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August 29, 2011 / joelmalm

The Problem with Tattoos

I have a friend who is regularly complaining about his inability to get ahead.  He blames society for being un-accepting.  If he continues on his current path of bodily destruction he will soon have ears bigger than an elephant. If he had the money he would probably cover the rest of his epidermis with ink.  All for an image.

Now hear me out – I’m all for self-expression.  I think you should be allowed to express yourself however you want. Man looks on the outward, but God looks at the heart. (1 Sam. 16:7)  That’s precisely my point – man DOES look on the outward.  You may be a great person, but they aren’t going to see it if they are put off by your outward appearance.

You can’t complain when you find your sphere of potential influence severely diminished because you’ve chosen to fight “the man” and look different.

The Apostle Paul once said, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.”  (1 Cor. 9:22)

I don’t think he was encouraging us to be chameleons or two-faced.  I think he was saying – figure out a way to be you in every setting so you can have an influence on all kinds of people.  Self expression should not be the primary focus of a Christian – expressing Christ should.  It’s not how you look that’s going to draw people to Jesus.  It’s who you are.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  Galatians 5:22

Let the difference the world sees in you be one of those above traits, not some outward expression that rings of rebellion.  Trust me, there’s such a shortage of Galatians 5:22 in this world that if you start showing it fully you’ll attract a crowd around you.  There’ll be businessmen, drug addicts, hardcore rockers, preachers and street beggars all wanting in on the fruit your life shows.

Hmm, maybe that’s how Jesus pulled together such a diverse crowd…or maybe it was his Mohawk.



Leave a Comment
  1. Patrick / Aug 29 2011 10:23 am

    The beard… Definitely the beard.

  2. Joy Felix / Aug 29 2011 8:21 pm

    Haha – yes. This does fall into the category of self-destruction doesn’t it? We talk a lot about modesty in my cross-cultural classes, I’ve decided that it is looking around at the group around you, and trying to hit a happy medium where you don’t stand out – bikini in Saudi Arabia, not appropriate. Skirts down to your ankles in China – not appropriate (and dirty too! Think of the laundry you’d have to do!) it’s more a matter of being aware of your surroundings and trying to blend somewhat than anything else. I think this applies to people in the US as well, most have no problem with a few tattoos, but if you are covered with them, they assume things. Right or wrong, people do.

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