Hi, my name is _____ and I’m 20 years old. I’m barely learning the way of Christianity and I was wondering if it was a sin for me to get a belly button piercing? I would really appreciate it to great back from you.
Hi Learning the Way,
Thanks for writing! The short answer is no. Piercings are not categorically a sin (a sin for everyone), but it might be a sin for you. To discern the answer to that question, prayerfully consider your motives—Why are you thinking of getting this piercing? What is the goal or purpose? How does it glorify God?
Most people probably think bellybutton rings could never possibly bring glory (like smiling light) to God. But they’d be wrong. God created us with bodies, beautiful bodies, and he delights in them; and he delights when we delight (properly) in our bodies, the good work of God’s creation. We delight properly in the way God has made us when we do so within the framework of his original intentions. In other words, to have extramarital sexual escapades and call it delighting in God’s good creation is to misapply, or misdirect, what is best and make it something which is but a shadow.
Other questions to ask yourself include: Is getting a belly ring best or smart? I’m not saying a bellybutton piercing is bad or stupid. But I am saying these are the better questions to be asking than Is it a sin? (even though it’s a common question because it’s the question we’re usually taught in church to ask… it’s the easier question, but not the better one). After all, real living doesn’t happen when we’re trying to see how much we can get away with, nor when we’re concerned more with what not to do than what to do. So when it comes to matters such as this one which are not addressed directly in Scripture (if you look at the concordance at the back of your Bible and search for the phrase bellybutton ring, you won’t find it), it’s important to remember Paul’s words: “All things are permissible but not all things are profitable.” The Message puts it this way:
Just because something is technically legal doesn’t mean that it’s spiritually appropriate. If I went around doing whatever I thought I could get by with, I’d be a slave to my whims. You know the old saying, “First you eat to live, and then you live to eat”? Well, it may be true that the body is only a temporary thing, but that’s no excuse for stuffing your body with food, or indulging it with sex. Since the Master honors you with a body, honor him with your body! (1 Cor 6:12-13)
Again, I’m not trying to suggest that belly rings are a dishonor to the body and God. I’m merely trying to help you ask better questions about righteousness and sin, life and death.
So, let’s get practical. What are your motives? I’m guessing you want to get a bellybutton ring because you think it’s cool and attractive and fun. Those reasons aren’t necessarily bad or good: they could go either way depending on other factors. So the next question you may want to ask yourself is: Are there any possible unwanted consequences that might result from this choice? You may find there are but that they are worth dealing with, or you may decide that it isn’t worth… upsetting your family, for example. Again, these questions require teaming up with the Holy Spirit in prayer. You might also consider whether the piercing is a responsible use of your money. What do your savings look like? If you don’t have savings, it is probably better and more wise to develop the habit of saving, beginning by putting the money you would be spending on body art into the bank where it can earn you more money so that in the future, you can purchase body art more responsibly.
I hope this has been helpful. Please feel free to write again. I’d be happy to clarify or expound or answer any other questions you might have if I can.
What do you all think? Can body art glorify God?
Photo by Dan Zen