During my younger years I was repulsed by the appearance of the heathen people of uncivilized countries because of their practice of painting and piercing of their bodies. Some were so grotesque I cringed just looking at them. The time came in my young adult life that guys began wearing necklaces. Although it was considered ‘cool’, this practice was in my opinion, feminizing men. I was ignorant of God’s Word stating that a woman should not wear that which pertaineth unto a man. It would have seemed the opposite would also be true, that a man should not wear that which pertained unto a woman, like necklaces. When the practice of men piercing their ears evolved, it originally seem to be a mark of one being a homosexual, especially if the earring was worn in the right ear lobe. Well, the practice hit the hollywood crowd and spread like Molasses Flood of 1919, corrupting everything in its path. For shame, for shame. Why would anyone want to emulate a heathen hollywood inhabitant? Alas, this practice no longer elicited the stares, glares and dares of society so the young and rebellious took up another heathen practice, body painting.
My Dad served in WWII. During his enlistment he and many of his comrades received a tattoo on their lower right arm. I always associated this tattoo as a mark of his patriotism and service to his country. The motive for being tattooed was honorable in the respect that it was done because these men were proud to be serving their country. It represented a conviction of sorts. I do not ever remember a lady getting a tattoo! Well times have certainly changed in regards to skin painting. Today, it is a cultural fad, one that actually has its roots in witchcraft!
Many of todays youth look at taboos as asserting their independence and rejection of parental authority. Others cave into peer pressure or just want to be stylish. Recently, my second grandson succumbed not only to the ear-piercing but also to getting a tattoo. Fortunately the tattoo is not visible when he is wearing a shirt. He had no problem in discerning that his grandmother was not happy. Even though I was not able to see the tattoo, I know it is there and so does God. Thus, it became my quest to search the scriptures and learn what God thought about body piercings and painting.
Actually, God has addressed both of these practices in His Word. In Leviticus 19:28. God states that ‘Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.’ Even though this is found in the Old Testament, we need to remind ourselves that “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction., for instruction in righteousness.” 2 Tim 3:16. Therefore because we have been instructed by God himself that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost…..we are to glorify God in our bodies and in our spirit, which are actually Gods!
As stated in God’s Word, body piercing and body painting were practices of the heathen in regards to the burial of their dead. Their belief was that by cutting themselves and disfiguring their bodies, the anger of their gods would be appeased. This is the abomination that God was referring to in Leviticus 19. Historians have recorded that in some areas of our uncivilized world these rituals are still being conducted. Since this is the case and God has commanded His people not to participate in such things then we need to please and honor Him in abstaining from body piercing and tattooing. In 2 Corinthians 6:17 we are commanded to come out from among them and be ye separate. We are to be a peculiar people to our Heavenly Father.
Consideration also needs to be given to a growing number of health problems being associated with tattooing. The major concern is the spread of hepatitis C and the aids virus from multiple tattooing and unsanitary needles. Should one have their tattoo surgically removed, there is not only the residual scarring but also the possibility of infection from the potential cellulitis.
In conclusion, we need to be cautious in not judging the brethren who sport tattoo’s These folk can still be used by God even though their appearance may be a stumbling block to some. Oftentimes these body paintings were acquired prior to the salvation of the individual. In that regard, it would be good to caution our young people to consider what King Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes 7:8 “Better is the end of a thing then the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit” In other words, it would behoove any one considering a tattoo to reflect on their feelings in about 10 or so years. Many folk end up regretting the foolishness of their youth in this area of tattooing.