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9 Good Reasons to Get a Tattoo

  • Molly Parker Contributing Writer
  • 2018 7 Feb
9 Good Reasons to Get a Tattoo

Before we get too excited (or downright furious) about good reasons to get a tattoo, let’s not ignore the fact there are plenty of bad reasons. I’m not talking so much about the related health risks and pricey fees, which alone should make someone think before they ink, rather a person’s motive behind getting a tattoo.

What is his or her heart behind it?

Is it to purposefully intimidate, scare, or offend others? Is it to impress a certain someone or to come across as edgy and hardcore? And what about getting a tattoo while intoxicated, while heartbroken, while bored, or while on Spring break? Under such circumstances, it’s probably best that a person waits until they’re able to better process the pros and cons.

And then there’s Leviticus 19:28, where it says to not “mark your skin with tattoos.” But a contextual reading reveals that God didn’t want His people practicing the same things as the pagan nations, which included getting tattoos. But God also didn’t want them piercing their bodies and, in verse 27, trimming their beards. 

So where does that leave us today? Is it possible to honor God and get a tattoo? Knowing that “people look at the outside appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 17:7), let’s see if we can find nine good reasons to get a tattoo.


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  • 1. To Share Your Faith

    1. To Share Your Faith

    The longer I’ve been a Christian, the more I’ve seen God’s Word go out in ways beyond my understanding. When my kids were little, they’d ask the craziest questions: “Can a person come to Jesus after reading John 3:16 on some dude’s muscly arm?” Why, absolutely!

    Isaiah 55:11 says this about God’s Word: “I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it”—if that means onto the well-defined arm of a weightlifter, then so be it.


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  • 2. To Hold Yourself Accountable

    2. To Hold Yourself Accountable

    There’s no rule that says in order for a Christian to get a tattoo, it must be faith-based. But when it does represent the love of God, whether with Scripture or an image, it can be effective at holding the tattooed person accountable. At least that’s the idea. 

    So in the same way it doesn’t seem right when a car plastered with Jesus bumper stickers cuts you off, it also doesn’t seem right when a person with a visible cross tattoo gives you the finger.


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  • 3. To Declare Your Commitment to Sweethearts and Family

    3. To Declare Your Commitment to Sweethearts and Family

    I know my husband loves me. I can tell because he likes to eat with me and call me on his way to work. And I’m pretty sure I’m his favorite person to watch TV with. But the day he said, "I'm thinking about getting a tattoo. And I want it to have your name: Molly," it somehow reinforced his commitment to me… and I liked it.

    Well, did he get one? No. But the sentiment brought reassurance just the same, as I imagine sweethearts, daughters, and sons around the world might feel likewise—not to mention all the mothers who’ve inspired the ever popular “Mom”-inside-a-heart tattoo.


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  • 4. To eliminate judgment

    4. To eliminate judgment

    There’s no getting around the stigma associated with tattoos. Even though we’ve come a long way, our imaginations run wild when we assume tattoos only happen in smoky tattoo parlors located down dark alleys—and for bad reasons. But for all we know, a guy or gal could have gotten their tattoos next door to a preschool... on a Tuesday afternoon… after getting their teeth cleaned. 

    On the flipside, anti-tattoo types aren’t the only ones prone to forming negative opinions, for they are often judged by pro-tattoo types as being hoity toity. Judgment can definitely go both ways.

    But for those who do have a juicy, “dark alley” story behind their tattoo—one filled with regret, one they’d like to move past—what better way to have their dignity restored than to have a tattooed neighbor, pastor, or co-worker reach out in friendship? Does that mean we should all get tattoos to better relate to others? No. But if you’ve got one, God can use it to put people at ease and build solidarity.


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  • 5. To Serve as a Memorial

    5. To Serve as a Memorial

    Much like grief, tattoos are highly personal. But unlike grief, tattoos are oftentimes out in the open for all to see. Memorial tattoos can help people confront their grief when the significance of their loss is displayed. Also, tattoos in remembrance of service to one’s country can create a healthy sister and brotherhood among fellow veterans.

    And when people get tattoos that carry such depth of emotion, they often act as a balm to the soul; they become great conversation-starters, in turn helping people process their grief.

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  • 6. To Remind You of Your Roots

    6. To Remind You of Your Roots

    Every summer, my family and I head to a Christian family camp in the redwoods on California’s central coast. I’ve been going since I was four; that’s 40 years of sweet memories, timeless traditions, meaningful connections, and tender God-moments. It’s heavenly. 

    And I’ve always thought that if I ever get a tattoo, it’d be a small redwood tree as a reminder of my roots at camp, the place that grounds me every summer. Then as life runs its course throughout the year, with its highs and lows, I’d have a small tattoo to daily renew my perspective. Much in the same way I’ll stick Bible verses on my mirror or on my fridge to remind me of God’s presence, my little redwood tree would act like a Post-it note for the body.


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  • 7. To Use for Medical Reasons

    7. To Use for Medical Reasons

    Just the other week, a friend shared about her niece who was born with Situs Inversus, a congenital condition in which the major visceral organs are reversed. She said doctors are suggesting she get a tattoo on her chest, notifying emergency personnel of her condition, should she ever require immediate care. Now that’s a good reason to get a tattoo!

    There are also radiation tattoos that determine the exact area for treatment, applied to the skin for precise targeting. Sometimes tattoos are needed to replace medical bracelets—and so much more.


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  • 8. To Make Something Beautiful

    8. To Make Something Beautiful

    Many people get beautiful tattoos to cover their “imperfections,” such as scars and burns. They can act as a confidence-booster, especially at the beach when sporting a bathing suit. But one thing to consider: large scars and burns require even larger tattoos, taking up a sizable portion of skin real estate—so it’s definitely worth thinking through.

    And although most people are comfortable with their birthmarks and freckles, folks with ink-linations often get creative with their body’s more natural markings, turning them into works of art—enhancing what God has already given them. 


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  • 9. To Remind You to Make Better Choices

    9. To Remind You to Make Better Choices

    Because tattoos and regret often go hand-in-hand, tattoos can also serve as great reminders to make better choices. If a person is obsessed with the Philadelphia Eagles at age 21, they may not be at age 75. And while tattoo removals are becoming more effective, they’re still a little iffy.

    So before you get tatted with "sleeves" on both arms in honor of someone or something you love or respect, take time to pray it through. And if the thought of a loved one tattooing your name onto their bodies gives you the heebie jeebies... it’s too late, for someone already has. Isaiah 48:16 says, “See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands,” revealing that God is all-out committed to you.


    Molly Parker cherishes her role as contributor and editor for Anchored Press Devotional Planners and for Sacred Holidays Bible studies. When Molly's not French-braiding hair or scolding her basset hound, she's eating cake, baking a cake, or thinking about cake, which is surprising considering she's worked in the fitness industry 25 years. Molly lives in Southern California with her husband and three children.

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