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St Luke Serbian Orthodox Church

10660 River Road
Potomac, MD 20854

IS TATTOOING OR BODY PIERCING REALLY BAD?!!

 “Everything is permissible for me

-but not everything is beneficial “(1 Cor 6: 2)

      Very often in our lives, we hear the words that our misguided society victoriously proclaims to us: “Let’s have fun, let’s try it, who cares, whatever, just do it, no fear, forget about it, it’s cool, it’s better now than never, it feels good, obey you thirst, experience it, explore it, and etc.” These and many other messages are bombarding our minds every single day: in schools, on TV, on radio, on the streets, in restaurants, at parties, while driving, while talking to our friends. Most of them are simple and innocent in context, but some of them have such powerful, and sometimes, very disturbing images. We may think that these messages do no harm to us, and that they are just an attempt by our society to bring commercialism to more people, by providing them with a good solution to escape the craziness of this world. It may look that way, but I think that behind the scum of these messages lies the lucidity of the biggest deceiver ever, the Devil.

     Indeed, the Devil never sleeps, nor stops tricking and deluding people. His main goal is to deceive as many people as he can, promising beauty, which later turns into big disappointments, ugliness and unhappiness within themselves. When a deceived person realizes that all of the disfiguring was pointless, stupid and unnecessary, he blames himself because he made a mistake out of ignorance, stubbornness, and adolescent pride. Then, he will probably lament quietly saying: ‘Was this necessary?. 1 could have lived without it...why... why... why have I done this?’

     The Devil will then laugh loudly, rejoicing in his masterpiece saying, “Naive and poor man, didn’t you want this so badly.. .1 offered you this, and you accepted it with joy... it is not my fault... it is you who chose it... now I’ll enjoy your disenchantment!”

What does this have to do with tattooing and body piercing?

     First, let us examine how we commit a sin. As I explained before, the Devil works a double shift, and often over time. For him there is no rest, and in fact, he never gets time off, or vacation time. His salary is on a daily basis, because there are a lot of people that he is “in charge of.” His compensation is the satisfaction which he receives through tricking naive people. He is never hungry because he feeds himself with pride, so he works very diligently. He offers, he suggests, he delightfully whispers beautiful ideas, and people believe his lies and fall into his trap.

     The very first mistake we make when he whispers in our ear is that we receive his thoughts into our minds. The second one is when we do not recognize nor look for the delusion behind that idea, we accept it easily. The third one is when we start to think about that idea, believing there is nothing wrong with it. The fourth mistake is, when we start to like it and enjoy it, experiencing the pleasure of the sinful thought. If we do not stop at this point of sin development, we will fall unto the next level, which is lust, which leads into sinful action. After lust, there is a big abyss, with no escape. As you see, before we commit sin, we all go through several steps of the degrading process. Therefore, remember, there is always the thought that can be transformed into a sinful deed.

     Is body piercing or tattooing a sin? Yes it is! “But why, there is nothing wrong with it!” someone may say. Well, it is a sin. The Bible does speak about the sanctity of man and the defilement of the body. The first man, Adam, was created in the image and likeness of God: Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Gen 1:26-27). None of the living creatures were worthy to be created in the image and likeness of God. Only man was. His whole being was immersed into that likeness, and not just one part of Adam’s being, not just his left hand, one finger, right leg, or eyes, but the complete being.

     As we know, every man is created as the psycho- physical being: with soul and body. With these two elements man is a complete person. Our goal is to keep both of them undefiled before God. When we sin, our soul gets hurt, and it needs a speedy recovery that is received through repentance. When we harm our bodies, in anyway imaginable, we are responsible before God for the corruption and defilement of His work.

     Are we the creators of ourselves? No! So, why then do we destroy something that is not our own, which does not belong to us? In other words, how do we corrupt God’s work? We do this simply by putting unto our bodies’ strange and ungodly elements such as tattoos, earrings, chains, locks, and other demonic portrayals. For some people, this is a “beautiful piece of art”; for Christians this is considered “self-mutilation.” By doing this to ourselves, we are distorting the image and likeness of God in ourselves, and instead of being an icon of God, we become a distorted picture that nobody wants to look at it or buy. Apostle Paul is very clear when he writes to the Corinthians, and says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own: you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” (1 Cor 6:19-20). The Apostle is right. We were indeed bought with a big price, which is the blood of the Son of God, who suffered death on the cross for our salvation. He gave us our angelic beauty, by which we are recognized as the children of God, and in return, He receives nothing but the ugliness of our mutilated bodies. Remember that we are the members of one body, the body of Christ, ("...so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to oil the others.” Rom 12:4-6), and each time we hurt our bodies with a new tattoo, or a piercing, we put another nail into Jesus’ body on the cross. Just, imagine how big His mercy is, when He willingly suffers our nails!

     Sometimes, we do not even know the meaning or message behind the tattoos that are placed on our bodies. Most tattoos have a background in various Eastern cultures, which use such signs for their cultic worships and experiences. Some people go so far as to have a cross tattooed on their feet. Those are not Christians, but anti-Christians, because with each step taken they step down on the cross; and by doing this, they show disrespect to the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ.

     Why do people choose to do such things? Is there any explanation for distorting the image of God in us? I would like to know if tattoos or body piercing make people feel different? Do they become more “cool” and jazzy by doing so? Do they feel special after they’ve put a wild dragon tattoo on their shoulders or on a secret spot? Does having a “double headed eagle” tattooed on one’s chest make that person a bigger Serbian than someone who does not? Are the people with earrings attached to various parts of the body, more valuable than those who do not have any? In other words, is it worthy doing all these insane things?

     My suggestion to you is, “always think before you do something, and always ponder on the words of Apostle Paul, ‘Everything is permissible jar me-but not everything is beneficial’ (1 Cor 6:12)

     Indeed, today everything is possible if there is no fear of God: “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life: and offer the parts of your body to Him as instruments of righteousness". Rom 6:12-14.

     Let us pray to God, to keep our minds clear from every evil thought, that we may always distinguish what is right and what is wrong, what is truly beneficial, and what is harmful to our souls and bodies, so that we may stand upright before His Judgment, and hear the words: ‘well done my faithful servant, enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.'

 

May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  1 Thess 5:23.

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10660 River Road; Potomac, Maryland 20854    tel: 301.299.2704    fax: 301.576.5664    web: www.svluka.org

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