Should we allow our son to get an earring?

Question:

Dear brother Jeffrey,

I hope you are doing well, and that everything is going well in your work and in the local church.

Brother, I wanted to ask about this personal matter. I have a 15-year-old son who is not a Christian. He is generally a good boy and obedient to us like his parents, although he also sometimes makes some mistakes. Of course he has always been attending church meetings with us, and he devotes part of his time to reading the Bible. He is also a responsible student at school, and is involved in sports.

But like every young person, he is also exposed to the influence of the world, which comes either through friendships, or through media such as TV, music, the Internet, etc. He has some friends, but unfortunately none is from a Christian family. We always try to know who his friends are and what influence they might have on him, and we think that in general things are going well.

Recently, he wants to have his left ear pierced to wear a small hoop, like one of his friends. It is the practice of many young people in today's society. But my wife and I do not agree with him and we have not given him permission to do this, basically because we do not think this is good for the appearance and influence that a Christian, or a child of Christian parents  (Matthew 5:13-16; Titus 2:10; Romans 12:2; I John 2:15-17; James 4:4 ?). And also because based on I Corinthians 6:19-20, I think that putting a piercing in the ear, makes an unnecessary wound (damage) in our body, which we should take care of and use to glorify God.

And regarding this, I would like to ask you if you can answer these questions:

  1. What biblical arguments could there be if one believed that this (using a piercing on the ear or any other part of the body) would not be right, or more convenient for a young Christian (as we hope one day our son become)?
  2. What advice could you give me to do what is most correct and most spiritual in this situation?

I look forward to your help and advice, when possible. And in advance, again thanks for your help and friendship.

God Bless,

With love in Christ,


Answer:

Different societies have differing standards in regards to clothing and jewelry.

Though used for a wicked purpose (to make an idol), we do find mention 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). 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 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.

I Corinthians 6:19-20 makes a poor argument because it is about the spiritual damage that fornication causes to a Christian, and Paul's argument is that we should not use our bodies to harm ourselves; rather, we use our bodies to glorify God.

What it boils down to is: What does having an earring represents to these young people? Clearly it making some distinction between those who wear one and those who don't, so the question to ask is what does that distinction mean?

Something to keep in mind: the small hole used by most earrings heals quickly if the person stops wearing an earring. Men tend be practical, so the fads of youth tend to get left behind, especially those that serve no lasting purpose.