Cosmetic surgery procedures are on the rise across the United States, with an estimated 15.6 million procedures in 2014, a 3 percent increase from the previous year. While it remains unknown what percentage of Christians make up the millions undergoing these vanity procedures each year, believers who've suffered from botched surgeries are now declaring the practice sinful, but not everyone agrees.
Earlier this month, an annual report released by The American Society of Plastic Surgeons revealed that more Americans are turning to cosmetic surgery procedures to enhance their appearance. Procedures like breast augmentations, facelifts and liposuction are among the top surgical procedures for cosmetic surgery enthusiasts striving for perfect beauty.
For Christians like Brazilian model Andressa Urach, who almost lost her life due to a botched surgery in December last year, she has seen the light and now believes that cosmetic surgery is a sin because God told her so.
Urach, widely known as "Miss BumBum" for having been a finalist in a 2012 competition of a similar name, was left fighting for her life over the holidays when routine thigh injections went horribly wrong. Her claims that she died and met God during a near death experience after losing consciousness while undergoing the procedure to expand her thighs quickly made headlines.
The 27-year-old model almost died while at the Conceaicao Hospital in Porto Alegre after chemical fillers injected inside her body caused her flesh to rot and triggered a septic shock.
"I knew that I'd left my body and died. I arrived in an empty place, like a desert, completely silent. That's when I knew that God exists. I felt his presence. I knew I was at the judgment," Urach told the Daily Mail earlier this year. "My life flashed before me like a film. I felt ashamed and knew I wasn't worthy to enter heaven. I asked for forgiveness and begged for another chance, promised to make amends."
Like Urach, Los Angeles-based property manager Jessica Choi was also left feeling an overwhelming sense of regret after going under the knife (she had her nose and eyes done among other things). She shared her plastic surgery ordeal in a "Nightline" segment on South Korea's plastic surgery obsession.
"I feel like I've sinned," she said on the ABC show. "I just kept hearing God's voice saying, 'Sweetheart, why would you do this? I made you perfect.'"
Pastor John Piper, founder of the website desiringGod.com and author of more than 50 books, somewhat agrees that cosmetic surgery is a sin because as he once put it during an online sermon, "God doesn't make mistakes."
"God knit us together in our mother's womb, he really made our basic structures and there's some of you [who] are just not going to change — the kinds of hair you've got, the kind of nose you've got, the kind of hips you've got, the kind of height you've got and kind of complexion you've got. These are things that are just given with our God-given genetics and therefore it really is a matter of trust, isn't it?" he asked. "God doesn't make mistakes, so let's all present our bodies with all the pluses and minuses as a living sacrifice acceptable to God."