Human beings are funny creatures, and Christians, in some ways, even more so. What I mean is this. The heart of the Christian faith is that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ. The work we do cannot save us. Yet we seem to forget this sometimes in the most unusual of ways. How we view appearance is one of them.

Every Sunday, I put on a suit when I go to church. Before I moved to Sacramento, the only time I wore a suit to church was for a wedding or funeral. The typical church attire for those churches I previously attended consisted of jeans and a shirt. For the most part. Anyone showing up in a suit, even a pastor, would have stood out like a sore thumb. However, if I were to go to the church I attend now in anything less than formal wear, I would be the sore thumb. Therefore, unless it’s summer, with the Sacramento heat, I’m wearing a suit to church.

Quite frankly, there are times when I’d rather wear jeans and a shirt to church because God doesn’t care how I dress. When I first started attending this church, I wore a suit out of love and respect for my brothers and sisters. Before COVID hit, we used to have other events at the church. Prayer twice a week along with Bible Study. Now, we have those on Zoom. However, back when we weren’t using Zoom, I showed up to church for these other events in jeans and a shirt. I cannot think of any time when anyone showed up to these events in a suit because it wasn’t expected. Anyone who did, well, you get it- sore thumb.

There’s another expectation that some people have when it comes to a man’s appearance in the church today. Short hair. That’s right. We expect men to have short hair. Why is that? Perhaps it has something to do with something Paul said to the Corinthians?

Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him.

1 Corinthians 11:14 (NIV)

When Paul wrote this to the Corinthians, was he really saying, as some people have suggested, that God doesn’t like long hair on men (and conversely, short hair on women)? I don’t think so.

In my study of Judges today, I came across this verse about someone even the world has heard about.

You will become pregnant and have a son whose head is never to be touched by a razor because the boy is to be a Nazirite, dedicated to God from the womb. He will take the lead in delivering Israel from the hands of the Philistines.”

Judges 13:5 (NIV)

This is talking about Samson, the notorious Nazirite who thought his strength resided in his hair. This reminds me of Absalom. Someone else who loved his hair. Absalom’s hair had to have been long to get it stuck into a tree, don’t you think? Sorry, I digress. Samson wasn’t the only Nazirite we read about in the Bible. Samuel, the prophet, was also a Nazirite.

And she made a vow, saying, “Lord Almighty, if you will only look on your servant’s misery and remember me, and not forget your servant but give her a son, then I will give him to the Lord for all the days of his life, and no razor will ever be used on his head.”

1 Samuel 1:11 (NIV)

There’s also a belief that John the Baptist was too.

For he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born.

Luke 1:15 (NIV)

Whether or not John the Baptist was a Nazirite isn’t that important. What is important is that there was a sect devoted to God where the men didn’t cut their hair. If long hair bothered God, then why would this sect exist? Why would an angel of the Lord tell Samson’s mother his hair was to never be cut? The only conclusion is that God doesn’t care about the length of our hair. Male or female.

What was Paul talking about then? Why did he say, “the very nature of things teach[es] that…long a disgrace” to a man?

When Paul wrote his letter to the Corinthians, it was a city full of idols. There were male and female prostitutes in abundance. The male prostitutes did not cater to women but to men and often wore long hair like women. If someone in the city saw a man walking around with long hair, it was likely the man was a male prostitute or part of something else that was unseemly. In short, long hair on a man was like a part of a uniform that revealed what they did and what they believed in. This sort of “uniform” wasn’t isolated to the city of Corinth. It was commonplace at that time.

How we present ourselves does matter. The world is full of uniforms that people wear that tell others what they believe, where they work, etc. We have police, military, firefighters, etc. that reveal a person’s profession. There are other uniforms we might not think of as uniforms that give insight into who we are in the world. Goth and punk are two that readily come to mind. There are many identifiers in the world that people use to represent themselves, their beliefs, etc.

While Paul wasn’t preaching against long hair, he was preaching against something important. Aligning ourselves with the world. This is a common theme of his preaching and is critical to understanding how we ought to behave.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Romans 12:2 (NIV)

If I put on a fire fighting outfit and walk around, people are going to think I’m a firefighter. If it’s not Halloween. The same goes for a police uniform or any other professional uniform. We all know of the other uniforms that exist in the world due to how we classify people. If someone is a “goth” then they dress a certain way. If someone else is “punk” then they do too. The list goes on and on. I’m not saying it’s right to label and classify people. It’s not. However, we live in a world where this is commonplace.

What does this all mean to us, and how we should live? I think we can find an answer to this question in these Scriptures.

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister…If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.

Romans 14:13,15 (NIV)

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:18 (NIV)

Therefore, if we know that others have problems with certain manners of dress and such, the least we can do in love is to make every effort to live at peace with them. If this means not wearing my board shorts to church, then so be it.

Do you know God? God knows you, and he loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. No one is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, and he wants you to know him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so we could be free of guilt, be free from death, and live eternally with him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Lord Jesus, forgive me for all my sins. I repent from my ways. Wash me in your blood and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I believe that you died on the cross, were buried, and on the third day, God the Father raised you from the dead. Right now, Lord Jesus, I open the door to my heart, and I receive you into my heart as my Lord and personal Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer, then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment, and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.