Questions about long hair, piercings, and tattoos
I recently found a few questions at the back of my head:
Is having long hair a sin?
I am a male and have about chin-length hair. Am I in the wrong in keeping it this length, and wanting to grow it to reach my shoulders? When thinking about men and long hair, the verse that first comes to my mind is in I Corinthians. The Bible says it is a shame for a man to have long hair, but does that mean it is a sin?
Is a man having piercings a sin?
This question comes simply from my parents believing it makes a man appear feminine, but I believe the opposite. I can't find any verses saying outright that it is a sin, so this has been tricky for me to understand.
Is having a tattoo a sin?
In Exodus, God says not to mark our skin with tattoos. However, I recently came across a video that said God only told them not to have tattoos because they did not have the tools that we have today to be able to do it safely and sanitarily, and I've seen a few Christians with tattoos.
I've been wanting to grow my hair out for a long time and I would like to get a piercing (septum ring and industrial piercing of the ear), and I want to get a tattoo when I'm legally old enough, but I don't know if I will be going against God's will by doing so.
Long Hair on Males
"Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him?" (I Corinthians 11:14).
"Short" or "long" are relative terms. God is not dictating a specific length of hair. Instead, He is insisting that the prevailing hairstyles among men are to be shorter than the prevailing hairstyles among women. Since the beginning of time, God expected a distinction to be made between the sexes. For example, in the law of Moses God said, "A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this" (Deuteronomy 22:5). Other than articles of clothing, the relative length of hair is the most distinctive difference between men and women. If the hair on a man leaves you wondering whether the person is a he or a she, then the hair is too long.
By calling it a "dishonor" means it is something that should be seen as shameful or embarrassing. There have been exceptions, such as Samson never cutting his hair because he was under a Nazarite vow. However, men like Samson stood out because normally men left their hair short.
The reason men tend to have short hair is due to "nature;" in other words, the natural order of the world. This is the same word Paul used when arguing that homosexuality was wrong because it was against nature (Romans 1:26). Men tend to be more practical and direct. They tend to get involved in heavy labor (because they are muscular). Long hair is hot, gets in the way of work, and requires extra care; hence, men naturally gravitate to having short hair.
In the Old Testament, we find that both men and women wore earrings in Israel. "And Aaron said to them, 'Break off the golden earrings which are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me'" (Exodus 32:2). In this case, what they did with the donated gold was sinful, but we are taking notice that they had earrings. Later we find the men and women donating some of their jewelry to God. "They came, both men and women, as many as had a willing heart, and brought earrings and nose rings, rings and necklaces, all jewelry of gold, that is, every man who made an offering of gold to the LORD" (Exodus 35:22). Other passages mentioning earrings are Numbers 31:50; Judges 8:24-26; Proverbs 25:12; and Ezekiel 16:12). Thus, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with wearing jewelry, including earrings.
Thus, much would depend on how society, in general, would view a piercing. For example, a pierced ear in Israelite culture was a statement that the person was a permanent slave (Exodus 21:6; Deuteronomy 15:17).
Under the Old Law, the Israelites were forbidden to imitate the idolatrous religions around them. One practice was to make marks on the body, either by tattoos or by scarring to show which god (or ancestor) you served. So God told the Israelites, "You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD" (Leviticus 19:28). This law had nothing to do with health reasons. The video you were watching featured someone's imagination and not expressing what the Bible taught.
Today, tattoos are seen as decorative marks but they can still be used wrongly. Tattoos that give support for false or immoral ideas would be wrong as these go against Christian teachings. You also have to consider that tattoos are permanent. If you change your mind, the tattoo still remains.
What I notice is that you indicated that your parents are against the things you are doing. Thus, I am left to wonder how much of your motivation is not because you think it looks good as it is because it is not what your parents want for you. Therefore, I would like you to consider what message you will be giving to others about yourself by your choices. Is it good for a Christian to tell people that he rebels against conventions?
"But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching" (I Timothy 1:8-10).
One of the reasons elders are selected from men who don't show themselves to be rebellious (Titus 1:6) is because we don't want anything to hinder our ability to spread the gospel to others so that they might be saved.