Thursday, 23 January 2014

The case for tattoos

I wish that I could sit with you in a familiar place, somewhere we can both see each other eye to eye and not through the contraption that is the internet. If I could, I’d love to have five real-life minutes with you to discuss the hint of black ink you see past the U of my blouse. I can already see the judging in your eyes and it breaks my heart. You stare your judgement at me and just as I open my mouth to defend myself you’re gone wanting nothing to do with the inked Christian girl. Or maybe you’ll be the rebel that chooses to listen to my case for tattoos.

I'm impulsive, vivacious and have a little history as drama queen—but I'm not complaining. I make decisions quickly and worry about stuff later. I jump into the pool, I never ease in. I never let my body get used to the cold little by little. If there’s one thing I can confidently say I haven’t been impulsive about, it would be my tattoo. I thought long and hard, prayed harder, researched deep, then took the plunge. I do not regret it. In all my research, I forgot to look up my society’s most probable reactions to it. Of which the most common has been “Aren't you a Christian? Don’t you know tattoos are sin?” closely followed by “You’re going to burn” and least prominent of them “You have a tattoo? Nice! What does it mean to you?”

My heart expands gratefully when I hear the last question and this is what I usually explain as quickly as I can manage:
The chapter of Scripture that speaks against tattoos is Leviticus 19. In that chapter, God was speaking to Moses regarding new instructions for holiness in personal conduct among the Israelites. I was shocked to find the ordinances I did of which modern Christians break more than half.

Leviticus 19 says “You must always observe the Sabbath day of rest” twice.
It says “Do not deceive or cheat one another”
It says “Do not make your hired workers wait until the next day to receive their pay”
It says “Do not spread slanderous gossip”
It says “Do not wear clothing woven from two different kinds of threads”
It says “When you plant fruit trees, leave them unharvested for three years”
It says “Do not trim the hair on your temples or trim your beards”
It says “Stand up in the presence of the elderly, and show respect for the aged”
It expressly says twice “You must be careful to keep all decrees and regulations”

Leviticus 19 says a lot of laws and ordinances that we all break. So when you pause to tell me that you think I will burn because of my tattoo, I tell you that you will burn right beside me because your clothing is woven from two different kinds of thread (and don’t get me started on keeping the Sabbath day holy). Doesn’t it say in Scripture that anyone who breaks one is guilty of breaking all? It does, so the my fire will be just as fiery as yours even if the only thing you don’t do is leave your beard unshaven.
Does the fact that we break these laws (and these are just some out of about 600) make it right to break them? No, of course not
See we couldn't keep all the law if we tried—even if we tried. I mean, look at the Israelites. So Jesus came on the scene and sorted this perfection thing for us once and for all. He didn’t come to abolish the law, because this iconoclast kept every single one, He came to fulfil it once and for all so you and I won’t have to burn side by side for all eternity.

“For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy” – Hebrews 10:14

“But those who depend on the law to make them right with God are under his curse, for the Scriptures say, “Cursed is everyone who does not observe and obey all the commands that are written in God’s Book of the Law…but Christ has rescued us from the curse pronounced by the law. When he was hung on the cross, he took upon himself the curse for our wrongdoing.” – Galatians 3:10,13

“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again slavery to the law…For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace.” – Galatians 5;1,4

Don’t you see that God has provided us with grace? We sing Amazing grace at church on Sunday and it sounds pretty awesome but in our everyday actions and decisions do we take this grace so amazing? We’re drowning in the ocean of legalism and God has extended his arm of grace to us through Jesus. Let’s take it.

Ordinances that are not expressly written against in the New Testament have now become matters of conscience: eating food offered to idols, eating animals considered unclean, keeping the Sabbath day of rest, tattoos, shaving your beards, wearing Spanx, standing while your grandma is speaking to you, eating from your orange tree the year it gives first fruits.

See, in the nineteenth chapter of a biblical book that contains revelations and prophecies, I found the most fascinating thing about Jesus.

“On his robe and on his thigh was written this title: King of all kings and Lord of all lords.” – Revelations 19:16

I honestly doubt Jesus had such a powerful title written in poster colour, friend. But we’ll just have to wait and see, won’t we?

In the meantime, while we are in rental skin and bones, would you show a little mercy? Would you hear and seek to understand before you pass judgement. Let’s walk together as brother and sister, not opponent. Let’s remember we’re fighting together against a joint enemy that is not me or you. The journey is long, tedious as it is. We are all on this narrow path with bloody knees fighting our flesh, dying to self so we can all hear him say “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
See the finish line is just ahead!


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  1. "In the meantime, while we are in rental skin and bones, would you show a little mercy?"
    All of this!!

  2. Hmmmmm but Remember that as sons of God we shouldn't be ruled by our fleshy desires but by the spirit of God.
    God's grace would see us through our walk. Amen.

  3. interesting perspective.... can you please if you have time read

  4. Unfortunately, we are all judges in this world and religion is our sword. We lance each other daily with the scriptures and shield our actions from criticism with these same scriptures. Until we all learn to know God personally, no amount of bible reading can enlighten one's eyes to behold God's glory and grace. Welcome back, Ibukun! :)

  5. whats the pain like on a scale of one to ten. cause i really want one

  6. 5 initially but reduces to like 3 as your body adjusts to the pain. Some people say it's kind of addictive and after you get your first you'll want another almost immediately but I've found that to be untrue. I've had mine for about a year now and I don't exactly CRAVE another one. Goodluck!

  7. okayy. where did you get yours done?

  8. Bizzy studios. Right at Allen roundabout. Close to Tantalizers. Unfortunately i misplaced his number. Try googling the studio

  9. Amal Bello Osagie31 August 2015 at 16:16

    thank you for this!