©Jeanne E Webster
I was talking with a friend yesterday and she mentioned that her granddaughter has a tattoo. She said it rather meekly and with a twinge of shame. After a moment of pause she continued. Her sister had reminded her that their father had had a tattoo under his upper arm. She had completely forgotten about that. A tattoo…on her father’s arm. He wasn’t a bad guy. Why was she thinking her granddaughter’s tattoo was a shameful topic? So the point was made to her judgmental tendency—judge not thy brother or sister with tattoos! Or thy granddaughter’s.
My spiritual nature also has a trigger finger, a rapid response fire to anything quirky that does not fit into my bag of “good.” Take this topic for instance. Tattoos. Yikes! I can run with that on a million tangents. Tattoos go together with “bad” like hair on an Angora cat–as in drugs, alcohol, drunks, low-life, immorality, sex-crazed, dirty, idolatry, taking money away from your children, wastefulness, and on and on. It’s a big BAD.
My mind then shifts into high gear and begins the clearing process. Let’s see. How does she look? Is she clean? Are her clothes neat? Does she have all her teeth? Are her fingernails clean? Does she smell clean? You notice the word “clean” repeating itself. I’m associating tattoos with unclean things which many times that’s exactly what it is. However, automatically sliding someone into the “dirty” slot if I see the tiniest hint of a tattoo on his or her body? Yes, I am a judgmental freak.
I calm my mind down and begin a new process–clarifying process. Just because she has a tattoo or tattoos does not necessarily mean she is bad. It does not mean she is a druggie, an alcoholic, a low-life, etc. Ok, she may not be managing her money wisely, but that could be the extant of it. Maybe. But here I’m smearing her face in the gutter of Bad Street, and I know absolutely know nothing about her, except I saw a bit of a tattoo on her neck. Anyway, what if she had a glob of tattoos on her? What if she was living in slum land? Am I to judge her? I am sorry for judging her so harshly and beg forgiveness from God. I pray for the young lady and ask God to protect her and guide her into his presence. I know better.
Looking at this from a different perspective, how about a glance down upon “Me” from a churchgoing Bible-based, fervently praying Christian. “Hmm, look at that lady, judging that poor girl because she has a tattoo on her arm. Shame on her. She needs to read her bible and pray more. That girl probably got her tattoo in a silly rage of teenagerism and regrets it to this day. It has probably hindered her from finding a job or dating that good-looking dude. Who knows how much she regrets that silly deed?” Need I say more?
How about some discussion on this topic? How do you feel about tattoos, excessive tattoos, the modern way to “fit in?” Do you think it is a healthy habit? If you’re a Christian, does it hamper your effectiveness to witness to non-believers? Let’s hear some feedback.