XI. THE OUTSIDE: ADDING TO THE BODY, PIERCING AND TATTOOING
The next point that I will discuss involves piercing the body. Not all, but some jewelry requires the piercing of the body in order to wear it. There are some whose standard is to oppose piercing, but allow jewelry to be worn as long as it is done in “moderation.” Let’s just suppose that the wearing of a piece of jewelry was acceptable to God, would piercing the body to attach it be acceptable as well?
One of the first Scriptures that come to mind when thinking of piercing a hole in the body unnecessarily is I Corinthians 6:19 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost [which is] in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” Christians that understand this verse understand that their body, soul, and spirit belong to God. Therefore, whatever we do to this body, it should first be acceptable to God who is the owner thereof.
Since “God did not make holes in people’s earlobes, eyebrows, tongues, etc., the flesh must be cut to insert the piece of jewelry. This process has changed over the years. It used to be done by numbing the area where the hole was to be made. Then a large needle-like object would be pushed right through the earlobe. Today, the cut is made so quickly with instruments, that many times the ear (or other body part) is not even numbed (even though there is still sharp pain involved). The earrings are immediately pushed through the hole and fastened on the backside. The earrings cannot be removed for a time, because the body will automatically try and heal the hole which has been made, which ought to tell you that God does not want the hole there” (Liberty Gospel Tracts, http://www.pathwaynet.com/libertyb/biblecrs/cappear/cappear2.htm).
Piercing then inflicts unnecessary pain on the body. Some would argue here that the pain is limited, but how much pain should be inflicted on a body before it is considered wrong. I myself have witnessed several examples of teenagers after they have had a recent tongue piercing. They sometimes carry a bag of ice to put on their tongue to reduce the pain and swelling.
You may say that ear piercing is fine, but tongue piercing is extreme. On what would you base that argument? Where do you draw the line? As one source that I read stated, you would be hypocritical to have pierced ears and then condemn pierced eyebrows, tongues, etc.
Our first line of defense against microbial invasion is the skin. When you break the skin, infection becomes a risk. Piercing bears with it the potential for infection. Obviously, the instruments need to be sterilized to prevent or at least reduce the possibility of infection, but the potential exists just the same. Is it justifiable to risk an infection inserting a nonfunctional, worthless in the sense of bodily benefit, piece of jewelry into a body that belongs to God in the first place? I don’t think so.
There is an example in the Bible were piercing the ear took place. It involves a slave and his master in Deuteronomy 15:16-17 “And it shall be, if he say unto thee, I will not go away from thee; because he loveth thee and thine house, because he is well with thee; Then thou shalt take an aul, and thrust it through his ear unto the door, and he shall be thy servant for ever. And also unto thy maidservant thou shalt do likewise.” Even in this case, he was not instructed to put an earring in the hole. My conclusion is that piercing is wrong based on Scripture as well as logic and experience.
If piercing is wrong, what about tattooing? The Bible states in Leviticus 19:28 “Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.” That should be enough to answer the inquiry. These two processes, piercing and tattooing, are similar in many ways. Shops that are set up for piercing often include tattooing in the same business.
The arguments above concerning piercing are applicable to tattooing. Tattooing is harmful in that it mars the body that God has given and the process itself again presents the threat of infection. Recently, there have been reports concerning the infection of hepatitis during tattooing. Also, a tattoo is often permanent. If the individual desires to remove it, they must subject themselves to more pain and potential risks to have it removed with a laser.
One source states “Tattoos are wrong for the Christian by reason of association” (http://misslink.org/chapel/tattoo.html). Think about the groups that you would associate with tattooing. To help you, here is a listing of groups known for their tattooing practices: gangs, prison inmates, rebels of authority, and tough guy types like bikers who travel the country wreaking havoc. Often the tattoos are of a vile nature such as nude females or have an association with demons, sorcery, and witchcraft.
Before I make the transition from jewelry, piercing, and tattooing to cosmetics, I want to make one last comment concerning jewelry. That comment concerns the wearing of a wedding ring. This is a dividing issue with some individuals. One group opposes the wearing of the wedding ring grouping it with all other jewelry to be avoided. Another group allows for the wearing of the wedding ring stating that it serves a purpose of identifying the one who wears it as being married.
Not wearing a wedding ring in our society basically is saying, “I am not spoken for.” This can be interpreted as “I am available.” This mark of distinction separates the “available” from the “unavailable” no matter how much we dislike thinking of it in those terms. On this topic, I could be accused of being liberal by the very conservative, but I am in agreement with those who believe a wedding ring is acceptable to designate one’s status of being married. Of course, the wedding ring should not be anything extravagant or it would otherwise be interpreted as a show of pride.
I would encourage tolerance on this issue due to experience. I am of the persuasion that a ring on the finger will not stop a willing participant of flirtation or adultery, but it will discourage flirtation with an unwilling man or woman. I agree that an individual knows that he or she is married without a ring on their finger to remind them and therefore should not engage in any questionable conversation or activity. However, the lack of a ring may allow for an embarrassing situation to take place.
I don’t consider myself to be anything but barely average when it comes to good looks, yet I have experienced what I interpreted as advances from females. These uncomfortable situations have occurred mostly in the setting of college classes.
One such experience occurred in a Microbiology class with a female who was in the same lab group as myself. She kept making it very clear that she was available and looking for someone. I politely let her know that I was happily married. I suppose she was surprised. Why? You see, I don’t wear a wedding ring. I have one, but I have never gotten into the habit of wearing it. She came back with “Oh yeah, you are one of those guys who don’t wear a ring so you can still flirt around (or sleep around, something like that).” I finally had to bring pictures of my wife and son to prove to her that I was married. She then shifted her focus to my lab partner who was more her age, single and willingly to participate in her flirtations.
My point, I don’t want my wife or any other married sister to be caught in such an awkward situation as I described above if the wearing of a wedding ring can prevent it. If a sister desires to wear a modest, in terms of expense, wedding ring to mark her as be married, I find it acceptable on these grounds for protection and not pride.