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Is It a Sin to Get a Tattoo of a Cross?

Tattoos are more popular today than ever before, with nearly half of young adults aged 18-29 having at least one tattoo. As body art becomes mainstream, many Christians wonder if getting a tattoo aligns with their faith. Specifically, is it a sin to get a tattoo of a cross?

This article examines what the Bible says and common Christian perspectives to help you make an informed decision. We’ll cover key questions like:

  • What does the Bible say about tattoos?
  • Are tattoos a sin?
  • What do Christians believe about getting tattoos?
  • Is getting a cross tattoo wrong?
  • What should I consider before getting a tattoo of a cross?

What does the Bible say about tattoos?

The Bible does not explicitly prohibit tattoos. The only verse that directly references tattoos is Leviticus 19:28 (ESV):

“You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the Lord.”

This verse was part of the Old Testament ceremonial law given specifically to the Israelites. Most Christians today believe this no longer applies literally as a command for followers of Jesus.

However, some Christians point to this verse as evidence that tattoos go against God’s design for our bodies. They believe tattoos deface the body, which God intends as a “temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Are tattoos a sin for Christians?

There is no universal consensus among Christians on whether getting a tattoo is a sin. Generally, Christians fall into three camps regarding tattoos:

  1. Tattoos are sinful – These Christians believe Leviticus 19:28 prohibits tattoos outright. They see tattoos as marring God’s creation and believe getting one goes against His will.
  2. Tattoos are permissible – Other Christians believe the Bible does not clearly prohibit tattoos for followers of Jesus today. They emphasize believers have freedom in Christ, with discretion on disputable matters like tattoos.
  3. It depends on motive and result – A third perspective says the decision depends on one’s heart motivation and the fruits of getting a tattoo. If done to glorify God and point people to Christ, with thoughtfulness and discretion, then a tattoo could be permissible.

As we’ll explore next, these diverse viewpoints come into play regarding the specific question of cross tattoos.

What do Christians believe about getting cross tattoos?

Opinions diverge within Christianity on whether getting a cross tattoo aligns with the faith.

Some Christians argue against cross tattoos for reasons like:

  • The Bible prohibits tattooing oneself.
  • Tattooing crosses on one’s body is irreverent.
  • It could communicate the wrong message about one’s faith.

Other Christians support cross tattoos for motives like:

  • Expressing devotion and identity in Christ.
  • Representing the gospel.
  • Sparking spiritual conversations.

Cross tattoos can be meaningful displays of faith if done carefully, prayerfully and discreetly. But they also risk projecting more style and image over substance. Most Christians emphasize assessing one’s heart first.

5 things to consider before getting a cross tattoo

If you’re a Christian considering a tattoo of a cross, reflect thoroughly on these factors:

1. Motive – Ask why you want this, being honest with yourself. Is it to feel trendy or impress others? Or to glorify Christ with your life and body?

2. Meaning – Clearly define the deeper meaning this cross would represent for you. Articulate how it reflects biblical truth.

3. Discretion – Carefully consider size, visibility, and other elements that could determine how the tattoo is perceived. Prioritize projecting your faith appropriately over making a bold fashion statement.

4. Consultation – Speak to mature Christian friends, family and leaders about this decision. Seek wise feedback.

5. Prayer – Most importantly, lay this desire before God continually in prayer. Seek His guidance on getting a tattoo of the cross.

Conclusion: Key takeaways on cross tattoos

The short answer is the Bible does not clearly prohibit nor promote tattoos. Many Christians believe the decision comes down to personal conscience and stewardship of one’s body.

Key takeaways for Christians include:

  • There are good arguments on multiple sides of this issue. Seek input but ultimately follow your conscience.
  • Carefully examine your reasons and goals for permanently marking a cross on your body.
  • Prioritize exalting Christ with your life over making a statement with your tattoo.
  • Consider visibility, size, design elements that uphold your witness.
  • Pray through this choice continually to confirm your motives please God.

I hope this overview equips you to make a God-honoring decision about getting a tattoo of a cross! Reach out if you have any other questions.

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