Friday the 13th, May 2016
The controversy regarding people’s attire or their general appearance is an issue that has been around for a long time and will come up in almost every church sooner or later, if it hasn’t already. Apparently, it was present in the days of the Apostle Paul, at least as it pertained to the covering of the head which led him to write about the controversy. After expressing his personal opinion on the matter, he added these final words: “But if anyone wants to argue about this, I simply say that we have no other custom than this, and neither do God’s other churches.” (1 Corinthians 11:16) By this statement, we must conclude that this involves people’s customs. Paul never even hinted that this rule came from God Himself.
Many centuries later, churches continue to struggle with this issue, prompting many of them to implement their own dress codes. Besides dress codes, I know of a few churches which seem to have more rules than actual bible doctrine. These are just a few rules many of them have: (1) All men must wear coats or at least a shirt and tie. (2) No one can chew gum during the service. (3) The doors of the church are closed as soon as the service starts. (4) Toddlers and young children are not allowed in the sanctuary. (5) No one is allowed to cross his or her legs during the service. (6) The men must sit on one side and the women on the other. (7) No hats or head coverings of any kind are allowed in the sanctuary. In the end, many of these churches lose people before they save them.
I have lost count of the many times church members have approached me regarding other members’ appearance, especially when it involves the wearing of shorts. In this matter, the main complaint is that said person is disrespecting the Lord, the church, the altar, or all three. Although many believe the adage that “clothes make the person”, no one will enter or miss out on heaven due to the way they dress. To this matter and many others, however, we can apply the rules of brotherly love. The issue of eating meat that had previously been used in pagan rituals was a matter of controversy during the Apostle Paul’s day. Therefore, he was quick to write: “Therefore, if what I eat causes my brother or sister to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause them to fall.” (1 Cor. 8:13) So whether it involves our grooming or the way we dress, or any other thing for that matter; if we know other people are offended by it, why not do something about it? The only rule genuine children of God have to concern themselves with is to make a sincere effort not to offend and to love others as we love the Lord.
Memory verse for the week: (Matthew 14:27) “But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”