(Photo by Adam Markos)
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More Than Meets the Eye
Lessons Learned from Maui in ‘Moana’
By Tori Martin
Now, I am going to be completely honest with you. The first time Disney’s “Moana” was brought to my attention was not because I had seen the movie trailer teasing me to go and watch the adventurous tale of a Polynesian teenager’s quest to save her homeland, no.
It was in fact because of a certain individual character who was causing a bit of a controversial stir among the Disney fans that left me wanting to know more. Disney introduced their first fully tattooed character (shock horror!) named Maui. And boy, did he not disappoint! This dude has some serious ink going on! We soon discover that each time this guy reaches a new milestone moment in his life, a new tattoo appears on his body. And yes, there are plenty to admire!
There is one particular tattoo that in my opinion by far outdo the rest. It is the “Mini Maui.”
Mini Maui keeps the great hero accountable. He encourages and is always with him. He is a constant reminder to Maui of his true identity. That my friend is where me and Maui have something in common. I also have my very own tattoo which is my constant reminder of who I truly am. And no, it’s not a mini me Tori! It’s a tattoo of the place where everything changed for me. The cross. When I look at my cross I’m reminded of my identity, my salvation, and my hope. I am reminded of exactly what Christ did for me.
What Maui and I have in common doesn’t just stop there, oh no. Maui and I also share the experience of being critiqued over our tattoos. It’s harsh but a true reality.
“But isn’t it a sin to have a tattoo? And doesn’t scripture say it is a sin?” I hear you ask
No. Please don’t confuse purity with legalism. If people want to throw Leviticus 19:28 at the Christian inked crew then I am here to say that this scripture has been and continues to be misquoted and misunderstood. Let me back up my answer. Drum roll please!
Leviticus 19:28 reads: “You shall not make any cuts on your body in mourning for the dead, nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves; I’m the Lord.” Now, if you read this scripture in context, you will see that it is specifically speaking about pagan religious rituals, which of course, is a no go! Simply put do not get any tattoos expressing witchcraft, sorcery, pagan worship or idolatry. So… who’s going to break the news to Maui?!
What about tattoos that doesn’t represent pagan religious rituals? Well people, I have good news. In Isaiah 44:5, the great prophet speaks of the days where some people will want to declare that they belong to God by writing a mark of devotion “upon his hand.” One will say, “I am the Lord’s.” Another will write (even brand or tattoo) upon his hand, “I am the Lord’s.” So, if we look at these two scriptures in Leviticus and Isaiah, you will see that it is not the tattoo itself which is forbidden. It’s the motive and reason behind the tattoo which should be more of the concern.
And finally, let’s talk about God’s tattoo! Yes, you read that right! Even the big I AM has a tattoo of YOU on the palms of His hands. That’s how much He loves you. How amazing is that?!