I’ve been pondering a couple things. One is how each one of us interprets sin differently. For instance, if “Jim” who was raised that tattoos are a sin and that people that have them are sinning due to this verse, “And do not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor put tattoo marks on you. I am יהוה.” Leviticus 19:28 ISR. He views people with tattoos differently than say a guy named “Ted.” “Let’s pretend Ted’s dad was a believer in Yeshua-Jesus and a tattoo artist. Ted has a dove tattoo, a cross, and a bible on his arm. For him, they mean something spiritual. His dad always told him, “Jesus got the first tattoo” and he would quote to him this verse, “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of My hands.” Isaiah 49:16. Ted looked at them as pieces of art.
Let’s just hypothesize that our first guy, Jim, attends a strict conservative congregation, where men sit on one side of the church, and long-haired, dresses only women, sit on the other side. And let’s pretend that Jim tells Ted on their lunch break at the Frito lay plant that, “it’s okay if you got the tatts before you got “Saved” man, but getting any afterward is a sin, Ted!” Jim shows Ted written verse above. Ted goes home and looks up the verse, ponders, reads more about the verse from Hebrew scholars of that time period and finds out they were getting images of pagan gods carved into their skin. Still unsure of what to do Ted goes to his pastor with said problem and the Pastor says, “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 2nd Samuel 16:7. Now Ted feels better so he goes back to the plant and shows Jim his verse. Jim says, yeah but what are you going to do about the ink? That’s different than what this scripture is about. Your verse from Samuel is about being handsome and wearing nice clothes and being tall like David’s brothers were. King David was a short, redheaded runt and that’s what that verse is about. . . Ted, reads the verses above and below said verse, and seems more confused. He decides to contact a Rabbi on the matter since the verse is found in Leviticus and is part of the law. He resolves to ask two Rabbis for good measure.
The first one says that unless he is getting tattoos of the god of Moloch, Baal, or Ashtoreth, it’s no concern. The second one tells him that our bodies our personal temples Hashem gave us to dwell in and that they are not our own. He then looks at him sharply and says, “Would you spray paint graffiti on a wall of your church?” Ted is quite shocked, dumbstruck even. He looks at his colorful arm and thinks, “Not my arm?” He thinks about colors of lipstick and eyeliner his wife wears, but those can be washed off. Is it wrong or not? He wants to please God.
Now we can do this story above with many topics: food, alcohol, and sex to name a few. We can find verses to support us and ones that convict us. But how do we know what sin is?
Part #2 answers some of the issues.
Photo by Asa Castle