One Wednesday night, I was wandering through the church during youth group, and a small group of guys were in the midst of an interesting powwow, to which they tried to pull me in:
“Hey Pastor, what do you think of tattoos?”
I made some semi-funny (at least to me) remark, and then scooted out the door. But that turned out to be one of the many moments in life that I wished to have back, and upon reading this article on the booming tattoo removal industry, it seemed like now might be a ripe opportunity to make some comments.
I’ve personally never been tempted to get a tattoo, but then again, they weren’t popular in my day, and stats now tell a different story:
“According to the Pew Research Center, more than 40 percent of Americans between the ages of 26 and 40 have at least one tattoo. Getting a tattoo, once the province of sailors rather than suburbanites, is so mainstream that tats are inked at the mall and seen on everyone from Middle American mothers to H Street hipsters to Hollywood starlets.”
I’ve talked about this topic on and off again with my kids – my word to them has always been that you can love God and get a tattoo – I never want to needlessly create a Romans 7 rebellion; but I have always advised against it, because the image you love today may be the image you hate, or at least, couldn’t care less about, tomorrow.
So the potential of deep regret – not a Bible verse – has always been the driving force behind my advice to hold off on the ink, and I’m wondering if any of you have stories of tattoo regret, or perhaps you would like to fill me in on plans for your up and coming tat?
December 18, 2011 at 8:17 am
Lev 19:28 “You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I [am] the LORD.”
Yep, I’m that guy. I’m aware that this portion of scripture deals primarily with separating the Hebrews from the pagan culture surrounding them and the pagan rituals. Does that principle still apply today? And when scripture is silent or unclear, how do we make decisions? For the youth group kids they need to consider: is this something that glorifies God? is it something that are they legally allowed to get a tattoo? do their parents approve? Is this money better invested in something else? This final question is my go to question that I kill myself with – is this gadget more important than supporting a WorldVision kid? (or any other ministry).
I just keep thinking about the old axiom: “do I want to be the last guy at Starbucks without one?” Trends and fads go away, the culture changes and as do styles and cultural attitudes. A tattoo is trendy and popular, but much more permanent than a hemp jacket or Ray-bans.
Understand that I’m a hypocrite and a modern day pharisee – I’m fully self-aware of that. However I believe the bottom line here is you have to do some spiritual gymnastics to justify a tattoo and therefore they should be avoided.
December 18, 2011 at 4:58 pm
Always told my 3 kids that what looks fine at 20 will look pretty dull and pathetic at 70 or 80.
December 19, 2011 at 5:45 pm
I guess it is like fashion, you may love it now but….do you want to wear it the rest of your life???Look at hair styles….nobody wants to look 20 years out of date.That WILL happen with tattoos and piercings. Young people; go into cosmetic surgery…it is a sure thing.
December 20, 2011 at 10:22 am
Cosmetic surgery, a.k.a. tattoo removal, does look like a great career choice.