoos abuse the temple, but rather honor it. And I’m not just saying that to justify my actions.
It takes a lot to really get to the reasoning behind the desire. I know students where as soon as they turn 18 they run out and get tattoos. Stop. Think about it. I think if over a period of time, you come to the conclusion you’re getting it to glorify God and not to make yourself feel more like a Christian, then you can move to the next step: pray about it.
I don’t think a tattoo is something to be taken lightly. It’s permanent. It costs much more to get removed that it does to get it. And it hurts more to have it lasered off. Your body is not something to be used at your whim. It belongs to the One who created you and gives you breath each day. It houses the Spirit of the Living God. It is His temple, not yours.
What do you think? Do you agree? Disagree? And again, this isn’t against anyone. I have family members with tattoos, so this isn’t my public judgement of you or anything. I have no judgements to offer up. That’s not my place. It’s purely my opinion.
Mad shout out to the two students I had proof read this! (Anthony and Austin! And I feel like I should mention Jake, too. He didn’t read it but those 3 are quite the trio. Can’t mention 2 without the other.)
Listening to: “Hope Now” by Addison Road