Pedro deployed eight times to the Middle East with the military. He suffered terrible injury and saw many of those he served with endure much affliction. As a senior police chief he has decades of experience dealing with criminals, outcasts of society and people in desperate need of help. During one of his deployments, his wife Melinda earned a degree in Laser Sciences. She suggested that they start a tattoo removal business.
According to the Pew Center, 45 million Americans have tattoos—40% of adults aged between 26 and 40. Thirty percent say the tattoo makes them feel sexier while another 30% say they feel more rebellious.Knowing that their business could open up opportunities to minister to a growing population, Pedro and Melinda spent over $300,000 of their own money plus loans to open Rosario Skin Care. Joyfully they help those who enter their clinic proclaiming “Take off my tattoo!” While their technicians work it is not uncommon for their clients to unburden themselves with guilt and pain often depicted in their art. Many people have come to know Jesus as a result!
Leviticus 19:28—You are not to make gashes on your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves; I am Yahweh.
Author Greg Koukl in his article “How Does the Old Testament Law Apply to Christians Today?” wrote, “The Mosaic law included universal moral rules and rules that were limited to the nation who lived under that contract. We have to distinguish between these as we consider how we relate to the Mosaic covenant now.” We are obligated to God’s universal laws which are reinforced in the New Testament—don’t commit adultery, lie, steal, murder, etc., but we are not obligated to laws specifically written for the Jews.
So why exactly did God forbid tattoos? In reflecting on this, several thoughts come to mind. First, we are made in the image of our holy God (Genesis 1:27). By not marking themselves, the Jews identified with their Maker and were distinct from all the other nations who gashed themselves for purposes of idol worship, servitude, or vain proclamations. How many tattoos have you seen that glorify God?
Second, tattoos create a low-grade infection. The body fights the tattoo ink as a foreign invader. Not only is this an unwise move from a health standpoint (hepatitis or HIV can also be contracted from unsterilized needles), over time ink deteriorates becoming unsightly. Third, tattoos often are applied when something is valued or a message is proclaimed that eventually loses truth or significance. For example, if I put “I Love Sue” with a heart on my arm and later break up with her, I display an embarrassing message. Pedro shared that they have treated skinheads who became Christians and then needed to remove messages of hate or symbols of sick ideology. (The number 88 represents the 8th letter of the alphabet twice, HH—Heil Hitler).
While I have no desire to mark myself permanently with ink, my purpose in writing this is not to judge those who do. If you are led to display a message, that is between you and the Lord. What is important is that we are surrounded by people who live with regrets. If given the opportunity we can offer them a solution for tattoo removal and even greater, invite them to meet the One who gives us peace, hope and eternal life!
What are my motives for wanting a tattoo? Am I seeking to glorify God or draw attention to myself? Will my tattoo be a source of contention for my loved ones? Will getting a tattoo cause me to disobey my parents? Will my tattoo cause someone who is weak in the faith to stumble?—Mary Fairchild
©2015 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)