The Meaning Of Tattoos or Scars In Our Lives

I’m sure that we’ve all seen tattoos one way, or the other. Maybe not in real life, but in a movie perhaps? Celebrities and other public figures also flaunt them in obvious and not so obvious places. We might even have a friend or daring family member that also has one. They come in different shapes, sizes, colours and could be letters, numbers or drawings. Most commemorate something significant and personal to those that have them. These memories might be sad, happy, exciting or as varied as the spectrum of human emotions.

Body marking or etching is nothing new and has been around for centuries all over the world in different cultures. The Maoris, Japanese, Indians, Native –American Indians etc all have a history and culture of tattoos. The facial markings of the Yorubas, the Tiv, Benin and other people groups here in Nigeria are other examples of this ancient tradition. These cultures often have taboos, restrictions, religion and other relations with the design, colour and process in acquiring one. The modern day tattoo artist taps into an ancient art and history when they pick up their guns and begin to ink their respective clients.

However, just like some people have tattoos in hidden places, collectively we all have the equivalent in our souls…emotional or psychological. These are memorials of events that mark us and help to shape us into the people we have become. Those events vary in how pleasant or unpalatable they were, but we bear their brunt all the same. They have changed us (for the good or bad) in how we respond to people and life situations. More often than not we cannot even trace the origins of these past incidences because they have become part and parcel of our nature.

Once this happens we take it that that’s just how we are and unless we become adept at questioning what we do, when we do it and why we do it we can continue on the same track. We are not our memories, or experiences, rather it is what we choose to make of them that matters. How we learn from what caused those incidents is crucial, the way we behave, respond, think and live is important. These hidden scars play a large part in our live and more often than not we often do not remember them, except when they are still fresh or painful to so quickly put behind us. We all agree it can be difficult to do this especially in the light of what happened. It is however not impossible and there are many that will tell you this when they share some of what they have passed through.

It might interest you to know that Jesus also has tattoos and these were deliberately inflicted in the most gruesome manner! (Isaiah 40:16) Both His palms, feet and side bear the reminder of the cross and the hours he hung there until pronounced dead. The circumstances in which they were created were some of the most horrific, but the outcome i.e. many sons into glory still resonates now in the twenty-first century.

This might help us as we face and undergo challenges that stretch and impact us, albeit the magnitude of each varies for every individual. We must realise that each is to serve us in our journey, becoming part of the beautiful tapestry of our lives. Through the vagaries of life we grow, break, plateau at times, but each experience leaves a mark on the person we are becoming. We have been called to press on to the mark of the fullness of Christ and as such we are to face life with that mind-set that come what may, that Christ be fully formed in me. You must remember that God will use people and situations to teach, show and craft the story of your life for His purposes and intent. Yes even the most painful part!

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