Feb 9, 2016

In Your Opinion, Would Jesus or His Apostles Get A Tattoo?

Your answer to the question will reveal how well you know Jesus and Scripture.

Common Sense Commentary: I do not think getting a tattoo is to be compared with most other transgressions dealt with in the Bible. My guess is that it is probably on a level with gluttony or smoking, but surely not murder, child abuse or blasphemy. At best it is bad judgement and at worst, a clear violation of God's word. "Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:28. However, as best I can determine, it is named just that once in the Old Testament and never in the New Testament. Once is enough, but repetition of a transgression surely indicates emphasis on the seriousness of a particular sin. Take, for instance, the sins of the tongue or lips, gossip, lying, cursing, heresy and verbal blasphemy, all, at least partially, sins of the tongue. There are others I won't mention. The sins of the tongue/lips are mentioned more times in the Bible than all the other sins combined. The sins of the tongue are also the most universally common sins among men (humans). But the fact of a single mention of "marking the skin" does not negate the fact it is against God's will to print permanent marks on your skin. To do so not only violates a scriptural admonition, but brings other, lesser consequences upon you. It marks you for life; it makes a statement you cannot change; to many employers it is a negative "red flag" either about your good judgement or as a "sign" of which side of a "good citizen" line you are on, reliable and stable or in your face rebellion.

Years ago, Fred Good and I, drove up to the Arctic Circle. Passing through Wyoming, we saw a young woman beside her smoking car, on the highway. Since it was a woman, we turned around and went back to help her. As we stopped behind her car, we could see she was a man with long blond hair... unusual at that time. Since we could not fix his old $20 clunker, we offered him a ride to where he was going. My Suburban was loaded with camping gear, ice box, food and expedition stuff, so we put the young man between us. My years of experience dealing with people of every sort, including criminals, mental cases, sociopaths and convicts, told me this young man had just gotten out of prison ... that day. How did I know that? He smelled like prison, had the paled skin left by lack of sunlight and, he had prison tattoos on his arms, hands and neck. The first thing I said to him was, "Son, you just got out of prison and God sent us to tell you something". Those of you who know Fred can confirm what happened after that. In fact, Fred, would you write a blog on the highlights of our trip and I will publish it here. Fred has written several books and you will enjoy his story of our trip. But, back to tattoos ...That boy's many "prison" tattoos, especially those on his neck alerted me to several "profiling" probabilities. He had been convicted of a serious crime, stranded on the road, and scared, he could be dangerous: He may have had no real friends left, no job, no money, no future, hungry, tired ... and he was desperate. The only way we could deal with him was to lead him to Jesus, and that was his greatest need and our main responsibility anyway. He accepted Christ and months later contacted Fred, who had given him his phone number.

As a  business man, I would NOT have hired him, right out of prison, and entrusted him with my business, employees, customers, family, vehicles, equipment, reputation or money. Having had jail and prison ministries and a Rescue Mission, for many years, I had already made all of those kinds of mistakes, many times, and paid for it. And through all those years, as a young pastor, I came to distrust tattooed people except for those who had come to Jesus after getting them.  But most experienced business people are also afraid that visible tattoos scare off customers ... which they usually do. That too may be politically incorrect, but it is a result of a lot of experience.

Curse it as profiling if you like, but what it is ... is caution and self preservation. 
I profile snakes, loose dogs, greasy restaurants and strangers around me. Would I use "profiling" if I were in a secular business? What else do you have to estimate the potential for harm in someone you do not know, standing at your door when you open it, or meet on a deserted street or who comes into your store? Nothing, except how they "look".... like it or not. Political Correctness bedumbed, appearance, experience and intelligence are more effective indicators of who a stranger is, than pretending a gang of hell's angels are just a few friends out for a a ride. A Mommy's boy motorcyclist dressed as a Hell's Angel or Outlaw may just be stupid, but he is to be avoided at a rest stop by a woman traveling alone.... period. So ladies, don't give up your natural, God given, discernment in favor of being politically correct by not using some measure of profiling when you are alone in a large parking lot. And please don't ask me why and expose your own naivete, ignorance or Liberalism. 

Final word ... pass ... on the tattoos. You will one day wish you had. RB

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