Justin Beiber Tattoo – Commitment or Pride?

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples 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 bodies.”
–1 Corinthians 19-20

Justin Bieber recently got a tattoo on his body with the name of Jesus in Hebrew. You can read about it here

Please don’t go away. Keep reading. This is not a religious indictment on tattoos per se. This post is really just my opinion about tattoos in general, from a Christian perspective. This is not the old guy on the corner yelling “Get off my lawn.” I promise.

So what do I think about Justin Bieber, or anyone, getting a tattoo of Jesus? It is actually a difficult question to answer. On the one hand we have the passage above, that puts such great emphasis on how God expects us to treat our own bodies. On the other, it is a tattoo of Jesus. I mean if you are going to get a tattoo, why not one that tells the world that you follow our great Savior, right?

Well, I can tell you that I have no tattoos, not even of Jesus. I have never really liked tattoos. I always considered them to detract rather than add. You see, I have always considered my body to be something given to me by God, and a tattoo was something that – well – was not right. Yes I know that in society today, tattoos are widely accepted. Yes I know that this position makes me somewhat of an old fuddy duddy. By no means do I consider tattoos some really bad evil thing you should be condemned for, but I have always considered them a negative thing. Hey it is just one guy’s opinion, take it or leave it.

But is it really a sin? Is it really wrong? I mean, if you get a tattoo for the purpose of honoring God, is it acceptable? That is a very good question, and here is my opinion.

It depends.

Why are you doing it? No I mean really, deep down inside the depths of your soul – why? There is another article about this subject, which you can read here. It is talks of a pastor who has tattoos himself and approves of them as memorials. I get it. I can see how a tattoo can be used as a memorial to Jesus, as a powerful statement of faith. However, it is a slippery slope for us, and one we should think seriously about. Before you go out and get yourself a Yeshua tattoo to match the one Justin got, be sure that is really why you are doing it. Let’s make sure this is really not something you are doing out of pride, rather than as a statement of faith. C.S. Lewis, considered one of the great Christian writers of our time, explains pride this way:

“The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit: and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. You may remember, when I was talking about sexual morality, I warned you that the centre of Christian morals did not lie there. Well, now, we have come to the centre. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.”
–C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

The form of pride I am talking about specifically here is vanity. The problem with this particular vice is simply that in many cases, it is hidden from us. How many times have we seen people do very good things for the wrong reasons? Sometimes it is the person giving to the poor to impress other people, or going to church to be seen by others as good. There are so many examples of pride, where we place ourselves first and act out of vanity or conceit, rather than the selfless humble way in which Jesus would prefer.

So in that respect, my word of caution is this. If you truly are getting that tattoo in honor of Jesus, and it is an act of humble recognition of your commitment, who am I to say it is not a good thing? But if your real desire is to stand out in the crowd, to puff yourself up or say “hey look at me, look how great I am”, then my suggestion to you is simply – pray about your decision. The tattoo artist will still be there tomorrow if this is the right decision. But make sure your decision is for the right reasons.

“But Jesus called them to him, and saith unto them, Ye know that they which are accounted to rule over the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and their great ones exercise authority upon them. But so shall it not be among you: but whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all. For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”
–Mark 10:42-45

What a beautiful passage this is. It shows how Jesus, as great as He was, humbled Himself to minister to His people. What better way of closing my post than to say that with regard to tattoos, as Christians we are to humble ourselves as Jesus did. Let’s remember that Jesus can see our actions. Jesus does not need a tattoo to know your commitment to Him, and the outside world will benefit more from your humility and selflessness, than the attention you attract by your outward display of a tattoo.

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6 thoughts on “Justin Beiber Tattoo – Commitment or Pride?

  1. My mom and I have been renting apartments for years.

    Let me tell you, I can-not etch my name on my landlord’s fridge.

    The last landlord I had would have given the dirties look if I seared his name on the fridge.

    I dunno, I don’t think human tattooing is ever condoned in the Bible, because marks are a mark of ownership.

    Marks are like signatures. You can usually tell who made it.

    If God wanted us to be marked, we would have given us one.

    And if you have to rely on a physical mark to display your spiritual identity, something’s wrong. Where’s the fruit?

    Like

    • Thanks for you input! Personally, I think in most, if not all, cases, a tattoo is a sign of pride, and you cannot increase your humility while increases your pride, can you? So in that respect I agree with you. However, I do try to be as open minded as I can, and I do leave the possibility open that God can use us in ways that we don’t fully understand, and that – maybe – this could be one way? Again, I am trying to keep an open mind.

      God Bless, and thanks again for your input.

      Like

      • hmmm. lets try this…

        you give your laptop to your little sister to borrow.

        She permanently leaves a hello-kitty tattoo engraving on top of it.

        She does not have the money to pay your back for having it removed.

        You must take this laptop to school, as your friends will look over your shoulder in class. (it’s in college)

        rate your frustration

        1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9.

        Answer?

        Like

      • 🙂 Interesting, yes of course quite frustrating, probably off your chart. Believe me I do understand your comments. I am of the mind that tattoos do not honor God. However, to follow your scenario. What if your sister instead engraves something on your laptop that honors you? Yeah its a stretch, but I believe that is what the pastor in the article in saying…

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  2. Well, my point is this – remembering that we are tenants on God’s earth, and that he will return to claim it.

    The thing is this: Did God ask for a tattoo? If not, tattoo can be left.

    And besides, God is a Spirit. The best way to honor him is to act like him in spirit.

    Illiterates can’t benfit from such a tattoo for evangelical purposes.

    (like I’m really going to seek spiritual wisdom on the side of a 12-year old boy without a shirt (I’m a chick). If I didn’t know how to read Hebrew, I would think he was adversising his favorite metal band. I dunno.

    Tattoos go down south with age.

    But works are remembered forever.

    __________________________________

    Ok, so what about…

    -Sister prints out 20 stickers with your name and accomplishments and applies stickers to top.

    You need to use this laptop for work. You need it to look professional, reserved and tasteful. You want it to be presentable. Because you are an orderly god (-er person.)

    Then she applies her stickers to your desk…and then your backpack

    You can remove the stickers, but it’s still a hassle.
    ____

    Well, maybe if the tattoos weren’t permanent, it would’t hurt to have the gospel of Mark stamped where people will see it.

    In that case, your body wouldn’t have the room to contain all of His works. Even John had to say this about Jesus’ works.”The world could have room for the books …-John 21:25″

    Just a “name” wouldn’t cut it. A testimony would have to be works we can see.

    Like

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