Is it Conforming, Or is it Molding?
Part 3: Tattoos
Through your experiences with talking to lost people about Christianity, what are some of their biggest excuses to not wanting to be apart of it? Is it that they think they’re a good person? Do they say it’s just not for them? Or maybe they even say that Christianity is just a religion filled with a bunch of hypocrites? Through my experience talking to non-Christians, I’ve found that they’re biggest turn-off to Christianity is this: “Christianity is just a bunch of do and do not rules and I don’t want any part of it.”
These people have a point. We as Christians tend to make Christianity about what we should and should not do when that’s not the case. Christianity is much more than some judicial system and The Bible is much more then some “book of laws.” Not only do we make Christianity mostly about laws, we also misinterpreted those laws or we use laws that do not apply anymore.
Christians, especially in this generation, are starting to want tattoos more and more and some Christians, particularly in generations past, find this totally unacceptable saying that we are “conforming” too much to the world. And their main excuse is, “God says in the bible tattoos are bad!” And yes He did, but let’s take a closer look at some things.
· You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord. - Leviticus 19:28
Now people would say, “See! The bible says it right there!” Ok, now let’s see what the rest of the chapter has to say.
· “You shall keep my statutes. You shall not let your cattle breed with a different kind. You shall not sow your field with two kinds of seed, nor shall you wear a garment of cloth made of two kinds of material.
“If a man lies sexually with a woman who is a slave, assigned to another man and not yet ransomed or given her freedom, a distinction shall be made. They shall not be put to death, because she was not free; but he shall bring his compensation to the Lord, to the entrance of the tent of meeting, a ram for a guilt offering. And the priest shall make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering before the Lord for his sin that he has committed, and he shall be forgiven for the sin that he has committed.
“When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden. Three years it shall be forbidden to you; it must not be eaten. And in the fourth year all its fruit shall be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. But in the fifth year you may eat of its fruit, to increase its yield for you: I am the Lord your God.“You shall not eat any flesh with the blood in it. You shall not interpret omens or tell fortunes. You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard. You shall not make any cuts on your body for the dead or tattoo yourselves: I am the Lord.“Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, lest the land fall into prostitution and the land become full of depravity. You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord.“Do not turn to mediums or necromancers; do not seek them out, and so make yourselves unclean by them: I am the Lord your God.“You shall stand up before the gray head and honor the face of an old man, and you shall fear your God: I am the Lord.“When a stranger sojourns with you in your land, you shall not do him wrong. You shall treat the stranger who sojourns with you as the native among you, and you shall love him as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.“You shall do no wrong in judgment, in measures of length or weight or quantity. You shall have just balances, just weights, a just ephah, and a just hin: I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt. And you shall observe all my statutes and all my rules, and do them: I am the Lord.” - Leviticus 19:19-37
Now with all of that being said, what else are we doing, and not doing, that God was speaking on?
1. Wearing combined fabrics
2. Waiting three years before you eat a fruit off of a tree
3. Eating rare meat
4. Treating a stranger wrong
5. Cheating someone out
The list goes on and on.
Now let me say something about the law. The purpose of the law was a tool used by God to measure His expectations for us. With that being said, we obviously cannot keep all of these laws (read the rest of Leviticus and you will see this). So God had to send a sacrifice to save us from our sins because God desires to have a relationship with us and the only way He could do that was, not by making more laws or taking away some, but was to fulfill the law using Jesus. Jesus lived a perfect life, which fulfilled the law, and then He died on the cross and rose from the grave so that we can experience the love of Christ and salvation.
If we look back at the verses above, we can see that these laws are very extreme. The good thing though, is that these laws, because of the sacrifice of Christ on the cross, no longer bind us. God now allows us to have a personal relationship with Him through Jesus’s death, which grants us freedom from this law.
Some people also use this verse:
· 19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, 20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The fact is that, these verses aren’t about tattoos at all. People take this verse out of contact all the time. This verses (if you actually read the full chapter), is about sexual immorality and reframing from it.
Now, what I’m not saying is that we have a “Get out of Hell free card,” and can do whatever we want. What I am saying though, is that Christianity is no longer a list of dos and don’ts, it is a relationship with a God who sent His son to die for us because He loves us, and wants to build a relationship with us. Be encouraged by that and feel loved with that reality of what God did for us and what He wants of us!
Keep the faith,
"Justin Hatton is a guitarist in the band called I Shot The Albatross and has his own blog where he talks about many Christian related topics whether it's church growth, or the growth in one's self in general. This post is part 3 of a series called "Is it Conforming, or is it Molding?" talking about how many people in today's Christian culture see certain things as "conforming" to the world when it's actually "molding" to the world. For more articles by Justin, check out his blog!"