Every time a friend of mine goes home to see her parents she dresses strategically so that she hides her tattoos. It can be 90 degrees outside but she will wear something that covers the tattoos on her arm so that she doesn’t hear flack from her parents. (Never mind that this friend of mine is in her mid-50’s). 😉
Her parents call tattoos “trashy.”
There was a time that tattoos were “taboo” (or much more so than they are now).
There are certain trains of thought that think that tattooing “defaces” one’s body and the body is supposed to be a “temple of God” so to brand it or mark it is a negative thing.
However a positive of tattoos is they tell a story. They give a glimpse into the psyche of the person who has them and if we take a few minutes to learn that story we make a connection with the person. We learn more about them and the world in which they live.
After our last trip to Uganda our daughter, Layne got her first tattoo. It is an outline of the continent of Africa with Uganda highlighted. On her arm, Uganda outlines a small spot where she had a parasite from the trip and now bears a small scar. (The parasite was NOT a big deal so don’t let this scare you away from going to Africa).
But that tattoo for Layne represents her love for Africa . . . her love for investing in people with her gifts so that she can make a difference in the world. It represents how her life has been changed and is far richer because of the impact the relationships in Uganda have had on and in her.
She made have had a few hours of some angst when the parasite situation was discovered, etc. BUT – the impact of the overall African experience is something that has left her (and anyone that has journeyed to Africa) forever changed.
It is important to note that the risen Christ still bore the scars of his suffering. If God’s power could raise Jesus from the dead, couldn’t that very same power remove the repulsive scars that visualized the evil, injustice, and death that nailed him to the cross?
However, these scars aren’t repulsive because they remind us of the power and love that bore those cars. They are an expression of the extravagant love and grace of God.
We all bear scars. Sometimes, to the outside world, they may even look trashy. Yet, we know the story behind the scars. Regardless of the horrific circumstances from which they came, the scars are a part of our journey. And if we allow the loving transformative power of God to work in us, the scars can represent beautiful change.
Change of healing.
Change of hope.
What are the scars you bear in your life today?
What are the scars that exist in our world?
How can our scars bear witness to God’s amazing, powerful, and transformative grace?
17 Quite frankly, I don’t want to be bothered anymore by these disputes. I have far more important things to do—the serious living of this faith. I bear in my body scars from my service to Jesus. Galatians 6:17