Should Christians Get Plastic Surgery?

I rarely re-run posts. But this past week, I was reading an article from Juli Slattery on Is It Wrong to Get Plastic Surgery? She did an excellent job covering the questions involved with such a big decision.

FashionHowever, Juli Slattery mentions that she’s considered plastic surgery and decided against it. I also considered plastic surgery, and did it. So I wanted to revisit the topic and explain my own thoughts on whether it’s okay to have plastic surgery, from someone who went through it.

First inward, then outward. I have a friend who lost 90+ pounds in a year and went from obese to oh-babe! How did she manage that? I think it’s because she got her inner self right first. She stopped looking at herself in the mirror and seeing a fat person. Instead, she saw the beautiful woman inside and decided she was worth something better. Once she believed in herself, willing to see herself as God saw her, she felt empowered to do the hard work of changing her diet and exercise routine so that she realized her goals.

That’s often how body image improves — not by fixing the external parts first, but rather by appreciating the unique way God knitted you together (Psalm 139:13). You are wonderfully made, beauty! If you’re looking for plastic surgery to resolve your inner self-image issues, you’ll likely be disappointed. Satisfaction with who you are must come first from within. It’s from an understanding of who God created you to be.

Those poor women who have procedure after procedure after procedure never get this. They’re always looking for another outside fix for what really ails them inside. Get your priorities straight and work on your inner self first. It’s only from a position of inner, emotional health that you can make the right decision on what to do to improve your body for health or appearance.

Some things really are a matter of degree. Some Christians believe that it is wrong to have plastic surgery, that altering your appearance is going against God’s design.

Yet we do plenty of everyday things that involve aesthetic reasons, like bracing our kids’ teeth and wearing make-up and coloring our hair. Plus, we correct appearance that goes awry, like skin grafts after fire damage or breast implants after a mastectomy. Before announcing that all plastic surgery is off-limits, we might want to pause and ask what appearance-altering steps we’ve taken and what makes those okay and not others.

Because honestly, some things are a matter of degree. Eating is perfectly fine, but the Bible certainly warns against gluttony. Jesus attended a wedding with wine, but drunkenness is always spoken against in scripture. A little spice in the bedroom is rather wonderful, but an obsession with more and more kink becomes unhealthy. Likewise, some enhancements of our appearance would seem just fine, while extreme changes can become problematic.

And the question is then: What constitutes “extreme”? Is it numerous procedures? Surgery itself? Any changes to your appearance?

I suspect most people would agree on where the ends of the continuum are, but it’s that middle section of what’s a-okay that we struggle with. And we should. We should struggle to answer that question. Because if we are considering something as invasive as surgery, we need to ask some hard questions of ourselves and ensure that our choices honor God.

But I also suspect that my answer of where to draw the line might be different from the answer of another Christian whom I love and respect. And that’s where our own soul-searching and conscience come to bear.

For you, not someone else. I did not get bigger breasts for my husband. In fact, my husband was originally opposed to me having breast augmentation, because he was concerned about me undergoing surgery of any kind that wasn’t absolutely necessary (that sweet man). We talked about the pros and cons for a while, and he agreed with my conclusion and supported my decision. But I didn’t do it for him. I did it for me.

I’m always taken aback by the number of women who have plastic surgery as a “gift” to their man. And the number of men who request that. Having plastic surgery because you don’t feel like enough for your lover isn’t a great reason. Indeed, it’s likely to make you feel that you don’t measure up generally — that you’re only acceptable if you can “correct” whatever external appearance issues you have. And love looks beyond that.

Of course I wanted my husband to have more to handle in the bedroom, but that wasn’t my ultimate reason. My husband had already chosen me — flat chest and all. For most husbands, it’s about how much they love us and the feminine form itself. So as long as we wives show up (especially naked), they’re reasonably happy. We don’t have to look like magazine models or waste time and money fixing imagined flaws.

When considering plastic surgery, ask why. Is it for your own convenience and confidence or to feel like you measure up to an unrealistic standard for the sake of someone else? At the end of the day, you will be the one having surgery, you will be the one living with the results, you will be the one changed. So make sure it’s what you want.

Obviously, I wanted to have plastic surgery, I made the decision to do so, and I do not regret it. I’ve been open on my website about my own doubts about plastic surgery, my process and reasons for deciding to augment, and my concerns about jumping in too eagerly to solve body image issues. I’d like to hear your perspective.

When do you believe it’s okay for Christians to have plastic surgery? Have you had any procedures? Why did you choose to do it and what was your experience?

28 thoughts on “Should Christians Get Plastic Surgery?

  1. vincent

    God created us unique being. So any christian that carry out plastic surgery is indirectly telling GOD “ I don`t like the way you made me.“

    As christians, we should be proud of the way GOD made us and should not join unbelievers, to do what they are doing. By unbelievers, I mean people who don`t know GOD .

    1. J Post author

      I do not in any way feel that I was telling God I didn’t like the way He made me, any more than when my parents fixed my birth defect. It’s your prerogative to feel that way, but I obviously have a different take. I should not be equated with an unbeliever. Blessings!

  2. j

    Thanks for sharing your story and questions. I, too, have struggled in answering, “What is okay before the Lord to do to my appearance?” I never thought I would color my hair, because I thought it was vain. Then I started graying at age 21 and had to go before the Lord and ask, “What should I do, Jesus? Is it okay for me to color this gray? Do I have freedom?”

    My main concerns about plastic surgery have often been my judgments about the “waste” of money. But, as Christians, we spend our money on all sorts of things that are not necessary (and the money could be used for the poor). Again, we have to go before the Lord and listen to what He says. “Lord, may I buy this unnecessary purse? Ring? Home decoration? Car? Etc?” Often, we Christians are quick to judge others while we do the same things.

    Thanks for your openness. Thanks for making us think. Thanks for encouraging us toward seeking God in every area of our lives (from the bedroom outward).

    1. J Post author

      We do have a responsibility of stewardship, so making sure we could afford the procedure without affecting our family or charity giving was important to me and my husband. Thanks for bringing light to that.

      And I’m with you. I don’t currently dye my hair, but I always thought if I went prematurely gray, I’d reconsider. And somehow my definition of “prematurely gray” keeps moving up. Will I dye if it grays before 50? 60? We’ll see. LOL.

      Blessings!

  3. Anonymous

    This is definitely another one of those sticky topics in Christian circles – and I’m thankful that you are willing to be so open and honest about even your own experience. Sometimes being a Christian woman can be so lonely – as we struggle through so many of these issues that may not so black and white, and it can be too scary to even bring up the topic for fear of being blasted.

    As Christian women, we do not want to conform to the world’s image of beauty, but to God’s view of true beauty, which comes from our sanctification. Yet we still want to look as good as possible – without being totally focused on our outward selves. But sometimes our “flaws” can cause us to stumble too – when that’s all we see or think about. It definitely can be a struggle to find the right balance.

    So here I am, a mom with grown kids, having had 3 c-sections that left me with a blobby tummy that I absolutely hate. As I think back, I was so embarrassed about it that I was so often trying to hide from my husband – afraid that he’d be grossed out and reject me. But in my hiding, I ended up pushing him away – and he was the one feeling rejected.

    Since then we’ve talked about it (and all is well ☺) and although he’s not turned off by my tummy, it still bothers me. One day I said that I just wished I could get a tummy tuck, and he said he would be fine with that. It’s not about conforming to the world’s standard of “beauty”, but he understands how that might help me to feel better about myself. We’ve talked about it on and off for a few years, but I hesitant to really go through with it – really more afraid of being criticized by other Christians than anything else.

    But my husband is a conservative, godly man and I always respect his viewpoint, so I was feeling more and more ok about the decision and ready to go ahead and do it. Your post just helped me find a bit more peace of mind. Thank you.

    1. J Post author

      Do make sure you ask about what’s involved, side effects, and everything. I had a very good experience, but I never encourage someone to enter surgery lightly. I totally understand why you’d want to do that, though. Truly, some women have greater issues springing back from pregnancy — and you can’t predict ahead of time how that will all work out.

      I do suspect no one would know if you don’t tell them. If you don’t suddenly appear in spandex post-surgery, you can ease into a new look, and few people will ask. They’ll probably just think you bought a really fabulous pair of Spanx. 😉

      Blessings, Pam!

  4. Nella

    I had to have my breasts removed because of cancer at 22 years old. And even though I grew up in an environment and culture where plastic surgery was looked down on, I just couldn’t imagine going through life without breasts. My parents’ church insisted that it wouldn’t be so bad, it’s just a body part, that everything happens for a reason and that I could be a godly example to other young people etc but it still bothered me so much that I would cry myself to sleep at night. And when I had plastic surgery two years later it was like I had sinned and everyone made me feel like I wasn’t a Christian. It was really a hard time and I don’t think I would’ve made it if I didn’t move away. As Christians we can be so narrow minded and quick to judge one another’s actions on an issue (eg plastic surgery, tattoos etc)without really caring about why they did it or what you would do in the same situation and how it affects them. Sad.

    1. J Post author

      Oh, that makes my heart hurt! I would have told you to go get your breasts, for heaven’s sake. Cancer’s enough to deal with at age 22, without exacerbating your pain. I’m glad that cancer centers have figured this out too, how helping a patient regain their body can assist their overall healing.

      Blessings, Nella! And praise God you got through the cancer. You’re a survivor!

  5. Sara

    Such a timely piece for me as this is what has been on my mind a lot the past few weeks as I try to pray and discern what God would have me do. I have four kids but carried my twins full term and their combined weight was over 14lb so I was left with a massive overhang of skin which for 11 years I would love to have had taken away. I always felt I shouldn’t do it solely for vanity reasons. However I have recently been told I need a hernia repair and am about to have a consultation to see if a plastic surgeon could fix the hernia and the overhang at the same time. Kill two birds with one stone!! Still struggling each day with whether or not a Christian should even do this but my Christian husband has also been very supportive. He loves me with it and has always shown me that love but I know deep down of course he would also like it to be gone. My mind has been swinging both ways as I just finished a book about a missionary in Uganda and think there are those poor people don’t even know where their next meal is coming from and here I am worrying what my tummy looks like. But then on the other hand I’m going to have to have surgery anyway to have the hernia repaired and it still makes sense to have two things fixed under one anaesthetic if at all possible. You have certainly given me more to think about and I love your honesty and openness. My ultimate goal is to love God with all my heart and honour him in everything so I haven’t made up my mind yet. Xx

    1. J Post author

      You know, I have a feeling that God is honored that you are seeking Him so diligently in this decision. Leading up to my surgery, I talked to God a lot about my concerns, fears, stewardship, and more. It sounds like you’re approaching this decision with great care and good reasons. Also, kudos to your hubby for his support!

      Many blessings! And goodness! A hernia repair? Hope you’re feeling terrific soon!

  6. Pam

    Thanks for being so honest and bringing up points that are often difficult for a Christian to navigate. I am 51 and have had small breasts all of my life. (Yes, it can be very difficult to find lingerie that fits. Yes, I can easily share athletic jackets with my teenage son). My hair is also starting to gray (I blame the sudden acceleration on my oldest college age very strong willed child 😉 )
    I personally have decided to not color my hair. I view it as a natural part of life and I don’t think the expense or the harmfulness of the chemicals is necessary. I must admit there was a time when I really wanted to have bigger breasts – but my husband constantly reassures me that he loves my body just the way it is. I am very athletic and keep in good shape – so maybe that helps me to feel good about the way that I am. I view it as: “this is the way God made me and I can be just fine with that”. My friend’s mother chose to undergo many plastic surgeries and sadly died during her last procedure.
    I do not judge others for their choices, just as I hope others don’t judge my graying hair. I just think it is important to analyze your motives and take the issues to God.
    Thanks again-

    1. J Post author

      Yikes! I do think those who seek many procedures are not coming from that place of self-worth I talked about here. That makes my heart ache.

      And I think I’ll be joining you in the Gray Hair Society soon. My teenagers are helping me with that. 😉

  7. Keelie Reason

    I held the same opinion as some of the commentors on here that you shouldn’t have plastic surgery because it tells God you don’t like what he made. However, it was brought to my attention by a great friend that if I go with that line of reasoning, I shouldn’t dye my hair, shave, wax, wear makeup…anything that changes my appearance. That really made me stop and think.

    I’m a heavily endowed woman, and I can’t imagine the thought of having a implants because it isn’t needed for me. However, I have a dear friend that did have implants so that she could shop in the women’s section for bras. I love this friend, and she is a wonderful Christian lady. She got the surgery so she could feel sexier and prettier. Her husband married her flat chest and all, and would have been fine if she didn’t get the surgery done. It was her choice of something she chose to do for herself. How can I condemn that? I can’t.

    The older I get, the more I realize that very black and white answers exist. Sure, there are plenty of times when things are right or wrong, but we put too much into that category. I’m going to say that boob jobs is one of them.

    1. J Post author

      When I began researching breast surgery, I was also fascinated how many women got reductions or corrected very mismatched sizes. Yes, there are women who for no really good reason just want bigger breasts, but there were more than I expected who had other reasons. Like you, I’ve kind of backed off of assuming certain things in this regard. I still believe people like Joan Rivers (bless her heart!) who seek surgery after surgery are messing with God’s creation too much, but many plastic surgery patients have a single procedure done and never again.

      Thanks, Keelie!

  8. libl

    I want bigger breasts because I have always loved and dreamed about having plump breasts. When I was breast feeding I felt so womanly and my figure looked balanced. I loved that my husband had something to really grab and grope. I loved how clothes fit. I loved having my bra size in a regular department store in sale for $12.

    But now they have shrunk back to their usual demure size…..not flat, but not much more than a hand full. I’m not unhappy with them, but I miss having bigger breasts.

    Hubby absolutely doesn’t want me to get fake ones. We can’t afford it anyway and I am afraid of having to have repeat surgeries and losing sensation in my breasts. Small as they are they are sensitive enough to get orgasms.

    So, I live with what I have.

  9. lwhitegirl

    My chest size is inherited – small but not prepubescent & I used to think less of my mom for wearing padded bras. I felt like she was not being true to herself or content with God gave her. I refused to wear them for years but finally got tired of nothing ever fitting right & joined her. I thought of augmentation from time to time but decided the risk of surgery was more than I wanted to take on.

    I truly feel better with the more balanced figure & better-fitting clothes that the padding gives me. Hubby is perfectly happy with my small size in the bedroom & if he wonders why my size is different with clothes on, he’s not said a word!

    God sees our hearts & knows our motives for our choices. Wanting to look sexy for anyone other than our husbands or to boost fragile self-esteem would be some wrong reasons. I know of one mom that got augmentation because her daughter was filling out to be larger than she was & she just couldn’t bear it!

    A word on gray hair…i worried about this too but prayed to God & asked Him to bring it in naturally so I could “age gracefully”. He’s answered that prayer & I’m delighted to be done with coloring my hair – I’m enjoying my natural “highlights” now!

  10. B

    This is an interesting conversation. I know God doesn’t make mistakes, but sometimes I can’t help but feel like I’ve been put together upside down. I do have large, D cup breasts (which I always had to try to hide as a teenager – boys love to make fun of larger breasts). It’s funny how we women always want the opposite. I read some women say lingerie doesn’t fit them, when I get frustrated when lingerie won’t hold me in and I slip out. It looks incredibly stupid and embarrassing. So trust me, the grass is not always greener!

    But, what I lack, and wish I had, is a nice big booty! Small breasts and a big booty are much sexier than big breasts and a butt that will not grow no matter what! Oh how I envy women who have a nice round derrière.

    However, when I mentioned before on this blog my desire to get butt implants, I was told something like “seriously? Don’t do that.” Well, now, it’s not really cool to say breast implants are okay but butt implants are not.

    My husband claims he loves me just the way I am, but when I see him checking out other women, his focus is always on their rear view, which is always better than mine. He does NOT want me to have any plastic surgery, as he claims he loves my body as is, but I know he would fine me much more appealing if I had the bigger backside he finds so appealing in other women.

    Whether or not I’ll ever do it, I don’t know. I’m not big on elective surgery. So I guess in the meantime I’ll keep on lunging and learning to live with a tiny tush.

    1. J Post author

      I remember that conversation, and I stated that I did not believe butt implants would help your particular situation…because there was so much else going on there. Honestly, if everything else gets straightened out, and you still want butt implants…

      But I stand by my encouragement to women to come from a place of self-acceptance and self-confidence before heading into a plastic surgery procedure. I wish you all the best and pray for you! Blessings, B.

    2. Henri

      Can I just say like others, the grass isn’t always greener. My proportions are small 32b breasts on a tall thin frame, with a large booty! My husband usually notices big boobs, but is greatly opposed to implants. He would pay for them if I insisted, but he doesn’t want me to do it.
      I’ve talked with a few older/wiser women about this, and they said “they marry what they like” so if you have big boobs, he likes big boobs, what he notices doesn’t mean he likes. We all notice things. My husband married a big booty, he likes it, he might notice larger breasts, but it doesn’t mean he likes them more. Some men are butt guys others boob guys – they notice everything, but it doesn’t mean anything.
      J discouraged me from having implants a year or so ago, simple because it wouldn’t solve the deep insecurity I have, but would probably make it worse, as then I would only feel liked because I got implants and round and round it goes! She was right too. And you know, breast or butt implants won’t stop them from noticing – and then it wouldn’t be something else that we would need to get done.
      I applaud J for making the decision for her, and realize now that its not something I can do.

      1. J Post author

        Well said. All too often, I think we’ve have blanket yes or no answers to plastic surgery, but the decision is right for some and not others. I really appreciate those husbands who let their wives know how content they are, because feeling secure in how you look to your spouse helps to ground you and make the right decision for yourself.

        Blessings!

  11. libl

    Here’s another thing…..yes, God makes us, but we live in a fallen world. Would we tell a child born without an arm to not get a false one? Would we tell a deaf person they can’t have a cochlear implant? Would we say no you can’t fix your cleft lip and pallet, remove that huge birth mark, separate conjoined twins, balance out a singular mastectomy, get a wig if she has alopecia….

    Getting giant boobs to earn an extra zero a night at the strip club is one thing. Going up a cup size so you can actually wear a bra is another.

    God looks at the heart. As much as I want bigger boobs, I really have no justification for having them. I am a small 32c, which gives me something and a padded bra helps fill out clothing. But, I have pierced ears, had a skin tag removed, and had surgery on my eyes so I don’t need corrective lenses anymore. None of that was necessary, but two were beneficial.

  12. April

    I think you have a very well-rounded view and bring up some great points. I’m sorry people are judging you. 🙁 It’s not like you took this lightly and you offer great advice to others-it shouldn’t be taken lightly. Depending on the procedure, it can be very risky and it permanent. But, that doesn’t mean it is unbiblical.

    People are quick to judge, but for ages, men and women have been doing things to improve their appearance. Even Esther underwent a year of cosmetic conditioning to be presented before the king. I know, before someone argues with me, that doesn’t automatically slap God’s approval onto it. But, like you said, God is concerned with our hearts and that is what we have to check before we do something. And you know what, if someone’s heart is in the wrong and they are trying to find their worth in appearance, well then God is big enough to forgive them and work in their life.

  13. Sar

    I’ve been contemplating getting a boob job for about a year now. I got married at 18 and got pregnant a few months later. I’m now 23 and pregnant with our 3rd and most likely last child. I’ve always had small boobs, and it never really bothered (though I did envy my bigger busted friends). But after having bigger boobs during pregnancy and nursing, I realized how much I enjoy them being bigger, it makes me feel more womanly and sexier for my hubby. After nursing 2, soon to be 3 kids, they’re not only smaller than they were before, but somehow they sag too! My husband is all for me getting them done, but would also be content if I didn’t do anything. I’m not one to let other peoples judgy attitudes decide what I do or what I look like (I had bright purple hair for awhile), but it’s nice that this topic was brought up and to hear from both sides, without all the judgement.

    1. J Post author

      Thanks, Sar! I suspect a good plastic surgeon would want you to wait for a while after having kids. Breasts can still change size and shape many months after childbirth, so you may not know exactly what you’ve got for a while yet. Obviously, I’m not opposed to the surgery, but you’re still young and you’ve got some time to see what happens. Just wanted you to know. Best wishes making a wise decision for you!

      And blessings to your marriage!

  14. Lina

    May I just mention, in regards to gray hair, that the young girls are dying their hair gray now! I was lucky in that my gray came in as very attractive streaks, but over the last five years I’ve noticed more and more of my over-50 friends going to their natural color. Sorry – but it often looks better than the do-it-at-home brown.

  15. Willow Wren

    I know it’s a little different than full on cosmetic surgery, but I’d often thought about scar removal/lasering. Before Jesus came into my life, I went through years of very self destructive behavior following series of traumatic events. I shamefully carried the reminders of three failed suicide attempts on my arms for years, and although, for a long time, I’d have given anything to have them erased, it wasn’t until Jesus walked with me step by step healing the brokenness that caused them that He enabled me to see them (and my tattoos) for what they are, battle wounds. Though they are still deep and unattractive to look at, He has used them, and the testimony of the woman behind them, to minister to others who are hurting and in desperate need of Him. I know all too well just how stinging even a judgemental glance can feel having experienced much both in and outside church walls, but have found my peace in the Great Physician, I don’t see them (and many other things) as I once did. What was once my “Achilles heel” has become one of my greatest tools of witness to God’s all consuming, redemptive love and healing power. I believe each person is responsible for working out their own walk with God and just as I’ve never been convicted over tattoos (I’d get another in a heartbeat) you may never be over cosmetic surgery or whatever. As long as we each seek God’s guidance in a matter, who is anyone else to judge our prayerful decision? Thank you J for being so open and transparent. It’s sincerely appreciated.

    1. J Post author

      Thanks for your beautiful testimony! And praise God you’re still here and basking in His love.

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