Getting your ears pierced is a big deal in so many households. Many of us can remember growing up begging their moms to let us get them done and waiting until we were old enough to get them. You wait in anticipation, thinking about how pretty you’ll look with those little diamond studs in your ears and your parents think about the fact that there baby is actually growing up.
While we often consider how we’ll see ourselves and how others will look at us, many of us fail to consider what God thinks about this decision. While being a Christian doesn’t mean putting checkmarks on a list of do’s and don’ts, it’s still important to put the messages of our culture through the filter of God’s Word to see how they hold up.
Body piercings and tattoos continue to be a highly debated topic in the Christian community. While some Christians don’t believe body piercing is a sin at all, others believe the Bible makes it quite clear that we need to treat our bodies as temples and not do anything to damage it, including body piercings.
You should look closely at what Scripture says, what the piercings mean and why you’re doing it for before you decide if a piercing is a sin in the eyes of God.
When it comes to the body piercing argument, both sides quote Scripture and mention stories from the Bible. Most people who are anti-body piercing use Leviticus as an argument that body piercing is a sin. Leviticus 19:26-28 says, “Do not eat meat that has not been drained of its blood. Do not practice fo5rtune-telling or witchcraft. Do not trim off the hair on your temples or trim your bears. Do not cut your bodies for the dead, and do not mark your skin with tattoos. I am the Lord.”
Some interpret it to mean you should never mark your body, while others see it as not marking your body as a form of mourning, as many of the Canaanites did at the time the Israelites were entering the land. There are stories in the Old Testament of nose piercings, like Rebecca’s story in Genesis 24 and even the piercing of a slave, referenced in Exodus 21.
Exodus 21:5-6 says, “But the slave may declare, ‘I love my master, my wife, and my children. I don’t want to go free.’ If he does this, his master must present him before God. Then his master must present him before God. Then his master must take him to the door or the doorpost and publicly pierce his ear with an awl. After that, the slave will serve his master for life.”
In general, the Old Testament prohibitions against cutting or piercing the body as in Leviticus 19 were prohibitions that related to pagan religious customs which were to be avoiding. Yet, there is no mention of piercing in the New Testament. However, the New Testament does discuss taking care of our bodies.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.”
1 Corinthians 10:3 says. “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”
While some believe seeing our bodies as temples means that we should not mark it up with body piercings, others believe that it is something that beautifies the body, so it shouldn’t be viewed as sin. Those who stand on this side of the debate don’t see it as something destructive to the body. Both sides have a strong opinion on how body piercings impact the body. If you do decide to get one, you should heed Corinthians and have it done professionally in a place that sanitizes everything to avoid infections or diseases that can be passed on in unsterile environments.
Finally, it’s important to determine why you are getting pierced. What’s your motivation behind it? If you’re getting a piercing because of peer pressure, then it might be more sinful than you thought. If you’re doing it because you’re so focused on outer appearance, this is also problematic. The thoughts that play in our heads and hearts are just as important in this case as what we do with our bodies. Such practices as body piercing are often done because of the emphasis on the outer self. It usually involves flashy display to call attention to one’s self, rather than on the inner or spiritual person which is of greater value to God. For Christians, the body is the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit and should be cared for accordingly.
We have this command in 1 Peter 3:3-4: “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine cloths.Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” In our culture, much emphasis is placed on outer appearance, but that’s not where our beauty lies. In the same way, body piercings are outward adornment and we should be careful to give more effort to the development of the inner self.
Romans 14 reminds us that if we believe something is a sin and we do it anyway, we’re going against our beliefs. Romans 14:23 says, “But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong because anything you do against your beliefs is a sin.” It can cause a crisis of faith. Before you jump into it, think hard about why you’re getting a body piercing.
Before you mark your body in any way, seek God’s council and ask Him what He’s calling you to do. Remember, our bodies belong to Him.