Thursday, February 24, 2011

Facebook, Fads, Tattoos and Piercings

Some people hate face book and others love it. I personally love the connection we can have with others even though we don't live in the same country, state, or sometimes neighborhoods. Facebook itself is like it's own neighborhood.

You can celebrate a birthday, let a friend know you are thinking of them, encourage others, receive encouragement, discuss questions, and stay up to date with family.

Today, I love the question brought up by my friend Rebekah...
What is the biblical view on tattoos and piercings? Not your personal opinion, but what does the Bible say? When considering how we live out what we believe, my 9th grade girls want to know how to view these types of questions so they are not a stumbling block to others.
This one Facebook post has created a conversation among many. It prompts us to look deeper than our own thought and to really seek what God has to say. It is seeking brothers and sisters in Christ, whether student or parent, to dig into His word to see what He says on this topic. THIS is what we need to do more often with our teens. Not just dictate an answer, not that there aren't times to do so, but to teach them we are all stilling learning and growing in Christ together.

I was immediately drawn back to author Tim Kimmel and his response on the subject. Tim is the author of "Grace Based Parenting". It is one of our favorite books on parenting. He has an entire chapter on the Freedom to be Different. In that chapter he discusses the difference in fad and fashions, which will inevitably bring up tattoos and piercings.

He points out that in Leviticus 19:28 "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourself. I am the Lord.", is referring to tattoos that identify a person with pagan deity or pagan practice. We take this verse out of context when it isn't referring to all tattoos, it is talking about specific-type of tattoos to pagan gods. Does scripture have something to say about a satanic symbol, YES. This verse doesn't necessarily forbid the tattoo of John 3:16.

Does this mean we allow our children to get a tattoo? Not at this time. Does it mean we would forbid it forever? Not necessarily.

Again I will quote Tim Kimmel when he shares his discussion with his kids.
I'm glad we can talk about tattoos because these days, tattoos are very popular. But they are also a fad. Because they are a fad, and because they must be painfully applied, leave a permanent mark, and can be removed only through an expensive and painful procedure, I'd rather you not get one. There is a great principle that says, 'Never sacrifice the permanent on the altar of the immediate.' what you might think is a great idea now many not look so great a couple of years - twenty years-from now. But you'll be stuck with it. Also, a tattoo could affect some of your career options, both short term and long term. And the bigger issue is that the Bible says if you get married, your body doesn't belong to you but is the property of your spouse as in 1 Corinthians 7:4. Since there is a strong likelihood that you will be married, you ought to wait to see if a tattoo is okay with your spouse. Regardless of any of these issues, your mother and I are assigned the financial responsibility for the upkeep of your body. Until you are completely financing yourself, we'd prefer you defer to our wishes on this. Once you are on your own, if you want to get the map of downtown Phoenix tattooed on your face, it will be completely your call."
We should be having more discussions with our teens than just a flat NO. Now is our chance to dig in and learn together what God's word says. Then it is our responsibility as a parent to guide our teens into wise decision making. And that will often be a process, a type of letting the rope out and drawing it back in, as we let them make some decisions on their own, some we ask they defer to us, and others we process and learn together.

Next time your child wants to follow a fad, what are you going to do?
  • Is it a biblical or moral issue?
  • Is it a practical or financial issue?
  • Is it a personal issue with you or them?


  1. great thought...

  2. OK, so I come from a different perspective as I am a tattooed mama (and yes, b/c in college days I practiced a different religion, I actually have a large tattoo of an idol(that I can cover...thankfully!). I must tell you that the many tattoos that I have are actually a SHAME to me. Before we wore totally modest dress, I was in a constant state of worry about if the tattoos would be seen. I suppose I can be somewhat thankful for this as now my children can see the shame and embarrassment that I feel, and they know how hard I used to work to cover them. They also see that it is too expensive to get them removed, and that mom is stuck with a false god on her arm that the Lord will have to remove when I meet Him. They have seen me repent towards the Lord and turn from worldy ways, and I suppose that this would be the ONE AND ONLY reason that I can still be glad that I have them(for the kids to learn a lesson).....otherswise, I hope that NOBODY but my spouse ever lays eyes on them again! :) Oh if I could reverse time and keep my body a holy and uncorrupted temple for the Lord...I would surely do it! So I must share and say...while the realistic side of me knows that these are discussions we must have with our children in this day and age because it is a different time than it used to be and these are popular fads...the experience in me wants to shake them and say NO NO NO YOU WILL NEVER EVER DO THAT TO YOURSELF!! OVER MY DEAD BODY!!! LOL!!!! ....--S

  3. I am thrilled that you included a response to the Leviticus passage, I can count numerous times I've been in a service and a pastor has used that passage... however, I've never been in a service where the following verse was included, which calls men to never cut their beards or trim the sides of their hair, we love to pick and choose don't we? I would challenge the idea that a form of artwork is a fad, I would also challenge the idea that our body being a temple of God includes whether or not we have the "christian look" in our appearance. If anything I would say that Christians today lack self expression and concern themselves more than anything with what other church members think. We are not called to appeal to other christians, we have created our own dress code, and it causes the rest of the world to turn away from what God has to offer them through us. Tattooing is a form of art, and it's up to the artist to choose whether or not they will glorify God through that medium. Take photography for example, it can be used to capture moments that bring glory to God in a way that Christians and non-Christians can clearly see. Or photography can be degrading and sinful in the form of pornography. It's not the photography that is wrong, it's how it's being used. Each of my tattoos has a story and each one points me back to who I am in Christ... I am constantly asked about them, and get the opportunity to share Christ with complete strangers that are initiating conversation with me. I laugh about how God used one of my tattoos beyond my own intentions for it, it's the word hupomeno which is a greek work for "perseverance: to hold fast to one's faith in Christ" and comes from James 1. I got it because I had lost my job and my wife and I had been going through struggle after struggle, but I had no idea what was ahead when I got the tattoo... God used that word and showed me my need for him when two months later we found out that our baby in the womb, Hadley Jane, wasn't going to live for much more than an hour. I held fast to my faith in Christ, day in and day out, even though it was incredibly difficult. God knew what was ahead and worked through the "fad" to challenge who I was as a child of God.