Whether it’s a simple black cross on each wrist, a verse about guidance on your left foot or John 3:16 emblazoned across your chest, there’s no denying that Christian tattoos have become popular in recent years. But before you join the masses of inked-up individuals, here are seven good questions to ask yourself before the needle hits the skin:
1. Is it against my conscience?
God has given us a conscience to help us decipher what’s right and what’s wrong. If you’re about to do something and you feel yourself thinking ‘this is wrong’, that’s your conscience. Ignoring your conscience is a very dangerous thing to do. The more you ignore it, the quieter it will get, and the more likely you will be to sin.
2. Should I pay attention to that verse in Leviticus?
There is a verse against tattoos in the Old Testament. Ancient Jews had a heck of a lot of laws, but for good reason. It was because God chose them as the race to whom the Saviour of the world would be born. They’re kind of a big deal. God wanted them to be visibly peculiar, and that meant no tattoos. But we are not Jews in the old Israel, in fact, no one is in the strictest sense. So these verses are there to give us an insight into how God thinks, and to remind us that Jesus was a specific man from a specific race of people. So do pay attention to it!
3. Is it morally right?
How do we know what’s morally right? We look at God’s moral law. They’re summed up in 10 laws (The Ten Commandments). Are we under the law? No! Christians are free from the law because of Jesus. Do we want to follow the law? Yes! Because we love the God who made it.
4. Will it become an idol?
Images are very powerful. If your tattoo’s going to stop God from being number one in your life, scrap it, it isn’t worth it. Our hearts are idol factories, so take care.
5. Is it taking God’s name in vain?
A lot of us are getting Bible verses tattooed onto ourselves, the Bible is God’s holy word. So think about that before you get it painted on your behind! Is this the best place for God’s voice to dwell?
6. Will it look good?
About 99.9 per cent of the tats I see look naff. (That’s mainly because I’m fussy when it comes to aesthetics.) But it’s an important point – this will be there forever, is it pleasing to the eye? I mean really pleasing to the eye?
7. Have you taken the 12-month test?
Get your potential tattoo laid out on a piece of paper, get it looking exactly how you want it to look. Then stick it in a drawer, and don’t look at it for a year. After a full 12 months, take it out, and see if you still like it. If you do, then you know this image has some enduring longevity, you can think about getting it.
This article was originally published for the website Threads.