Art, Culture and Faith

A sister visited me and she had this beautiful artwork on her hands- the finger nails were coloured orange while the palms and fingers had some fine drawings in black. It was so beautiful it reminded me of the body painting I’d seen on Northerners when I did my national youth service in their region. I was enthralled and took the pictures in this post. I examined the intricate designs, amazed at all the geometric shapes that were drawn and shaded.

She welcomed my interest and happily modelled for the pictures. She found my reaction endearing and disclosed that she had been getting quite the opposite reaction from friends and colleagues. Traditional body art, they told her, is not an aspect of culture you should embrace because it has spiritual attachments. Being a born-again Christian, they felt that by submitting her body to be decorated in this manner, probably by Muslims, she may have been infiltrated by evil spirits. Some had gone as far as saying she should not come to church until she had got rid of the dyes used to adorn her hands.

The sister was not perturbed. She explained that she teaches in a girls’ school in the North and during a send-off for graduating students, some of the girls offered to beautify their teachers in the way they know how- using henna (laali in Hausa) art. She agreed to let them work on her hands only, from which the dye will fade faster through constant washing. She did not believe she would be defiled by the treat. To her, it was harmless girl stuff, a way of participating in a cultural activity she had not been exposed to as a modern Igbo woman and she reiterated that it wasn’t permanent art. (You hardly see Igbo women using traditional dye to colour and design their bodies now but it was part of their beauty rituals in the olden days.)

I don’t know if I’m being naive, but I was inclined to agree with her. She is a Spirit-filled lady, and the way I see it, if there was something fetish in the dyes or their application process, she would have been spooked and firmly declined the offer. There remains the issue of the symbolism of the shapes and overall designs. And I think the same principle applies. Whatever those things may represent to anyone else, they are what she sees them as and what she calls them- beautiful drawings lovingly done by her students on a happy occasion, just as Hausas and Fulanis do for brides.

The scripture that comes to my mind on this is Romans 14. The Apostle Paul was addressing similar matters: eating of meat versus eating of vegetables only, considering a day in the week sacred versus considering all days the same. I might add: wearing jewellery or not, braiding one’s hair or not. The list goes on. After looking at the divergent beliefs and the condescension with which each group was treating those who believed differently, Paul admonished that each person should be fully convinced in his mind of the stance he or she wants to take on such disputable matters because anything not done from faith is sin (vs. 5 & 23). He added that we should not judge one another on the bases of such matters.

“13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. … 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.”

He, however, asked that we not flaunt what we allow to the point that it jeopardises the faith of other brethren. In other words, if there is something we feel free doing and we notice that people who look up to us are emulating us in that regard and getting into trouble in the process, the right thing would be to refrain from doing it. Take the drinking of alcohol, for example. We may abstain not because we believe it is a sin to imbibe at all, but because we have seen people get addicted and their lives destroyed. We don’t want it to be on record that any such person was emboldened to start drinking alcohol by watching us.

“20 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.”

This is my take on this issue. Kindly share in the comments how you see it and be richly blessed of the Lord in Jesus’ name. Amen.


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  • Chukwuneke adaeze jennifer

    You are blessed ma’am with great knowledge, I am proud to be one of your students.

  • Ossai Chidimma Linda

    This post reminds me of two past events. First, that of my elder sister who was living in her school’s dormitory, she gave back home during the holidays with such art designs. My mum flogged her so mercilessly and asked her to wash her hands until the designs came off. She said those designs had “spiritual implications”, we all pleaded on her behalf until she was let off the hook. My mum’s belief still hasn’t changed but I believe it should.
    The second is one which happened to me. I attended a private secondary school owned by a conk and renowned Deeper Life Church member. While in JSS 3,as a result of teenage exuberance, my printed pictures made their way to school. I was putting on a pair of trousers and a short gown in those pictures. In a bid to watch those photos, we caught the attention of the Principal. She seemed so disappointed in me, that a “good girl like me wore trousers”, it was a sin. She kept me on close watch for the remainder of the term to ensure I keep good company and sin no more. What a myopic belief!
    However, I recall telling her my faith was in my heart, character and decency, not on the material I put on.
    Thank you, ma’am.

    • Thank you so much for your detailed and illustrated response. I really appreciate it. You are highly blessed in Jesus’ name.

    • Isaac sopuruchi peace

      I hate how Africans like to push their belief down someone’s throat
      The fact you are not doing a particular thing doesn’t give you the right to call it wrong.
      We need a proper reorientation.
      My mum isn’t exempted either.

  • Willie Albert Zikiye

    It’s always stated that God judges the heart of men, not the outward appearance. People should stop throwing stones at people based on the manner of dressing, haircut, make-up, layout and design. On the contrary, one should always comport oneself in way that will not affect the faith of young Christians. Thank you, ma.

  • Chinecherem Stephens

    Those body arts are absolutely beautiful and I quite agree with you, ma. I don’t know what those shapes and designs mean but they seem very ordinary and plain. As long as there’s no spiritual attachment to them, then it doesn’t matter. If we can comfortably use nail polish and the modern make-up kits, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using henna on the body. It’s all just a matter of cultural arts, one is Western and the other is African.
    However, like Apostle Paul said, if applying henna will make someone who looks up to me fail, then I will refrain from doing it, not because is a sin but for their faith.

  • Godwin Grace

    I totally agree with you, ma. The believer is made of ever lasting stuff. Art works on the body cannot destroy or defile the believer. But for the faith of others watching, we have to watch what we do. It is only a sin if you consider it as such.

    Keep the good work up, ma.


    This write-up is really a morning food. I usually see all this tattoo works as another signature of evil and diabolism. This has really changed my perception, especially through the words of St. Paul.

    • These are not tattoos. The drawings are made with local dye that wears off after a while while tattoos are permanent inkings that require drastic work (skin surgery) to remove.

    • Glory Oluchi

      Tattoo is actually different from this art work just like mummy has explained, moreover, God instructed to against it in Leviticus 19vs28 and it says: you shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD (NKJV).

  • Eze Blessing Ada

    Interesting piece! Last year (December), I was stopped from ministring in the choir department because I had henna on my hands. My pastor said it was demonic but I was somewhat convinced that I didn’t do anything wrong though. I just obyed the order and moved on.
    Thanks for shedding more light on this matter.
    God bless you.

    • I hope you’ve been restored to the choir. Is foreign nail polish also demonic or just the local stuff? More grace in your ministry in Jesus’ name.

      • Eze Blessing Ada

        Yes, ma’am, I have, although that was after serving some punishments. According to my pastor, all forms of beautification are demonic and connote that you’re one of the daughters of Jezebel.

        Thanks for the response, ma.

  • Njoga izuchukwu Eragon the great

    People shouldn’t criticise others without having a proper investigation. The aim and ambition of those girls was to show appreciation to their teacher for her good gesture for them.

  • Orieji christiana Amarachi

    Wowwwwwwwww. This is an interesting story with a perfect illustration which most Christians misunderstand and this has led many into living a fake life. I suggest everyone to keenly read this post and understand, including the Bible scriptures which will also help for better understanding. I am so blessed I have read this. Thank you so dearly, ma’am. More grace to glow even as your pen speaks the words in God’s heart to His children. More grace… More love

  • Ugwoke Jennifer Chinecherem

    I strongly agree with you, Ma. It is very wrong to judge someone. But we have to be careful with some of the things we do because someone might be watching from afar and might in one way or another become influenced by our dressing or attitude. But personally, I don’t see anything wrong with the art work she did on her palm.

  • Pamela Chigbu

    Such a beautiful write-up, ma. My take on this is that I don’t see anything wrong with the henna marks on her hands and people shouldn’t judge or say bad things based on what they apply or wear on their bodies.

  • Ochekwu Caroline Ene

    I have always admired the henna decorations on my Muslim friends hands especially during their Eid celebration,
    wedding, Naming ceremony and even on their birthday it looks so beautiful on them but just because of my religion am not allowed to put it on otherwise I will face the consequences. As a Christian, I really feel we should dig deep into the Scriptures before passing judgement on others about what they do and we should understand what’s wrong and what’s right…. Thank you so much, Ma’am, for this topic. I really learnt a lot.

  • Enukora Onyedikachi

    Thank you ma for the insight on judging people. I believe anything done with faith and love cannot be a sin. Because God is love and through faith, it can be established that He is pleased with the things we do. For it do it by Him that willeth us.

    • Uhmmm, something must be missing from your last sentence above, lol! We need to be careful to make the Bible our standard and not just a vague notion of faith and love. Otherwise, we’ll be living by a secular philosophy that runs on feelings and our variable standards. More grace in your journey with the Lord!

  • John Onyekachi Ezeh

    I humbly wish to advise our Christian brothers not to be in haste to draw conclusions on issues they don’t ‘ve adquate knowledge on.
    Passing judgement on the basis of sentiment or physical appearance of things will make them end up passing wrong judgement.
    It’s more preferable to understand the intent of some cultural practices and the position of the Bible on those practices before
    passing judgement.
    I grew up in Northern Nigeria. I am privy to some aspects of Hausa culture.
    “Laali” looks like moringa leaf. Used basically for designing and decorations.
    Most Hausa families have “Laali” plants in their compound.
    As little children in those days, my siblings and I would often get henna (Laali) from our Hausa friends and use it to decorate our finger nails.
    Hausa girls use it to design their heels and make other temporary tattoos on their body. Decoration of new wives (ameria) is done using henna.
    It’s on this grounds that I’m saying unequivocally that this culture of dying and decoration of the Hausas has no spiritual undertone, else children would not be allowed access to it, let alone non-indiginous ones.
    Christians should be accommodating enough. They should allow people to come to God as they are and allow God to do the making.
    This is my two cents.

    • Your two cents is very rich. Thank you for sharing your experience growing up with us. I hope you can speak Hausa very well. May you be decorated and celebrated in Jesus’ name.

  • Anekwe Paschaline Chidera

    Amen. I believe one can keep the faith and still uphold their tradition so long as it’s not sinful. I don’t think there is anything wrong with hand arts, it’s just a traditional way of beautification and it’s beautiful.

  • Ejiofor Emmanuel

    I have the same take as you on this. Everything shouldn’t be taken too religious. Your friend’s case is simply beautification and nothing else. I mean, Jesus wouldn’t have had an issue with someone who beautified herself with temporal art that does not in any show indecency or ungodliness.

  • Richards Orighomisan Mercy

    Reading this post just strengthened my conviction on a decision I took earlier today. I think Apostle Paul has said it all- ‘anything done outside of faith is sin’. Let every man who has the spirit of God in Him and has sustained the ability to hear and listen to Him be convinced by Him.

  • Awaka Vivian oluch

    I really do not see anything wrong in having beautifully drawn patterns on your hands or feet with the traditional henna, so long as it isn’t a tattoo. It is a harmless culture, especially with northerners which have existed for ages. It doesn’t have anything to do with spirituality.

  • Oforgu Augustine

    I could recall an encounter with a member of the lords chosen rival ministry… I use to wear singlet when am freely at home..but wearing it to buy stuff at the grocery store down the street. Boom it turns a sin.
    He called me and gave me advise not to repeat such again

  • Chukwuemeka Ifunanya Abigail.

    This question has been running through my mind for a long time, that is the reason why I decided to see your opinion on the issur. Thank you so much, ma. I’m blessed.

  • Ndubuisi peace udoka

    Thank you, ma, for this interesting topic. Few weeks ago when I was about returning to school from Kaduna, I wanted to apply laali on my hands but my parents won’t let me do it, simply because they saw it as an abomination.

  • Stephen Chinagorum Happiness

    Art, Culture and Faith is one of the best Seminar topics that will not only change people’s ideology but will also teach one to serve God not pastor, lecturer, choir mistress… Put on your jean, rock your decoration, if you’re comfortable with it. Thank you ma’am! For the wonderful post. Thou art blessed amongst women!

  • Obiaga ifunanya

    Is this being tribalistic? Because if it actually is from a place of tribalism it really surprises me how backward people could be in their way of thinking.
    It’s also really sad how people are so quick to judge and condemn others because of how they see some certain things without considering whatever reason it could be the other person decides to do whatever it is they do. I find drawing henna really attractive and beautiful.

  • Obi Chisom Vanessa

    These are usually sensitive matters to Christians especially churches but I do agree with you as it quotes “…anything that will cause your brother or sister to fall…” because people are always so quick to judge and to point fingers for things as little as henna on the hands. I hope more people get to see and understand this part of the Word. Another good piece Ma!

  • Abah Okpe Gabriel

    Its very funny at times when people jump to conclusions without having proper knowledge of things, especially religion. How on earth is henna an abominable thing and termed as evil? I could remember as a young boy growing up in the village, the girls usually decorate their bodies with laali and we would beg them to do same for us; our grannies never told us it’s evil.
    I think Christianity should be focusing more on the inner being rather than the outward look of a man.
    Thank you, ma, for sharing this awesome piece.

  • Nkwocha chibueze Innocent

    I think as christians whatever we do with our body should be to the glory of God, at the other side of it, we don’t have the right to judge anyone, whatever we do should be according to the scriptures as christians, even the people judging her might even be doing things worst than the drawing on her hands.

  • Wilfred, Chigozirim Wisdom

    What one doesn’t know he tries to magnify!

  • Ochei Anthony Arinze

    I totally agree with you, ma’am. We need to live a life that is worthy to be emulated because people are looking up to us.

  • Okoli Ezinne Juliet

    This is a very great write-up and we should learn a lot from it. We shouldn’t judge people cause even the Almighty judges the heart of men and not the outward appearance. Mama, this a marvelous and wonderful work.


    It is a nice work. Christianity is a matter of heart that is in tandem with a strong faith in God. Hence, any activity that we engage which does not run contrary to the will of God nor limit our communication with him will only lead us to him, as well as other people. This is because a christian does not live in isolation, he or she must identify with other people in the society, either through cultural activities, business or community work for the common good of all.

  • Emmanuel Ngozi Treasure

    Such an inspiring piece Ma. I’m a lover of art and culture, and I do not see any problem whatsoever wrong with one having body canvas specially that, that celebrates art or culture.. Moreso, fanaticism is the major problem Christians are facing not religion.

  • Faith ,culture, and art has been one the problems we are facing .But for me I will say it is based on individual understanding. my opinion is ,in doing what pleases you or what you think is the right thing, at the expense or detriment of another is good to refrain .

  • Ngene Bob Charles

    Well..I’m not surprised we still have Christians that are far from being openminded. There’s really nothing wrong with body painting, its art and I’m pretty sure God is a fan of art..afterall he made the prettiest art work of all..this planet..Earth

  • Elizabeth Uchenna

    Thank you ma’am for this wonderful piece. we should live our life to our taste because God that allow all this art works to exist made it so for us to beautify ourselves with it so we shouldn’t be listening to what people will say.

  • Ogbozor Chiamaka Zillah

    Thank you a thousand times for this write up,… actually my friend has also been questioned about this palm beautification but to her she felt like it’s just a part of aesthetics since she’s a make up artist. But some older people around her condemns that act by saying that it’s only the Indian brides or other people’s culture that since she’s an Igbo girl she shouldn’t practice other people’s culture rather she should adapt to her own culture.
    And with all these sayings, they don’t just come as piece of advice rather they’re being judgemental about the whole issue. but to me I know that she does that for fun.
    I really appreciate this your topic ma, I’ll definitely encourage her to go through this blog because I think she’ll learn more from it.

  • Personally I see things like this as a form of tattoo, and I perceive tattoos to be bad whether it’s temporary or not…

  • This is interesting. But why would someone in this 21st century still believe /think that our traditional body art is a sin or that it has spiritual attachments??? Our own tradition?? Even the Europeans that brought the church they asked your dear friend not to come to with those beautiful designs enjoy the arts.
    Just as you have said, those arts made with dyes are part of our make up in the olden days so those people calling it spiritual should also not use the modern make-up up kit that was brought from the west.
    Is it when all our culture goes extinct that they will rest??

  • Ogbuowelu Anthony Uchrlechukwu

    Such an insightful read, Ma. In as much as what one wears matters, it’s also good to dress decently- not only that it’s good but also to maintain a sane society with decreased incidents of sexual harassment.

    The decent dressing can reduce any unforeseen reactions from the public both good and bad.

    Moreover, anybody can wear what makes them decently fine. Applying makeup is no exception. Not only for the good of society but also to glorify God’s name and live by His words!

  • Nwalutum Chisom Doreen

    I vividly remember when I was once condemned because I used cowries for my hair. People in same faith with us should really try to understand what beautification is all about and not just condemn and make people look inferior.
    God bless you, Ma, for this digestive piece!

  • Amaugo, Stephanie Chidinma

    Thank you so much Ma for this! I like the balance in this post. We shouldn’t do things that will embolden others to go in that direction and get into trouble. God bless you Ma

  • Aṅulika Iwoba

    I don’t like henna. In fact, I wouldn’t describe the decorations done with it in the hands and legs as beautiful.
    But my friend who grew up in the North, wears the decorations and even charges people some money to draw the patterns on their bodies. As a matter of fact, I keep the money she makes from that for her haha…
    Thank you so much ma for this.
    It is quite unfortunate that our ideas of morality, is for us the standard and when we encounter people who share completely different ideas, we take on an attitude of self righteousness and become judgmental particularly when we don’t understand the basis of their beliefs.
    We should be more tolerant and understanding and also try to adjust our lives when our actions have the capacity to negatively affect others.

  • Onah Kenneth C

    Yes. That’s love for your neighbor…

  • Blessing Chris Okeke

    Reading posts like this give us better insights on so many misconceptions about body art and Christianity. Religion and morality have made us put standards not necessary and built walls blocking our unity. This is definitely an eye-opener. Thank you, ma’am.

  • Iwuh Donald

    Great stuff ma! and really expository too. I for one, am just learning the name of this but have been of its beauty and I am in no way against its usage by anyone who loves it. but the takeaway from your post is the need for moderation!!.

  • Erilem Happiness Chinaza

    Thank you for sharing your thought on this. I have always considered this topic very controversial.

    I agree with you on not doing things capable of leading others astray.
    We should not just consider ourselves but others who look up to us.

    I love the hienna designs. Once had one for a birthday shoot.

  • Jibulu Ngozi

    No one wants to embrace the old ways of the igbo culture where uhi was use as a beauty enhancement. There is no wrong in the application of henna or laali as it’s widely known in Nigeria. God won’t make something like that if he does not have a use for it.
    I’m glad you wrote something about this and I see no wrong in people using them if they are comfortable with it

  • Before now, whenever I see believers with permanent tattoos all over their bodies, I can’t help but doubt their belief in Christ. However it could also be that they used to have those tattoos even before they became believers and because they can’t take it out, they embrace it as scars that reminds them that they have been saved. I realized that everyone has a place of peace in their hearts in whatever they do according to Christ’s love.

  • Isaac sopuruchi peace

    Ma, if these ones are not wrong or not a sin simply because they are not permanent, then why is tattoo considered a sin.
    No offense.

    • I’m not sure we categorically said tattooing is sinful and although tattoos are not easy to remove, they can be surgically removed (for example) if one is determined. I think it all boils down to what you want to do with your body. If you have a flower or bird tattooed on your arm with no symbolic message attached, that’s fine, but if you tattoo demonic symbols on yourself as a way of dedicating your body to the devil and evil spirits, then that would be sinful because our body should be the temple of the Holy Spirit.

  • Maduabuchi Christiana

    I remembered when someone was telling me about Catholics worshipping idol instead of God.
    Don’t criticise people because nobody is perfect in this eorld.

  • Oshana Oyaku Endurance

    For me I think, as much as we don’t need to be too religious… We need to draw a line when it comes to religious stuffs. Yes, it was just a normal painting, but then a normal painting on the body of a spirit filled child of God, just for fun? No na, A Strong Muslim believer will never try to wear the Catholic rosary just for fun, never. I think it is so not right, little things matter.

  • Chigbu Ngozi

    Honestly, I love Paul’s advice. He didn’t say we should keep off, he said we shouldn’t let our activities make other people sin. That is the whole truth, the body art is beautiful and innocent. I don’t think it will in any way cause a human to sin, so I feel the fetish beliefs and judgement people pass is inappropriate.

    Thank you ma.

    • Igwe Chioma Esther

      In my opinion,we should learn how to appreciate Art and not associate it with a certain superstitious belief.

  • Ezeh chimezie Amos

    This is interesting. But why would someone in this 21st century still believe /think that our traditional body art is a sin or that it has spiritual attachments??? Our own tradition?? Even the Europeans that brought the church they asked your dear friend not to come to with those beautiful designs enjoy the arts.
    Just as you have said, those arts made with dyes are part of our make-up in the olden days, so those people calling it spiritual should also not use the modern make-up up kit that was brought from the West.
    Is it when all our culture goes extinct that they will rest??

  • I remember when I started putting on makeup and nails that was the same persecution that I faced…I had to change them as friends because I knew deep down that my faith wasn’t detached from Christ because of what I put on…

  • Paschal Odigonma Victoria

    There are diverse cultures in this world. If we do not agree with that of another, it is not our duty to point fingers. Treat people with love and do not go about downgrading people’s way of life.

  • Nzubechi Victor

    Art is part of human life and should be embraced with appropriate understanding, it’s erroneous that our society sees otherwise in it’s works.

  • Nzubechi Victor

    Whatsoever is not done out of faith is sin.
    If our hearts do not condemn us, then we do not stand condemned.
    That’s my own take

  • Like the lady who has the art on her hands said, it’s a harmless thing that most girls in the North are associated with. It’s more like their culture, they design their hands and feet during festive periods like Sallah, birthdays, weddings etc. I think why most people do not appreciate or associate with especially in the East, its because of the downside of it, by this I mean the Instrument used for the art(laali) most people produce the fake and when used on people’s hands, it’s makes the hand swollen.
    I heard from a lady staying in my previous lady of how she adorned the art and decided to give it a trial, a week later her hands began to swell with rashes too.

    For me, I love the art and appreciate it as well as I find it so fanciful.

  • This is an interesting post judging from the fact that I’ve lived all my life in the North. Growing up, i’ve always wished to have the laali designs on my legs and hands but that didn’t happen because my parents also viewed it as bad. That hindered me from drawing such patterns. But over the years I got to realise that there was no spiritual implication to the laali design, It’s just a harmless design adorned mostly by Northern women. It’s just like their make-up, women in the North adorn their bodies with laali during special occasions like weddings, sallah, child dedication etc.
    I view this as a beautiful artwork which needs to be appreciated.

  • Ukwuani OGECHUKWU Cynthia

    Wow, this reminds me of the people who judge others and look at them with disdain. Body art works are nice and acceptable to me as long as it is not detrimental to the society. Well, it is not of the body, but the heart that God judges.

  • Abasiofon Nkem

    Loud it ma! I even reduced my makeup because tongues were wagging ..Makeup doesn’t define someone. It’s just art

  • Anokwuru Catherine Ihuoma

    This topic really clears a lot of things up for me. As one who really likes wearing make-up, I’ve had a lot of judgemental stares following me that I had to put it off. But this post has just made me realise that my wearing makeup doesn’t come from a place of sin so why should I stop wearing it just because of what people say. So many people (I’m not exempted) just follow whatever they’re told is wrong or right without actually discerning it from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit should be the first we go to whenever we are confused on what is right or wrong because he is our guide and he won’t guide you to a wrong path.

  • omeje Cynthia

    The very truth about all this is knowing what faith actually is and its relation to one’s culture. Christianity is excerpt of the Jewish culture and as such, in the pages of the Bible u can see it being displayed. and the very truth is that no one’s culture is superior to others. But even at that, we owe the society responsible conduct in all our doings. in that regards, our focus should be more about the positive impacts our act exudes to the society for that is the true religion and that is what the Bible teaches. Trying to castigate or judge someone based on ur thoughts and opinions is wrong and the Bible condemns it. in conclusion, let our conduct be in a way, not trying to please any man but that which is good and acceptable to all.

    • Your last sentence (conclusion) is contradictory. You advise not to seek to please anyone and still call for conduct acceptable to all, which includes anyone and is even impossible to accomplish. Cheers!

      • Omeje cynthia

        Well, that’s connotative, in the sense that we should not try to please a set of people but that in which when weighed in the balance of general societal values we might not be found wanting.Of course everyone of us owes the Society good conduct but we shouldn’t be men pleasers.

  • Unigwe Juliet chiemelie

    This is just a harmless adornment!!! …..some people make big issues out of nothing ….well done ma !

  • Agbodike ogochukwu Maryclaret

    Oh great, to think I’m not the only one who thinks this way. People have to stop being shallow-minded and focus instead on what is really wrong or bad simply because it elicits negative or unpleasant reactions from merely committing these acts. Something is not wrong by its nature, but by what the reactions it can get from people by mere exposure or display of it, more so body decorations? Ha!

    • What do you mean by “Somethong is not wrong by its nature but by the reactions” to it? That is stretching my position too far. It’s like saying there is no right and wrong.

  • Odoh Ogechukwu Augusta

    Body art is beautiful and everyone has a choice to do whatever they so please with their body. I really did enjoy reading. Nice piece ma.

  • Egenti jennifer

    My friend recently got her nose pierced and one time we were taking pictures and this woman walks up to us and starts going on about how it belongs to witches, how it is used to initiate people and all this yada yada occult and then funnily she ended it with ” but then again, it’s your body, your choice”. I was really amused because her first opinion wasn’t even necessary at all. If she had the “your body, your choice” notion prioritised, she wouldn’t have even walked up to us. At the end of the day, it’s their body, it’s their choice. We should not make people feel bad for what they choose to do with it. Religion has been there before we were born so I don’t see any reason why you would know everything about your faith to be able to Judge someone else. Everything I know about God is what I was told. It is up to us to distinguish between being a Christian and being outrightly judgemental. Thank you ma

  • Ominaki pamela

    This is a very interesting post, well from my point of view, I think being a Christian doesn’t stop one from participating in harmless cultural activities. Come to think of it we were first Africans before we were Christians, so I think u can participate in cultural practices like this and they have nothing to do with spirituality or being tied to the devil, like some think.

  • Oba Cindy Biobele

    If we as humans listen to the opinions of everyone around us, we’ll end up losing ourselves and becoming people we don’t even recognize. Stand for your beliefs and do what’s right.

  • Ikechebelu Ginika Francisca

    One thing about Nigerians is that they believe so much in religious doctrines. And once Mr. A is doing what is contrary to Mr. B’s doctrine, Mr. A is termed unclean or a sinner and vice versa.

  • Okafor Emmanuel chukwunwike

    This is a very interesting write up. You have done justice to something that has been prevailing in the lives of many. I do hope that many more people who are caught in a similar situation will be able to read this post.

  • Chidebe uchechukwu cyprian

    most christian’s today judge people by their mode of dressing, make-up, hair cuts, etc. But they failed to comprehend that all these doesn’t make one evil or good, because God himself is a spiritual being, looks through the heart not by physical appearance. mind you, some person’s might be dressing well, no make but they worst that the devil. To me, I don’t believe in accessing people by their physical out look appearance or dressing, because dressing doesn’t define anybody but rather by the content of your character. I love this particular topic.. ma, thank you for this sensitization, like you said, the art work on her finger was a gift from her students. I don’t see anything bad with it, it doesn’t attenuate her faith in God. Our problem with today christian’s is that they over do most times.

  • Chidebe uchechukwu cyprian

    The problem with today’s christian’s is that they judge people life style from the perspective of dressing, make- up, haircut, art beautification etc which is very wrong. They way people dress sometimes doesn’t depict their lifestyles. Like the story of this woman, who happened to be beautified by her students, that art work on her hand does not attenuate her faith or moral standard as a Christian.. to me, being religious is not a bad ideas, but the problem Is when people are too fanatical In religion when it comes to things that doesn’t count.. Ma, thank you so much for writing of this topic, because most of us see as a criteria to differentiate between people with good character and those with bad character which is not wise idea..

  • Thank you so much ma! For this beautiful piece, have learnt a lot especially from the Bible passage “Romans 14” gave me a better understanding of the story, I just hope that a lot of people without a clear view on subjects like this come across this post!


    Human,why have you made yourselves too judgemental why making our views to threaten the living room of someone else just imagine that lady got poisoned herself because she was accused of been possessed by the evil spirit just because she has art works on her hands and because the art work is not from our own cultural practice
    Early Christians with sighs and drawings (art work)easily communicate with one another during the persecution some had it on walls clothes perhaps on their hands
    Culture is peoples way of life and not fetish way of existence some traditions are bad but this is just a mere art work
    Olden days princesses and queens especially of Igbo’s look very well their faces and hands those drawings are not evil but beauty remedy
    A white can’t abolish his culture for Christianity
    Africans let’s keep our heritage.

  • As the saying goes different strokes for different folks.
    I think when it comes to cultural activities,one has to really understand various arts what it symbolises.
    I think no body should be criticised for what they choose to do.

  • Leonard Ugwu

    Everything should be done moderately, body arts aren’t bad if it is beautifully and moderately done. When it is too much, you might be tempting, or leading someone else to sin, especially when there is change in perception.

  • Anabude Oluchi m.

    Well there is nothing wrong with art, only that most people have some kind of belief about it but it should not be generalized….
    Keep up the wonderful work, Ma!

  • Haruna Precious Ikilama

    We’ve all probably heard of the law of atraction, that is, opposites attract while same things repel each other. First, as an individual i find it deeply refreshing to learn and sometimes try out people’s culture and i know some people share the same view as me. Secondly, as a northerner traditional body art or heena isn’t new to me and while I’m quite familiar with its spiritual implications i strongly believe that what you believe in will come to you. The human mind send out signals that attracts what we want it to bring and we may consciously or unconsciously play a role through our actions to fuel our beliefs.
    In the nutshell, we should be openminded and as apostle paul aptly asserts we should take a stance on what we believe is right or wrong. He said
    “Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. 21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.”
    This should be a guiding principle for everyone.

  • Oruma Nneoma Goodnews

    I used to be a very very judgemental person but recently i satrted working on myself.What you judge as right may be wrong for someone else and vive versa.God is the chief judge.We should leave all to him to judge.Accept people the way they are and if acceptance becomes difficult, then try to correct or admonish them

  • Adebanjo Adenike Rebecca

    I must say I love the artwork. Mixing faith with adornment such as the woman in this inspirational post, is not a bad thing. What one perceived as bad or unclean should incline with one’s conscience, which means God personal affirmation and restrain from doing things that are not right.

  • Abiayi Ifeonuchukwu

    It’s always stated that God judges the heart of men, not the outward appearance. There’s also another part in the bible that states that we shouldn’t judge or we will be judged. I don’t know why it’s hard for people to accept one another the way we are just like Christ did. We constantly condemn people’s dressing, hairstyles or even food that relates to their culture all in the name of spirituality.
    May God open our eyes to see our faults because when we condemn people, it can in a way make us become a stumbling block to their salvation or blessings.
    God bless you ma’am for this post.

  • Ndukwe Akwara

    Well I didn’t see anything wrong with one having hena on her fingers but since ma u said she is a Christian, and so people have a wrong impression because of how her drawing. She should clear it from her finger because the Bible say if know something u do that might take a brother or sister away from faith(in Christ Jesus) you should desist from it.

    • Those people attacking her were not in danger of losing their faith, not at all! They felt secure in their faith and thought she was in danger of losing hers.

  • Body art work doesn’t mean that a person is bad. Thank you, ma! I am encouraged.


    A hug from me 2 U ma, God bless U abundantly. I wanted to ask a question if what U are doing in faith is making another to stumble, will u continue doing it on the basis U are doing it in faith, but U answered it aptly and scripturally.

    • Hugs to you too! Cheers!

    • Nkan David

      We should learn to hear from people first, before making conclusion..And let’s not forget that judgement isn’t for us to make, but for God alone….

      Thanks alot Ma, for never being in a haste to make a conclusion about someone through mere appearance alone…

  • Obiosa Oluchukwu Reward

    Art work is just a reflection of culture. even in the old testament, The ark of God was described as an art.
    Thank you ma for this wonderful piece.

  • Chilaka Vivian

    As a child of God , the matter to be considered first is, who is the one leading you to do what you do? God’s concern is not whether it’s my culture or not but who leads me to do whatever I do.

  • To me anything one feels is evil and sees as evil then such person should abstain from it.

  • Ajah Ugochi Agnes

    The way people judge others this day is highly alarming. Our beliefs are different. What I believe works for me and vice versa. Drawing of henna to me is not a bad thing, it is just like painting your nails. You see people say don’t wear earrings because it a sin and they go as far as quoting the Bible to you. One thing I know for sure is, whatever you do that supersedes God is seen as a sin. When you can’t do without a thing, especially if you don’t get that thing you cannot worship God, then that thing is your God. I reiterate, whatever you believe works very fine for you.

  • Sochi

    If I am to say my mind I will say that only God has the right to judge but unfortunately,some people on earth (like those that told the woman not to go to church until the dye fades) are already judging others on earth and it’s not good.

  • Ibeh Lorretta Chiamaka

    Everyone has their own perspective about what is wrong and right. If u believe that having such design is wrong don’t go about criticizing other people who involved in such act, for it’s wrong.

  • This problem of this our generation is that we judge things based on our perception and not according to the word of God. Biblically I didn’t see anything wrong about this particular body art work because the not not tatoo.

  • Sambo Deborah Friday

    I believe that we should always do things with the consciousness that other people watching our actions.

  • Judging of people is common among Christian in the society. Going to the aspect of Culture,It mighty be seen as decoration at the northern side and see evil at eastern side that is cultural difference. As well as Faith I thinks the reason why there are not allow in Church is to avoid distraction in the church.

  • Eze Nelson Emeka

    Tattoos are not bad, depending on the motive of the carrier. But in our society, it is seen as a bad figure.

  • The fact that you don’t do something’s doesn’t make those doing it bad people. Everyone has the right to choice. No one is qualified to judge.


      Sincerely speaking art works are not bad. The problem here is that people misinterpret things. The fact that you don’t like something doesn’t give you the right to condemn it.
      Still, we should dress or always appear in a way that will not affect others’ faith negatively.

  • Chukwumalume Ozioma

    In all that we do, we should ensure that we are at peace with God and that our actions don’t lead our fellow humans to sin. We should also learn to be appreciative of our various cultures and their arts.

  • Onah chiamaka Gloria

    There are cultural differences in every tribe and country, so we are not meant to judge outward appearance of people, my cultural beliefs may be a Taboo in your own community.

  • My take on this case is that we should just stand for what we believe and we shouldn’t use it against others. We all have different ways we see things.

  • Asogwa Christian Tochukwu

    We must be willing to relate to others in less judgmental way.

  • Onoh Chinenye

    Apostle Paul has already said it all concerning matters like this, “whatever is not done from faith is sin”
    We shouldn’t judge others or term actions bad solely because we are not partaking in them. See the number of problems behaving like this has caused in our societies today with respect to the consequences of Religious fanaticism and extremism. Systems of faith and belief have now become the driving force for some of the most brutal wars and disputes.
    The way is simply to live your life, promote your belief in a respectful way and just mind your business!

  • Nwokedi Fortune Odinakachi

    It’s really controversial; trying to balance arts, culture and faith, or even differentiating between arts and culture. Sometimes I even get confused, even when trying to agree that it’s a thing of belief.

  • Alaedu Chioma Gloria

    I grew up with the knowledge that tattoos /henna is an act of desecrating the body
    My mum will always say”my body is the temple of the Lord” so I should avoid any form of drawings
    Though I’m now enlightened about such I still can’t try it to avoid getting disowned

    Thank you ma for this

  • Onah chiamaka Gloria

    Application of henna is a cultural significant, and is also a means of adornment for ladies expecially for notherners and there is no spiritual attachment to it ,,, but tattoos doesn’t say good about d carrier, people that draw tattoos on their body in my place are seen as irresponsible people, because our cultural value is against it, in some countries it may not be a wrong thing, but in my place in particular, it is seen as a wayworld life style because it is believed that there is an evil spirit attached to it

  • Ekeh Maryann C

    I would like to believe that there is no actual belief system in Christ aside from following his precepts, so drawing a temporary design on the hand should not lead to criticism

  • John Adoyi

    I don’t think there is anything wrong in beautifying oneself as far as it is decent enough and it is not against the Christian doctrine.

  • Chukwu Joy Chioma

    This is not surprising. These days, most if not all forms of natural or even local beautification are condemned and judged by people even when one’s intentions are pure.

  • Elijah Akuma

    I think that we should not forget the harmless aspects of our cultures with the reason that we are Christians. God sent each to a tribe; which means that culture was God’s idea. The Bible says that on the last day, people from every nation and tribe shall gather….there was no reference made to denominations. So let’s learn how to embrace the harmless aspects of our cultures. Thank you Ma for this piece.

  • Ede Ndidiamaka Patience

    Ma, you are right. Matthew 7:1 states: Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you. People like judging others without knowing that nobody is perfect. The message is direct, “Nothing is clean itself” it’s about not doing things that will cause others to sin.

  • Amalu precious

    Culture and Religion are intertwined and each is backed up by faith and eventually becomes a way of life. So I believe, one’s faith goes with what he/she believes .?

  • Ezema Johnmartins Kelechi

    People should dress descent, look good and presentable before others. I don’t like it when people impose some harsh laws on others in the name of Christianity or religion even to the extent that some sees application of cream to be a sin and you just have to see them look so scary before others. I think God himself appreciates beauty and that’s why all he created were good.

  • Igboka chidimma

    I believe that this write up will change peoples point of view on this beautiful work of art.

  • Uwadiegwu Mercy Amarachi

    Interesting …. We christians are taking all this things too far in the name of christianity…. Polishing of nails, drawing of henna on our body and even make up can’t defile us from the things of God or make us loose our faith as a believe … As long as there is no spiritual attachment to them, then it doesn’t matter. But if we know the our faith does not accept those things, it better we stop them.

  • Ibaro Harrison Chidalu

    A very catchy caption! Thanks for this enlightenment ma! Good knowledge of these concepts will help to moderate our decisions as Christians and not to totally condemn or embrace some practices and beliefs out of ignorance.

  • Iyorakpo Dorathy

    First of all I want to thank you ma for this beautiful write-up. I believe that what a person believes works for him or her and as such no body has the right to judge anyone based on first glance or approach.

  • What I feel is that one should do whatever makes one happy…. people will still talk no matter what you do.

    • Duru Gift Onyinyechi

      Religion didn’t come to abolish our Culture. Do whatever you feel is right. We should live a life of emulation,so we should be conscious of what we do.

  • People’s culture and belief are different, just because you don’t believe in other’s culture doesn’t mean you just discriminate them because of their own belief and culture.

  • Sunday Chenka Esther

    All things are lawful but not all things are expedient..As Christians even in the bid to be cultural, we should pray for Grace not to cause the weaker ones to sin.

  • Achor Ojoche gift

    My culture my heritage, I believe our culture and believe values are intertwined and as such we shouldn’t throw away our culture because of religion and faith. I believe that’s why even in the Bible the apostles didn’t condemn the culture but justified it. Jesus said, I haven’t come to condemn the law but to justify it. Just like you said all we need is to be conscious in the spirit as to not lead others astray.

  • Manifest Eja

    I don’t think there is anything wrong in displaying ones culture. Culture should be appreciated and not rejected as far as it is not indecent.

  • Orazulume udochukwu victoria

    In conclusion ma, judgment is meant for us ….it’s only God that has a say in our life’s.
    Thank you ma for this post …have a blessed week!!

  • Agbedo Ebubechukwu

    These body artworks are actually very beautiful, although some people condemn it as a result of superstition or so. Well since the owner of the body it was drawn on is okay with it I don’t see why this should be an issue

  • Ugwu Mmesoma

    People should stop criticising others or throwing stones at them because of their appearance. As long as there are no spiritual attachment to them,then it doesn’t matter

  • Ben-Egbe Nneoma Andrea

    Honestly, I really like that you have an idea on anything and everything. You are really very bright and well read.
    Your articles are beautiful.

  • Anayo ijeoma

    I believe every culture have their own style of fashion and beauty ,so there’s nothing wrong in applying laali in the case of northerners.

  • Aguguesi God'sfavour Idimmachukwu

    God judges the intents of the heart,not the outward appearance. This should sink in to us as believers, I have seen occasions where a person was wearing trousers who helped me when I needed it most and someone who was perceived as churchy and rendered no help.
    Sorry to say most people we perceive as bad are really the good ones


    My take is that nothing is harmful and detrimental to her physique or her stand in her faith.

  • Olenyi Nnamdi Paul

    What can you say about youths of nowadays wearing earring, Gay marriage, lesbianism, prostitution, (some may claim they are using what they have to get what they want), sex tourism, Boko Haram insurgence who believe western education is sin…these are sins done in open, in the name of their own so-called belief. Our belief may be right to us, but to the society at large is very wrong. HOW DO WE MARRY BOTH?

  • Agelege Edward

    It’s is not our place to judge but to show the light. I personally, do not have a problem with the henna design.

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