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Why do people get tattoos?

In the article The Psychology of Tattoos, Dr. Michael R. Mantell, Phd., says people get tattoos for a variety of reasons including wanting to be noticed and identifying with a certain social group. They also get them to represent a loved one, for religious reasons, and for patriotism. And, some people admit to getting them by way of a bad choice.

Mantell goes on to describe tattoo-lovers as “a proud lot” who want to “declare that they are what they are.” In fact, Mantell says people with tattoos are “ordinary” except for having “a strong sense of identity they have no intention of hiding.”

I’m not advocating getting a tattoo. I don’t have one nor do I intend to get one. Just not interested. And I really don’t intend to get into a discussion on the debate surrounding tattoos (Collin Kapernick comes to mind here.). For this post, let’s just focus on the fact that most people who get tattoos do so with great thought and have great meaning behind their choice.

In other words, people who get tattoos hold something – a person or group or belief – as being so important to them they are willing to make it a permanent part of their body. Actually, perhaps we could use more dedication like that in our society.

Did you know that God has tattoos?

“Behold, I have indelibly imprinted (tattooed a picture of) you on the palm of each of My hands; [O Zion] your walls are continually before Me.” (Isaiah 49:16,)

Indelible means something cannot be erased, moved, changed, eliminated or forgotten. Zion here means God’s people, of which you are hopefully one.

Notice that the location of the tattoos are the palms of God’s hand. A sensitive area. A visible area. An area not easily overlooked. The point being that God has His people ever before His consciousness.

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible says that God’s tattoo signifies…

“that his people were always in his sight, his eyes were ever upon them, and never withdrawn from them; as anything held in the hand, or tied to or wore upon it, as a signet or ring that has the name of a person on it, to which the allusion may be; which shows how near and dear they are to him, what affection he has for them, and care of them.”

Just like many people get tattoos (again, not advocating, just stating fact), as a reminder of something significant and valuable to them, we are tattooed on God’s hand for that very same reason.

What can our response be to this deep affection?

God does not want us to be discouraged. He does not want us to feel abandoned or neglected. He desires that we know and experience His compassion. We are so important to Him that we are a permanent part of His thoughts, something like how a tattoo becomes a permanent part of a person’s body.

In response, we can be diligent in making our calling and election sure, and we can rejoice in the hope and glory of God (2 Peter 1:10-11).

Personally, I would be uncomfortable with my name and certainly with my face tattooed on a person’s body, but I am certainly not uncomfortable with being tattooed upon the very palm of God Almighty’s hand. Realizing His ever-present thoughts about me makes me know I am valuable and significant to Him.

DISCUSSION: How does knowing God is always thinking about you change how you live your life?

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