A tattoo is (apart from expensive, extensive work) a permanent decision, a permanent decision made by a very young man that his older self, his wife, his children, and everyone in his life will, in some way, have to live with.

It may be that getting this tattoo is precisely what you ought to do. If so, then work toward being on your own, cultivating the maturity and the wisdom to hear outside counsel and to think this through with the mind of Christ. In the meantime, though, be a sign of the gospel by submitting to your parents even in something in which you think they're short-sighted. Submission, after all, isn't to things one readily sees as good ideas; that's called "agreement." Submission is often in matters in which one thinks one knows better. God will bless that.

One more thing: a tattoo won't stop you from wrecking your life, no matter what it says. The rebellious heart gets what it wants, and will do what it takes to get there. An immoral man can easily scoff at the tattoo, or even blaspheme as a result of it in the throes of his rebellion. Instead of working to embed the gospel on your skin, embed it on your conscience. Cultivate repentance, confession, and seeking the life of Christ. The answer for you isn't your own skin ink but Someone Else's nail scars.

Russell Moore is Dean of the School of Theology and Senior Vice President for Academic Administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and executive director of the Carl F. H. Henry Institute for Evangelical Engagement. Dr. Moore is the author of The Kingdom of Christ: The New Evangelical Perspective (Crossway, 2004) and the forthcoming Adopted for Life: The Priority of Adoption for Christian Families and Churches (Crossway, May 2009).