Making a decision whose consequences will follow us throughout our lives is certainly not easy. And then there is the consideration of the motivation of our action, the consequences, as well as the question concerning our beliefs and often… faith. In this article, we will answer the question on the basis of the Bible, which relates to such an already present and ordinary, in the current world, activity as body piercing – piercing.
Piercing, like piercing of the ears, these days seems to be something normal, not drawing special attention. The situation is different when it comes to piercing other places on the body. In both the first and second cases, the inappropriateness of such action is debatable, as in the context of sin.
What is sin?
Sin is most often viewed in a religious context. It can be defined as a violation of divine law or transgression of principles, a departure from values. Depending on which Christian community you belong to, the outlook on the issue of sin is somewhat different. There are different perspectives on what is seen as a sin. Sins can be associated with a particular faith, value system, or philosophy. It depends mainly on the interpretation of the Bible, as well as the beliefs of the church leader or clergyman.
However, this is not a negative phenomenon, but a manifestation of our diversity of differences or at least temperament and charisma. Nevertheless, when it comes to deciding whether we follow a particular attitude, we should also take a good look at ourselves so that we do not violate the laws and precepts of the Bible, which, after all, are a ready-made set of precepts that will help us be better people. Committing a sin is hard, if only because of the consequences it brings. Not infrequently, it leaves permanent damage to our mental as well as physical health.
Being Christians, we are additionally affected by the idea that we are moving away from God and have remorse, which later torments us. Of course, reflecting on our mistakes and learning constructive lessons and knowledge from them will help us become better people, and may even bring us closer to God. Sin, on the other hand, depending on how we deal with it is a fact, should not cause us to be completely separated from God, and this is worth realizing. For it is written: “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:1-2).
What does the Bible say about influencing appearance?
When we think of pious people we almost always imagine people who try to cover almost all of their bodies and have no tattoos or piercings. However, before we get to the main topic of our considerations, let’s answer the question – where does such, one might say, radical approach come from?
Tracking down verses from the Bible, we come across passages such as:
“Let not the outward adornment be the hairstyle, gold ornaments, and clothes, but the adornment hidden in the heart – a spiritual man, unshaken in a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very dear before God” (1 Pet. 3: 3-4),
“Do not look outwardly, but let your inner person be hidden in the indestructible adornment of a gentle and peaceable heart, which is more precious than gold” (1 Samuel 16:7)
“Beauty is vanity, and grace is passing away, but a woman who fears the Lord deserves praise” (Proverbs 31:30).
While these quotes are addressed directly and deal with specific appearance-related activities, they are not a prohibition. Rather, they are a reminder of what is most important to God and what we should first and foremost bring outward and focus on
“God does not look at what man looks at. Man looks at what is visible to the eyes, but God looks at the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
In the Old Testament, on the other hand, it is written: “You shall not be wounded or tattooed on the body for the dead.” (Leviticus 19:28) A specific example is mentioned here, but in this case, the interpretation of the passage is also important. According to the commandment “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” the issue of tattoos, and cuts on the body, which was applied by the pagans of the time, was a cadential violation of the commandment and concerned the practices of pagans. The reading of this passage is somewhat inadequate for the situation and times we are currently experiencing.
Totally unimportant is not the appearance, its adornment, it’s pampering as the most important value we possess. More important are character traits, heart attitude, and faith.
What decision should we make?
Any decision we make we should always take on ourselves, and its consequences. However, it is always worthwhile to analyze the above verses ourselves, to analyze our motivations regarding a particular action. If our actions are pure, are not the cause of our own or someone else’s injury or depravity, and their adornment does not constitute idol worship or blasphemy – we need not be so radical about ear piercing. Having a doubt, then it is worthwhile to once again analyze the pros and cons, and certainly to rethink the matter. The important thing is that if we have a doubt then it is not worth doing something. According to Scripture – “…but whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).
Such decisions, while trivial, can carry a lot of controversies, especially if we are in an orthodox Christian environment. Therefore, in addition to one’s own interpretation, and beliefs – it might be worthwhile to have a consultation with a clergyman or religious leader to get specific recommendations for piercing in the context of a particular religious community.
A relationship with God is something extraordinary, doing His will and following His ways. While we sometimes wonder about some activities in the context of whether they are appropriate, we should remember that Jesus’ teaching primarily focuses on faith and mercy. As such, adornments such as piercings may be considered insignificant compared to these core values.