This is in response to a few things that have come up recently in different conversations, one of which was a friend’s recent post on Facebook about how we should dress. He posed a few questions and gave his own opinion. Another friend commented by saying, “Jesus doesn’t seem to care about your fashion sense.” If that’s true then why do some Christians make such a big deal about trying to get others to look just like them?
You can be a clean-shaven man with a short haircut and a suit and tie; a woman with long hair, no makeup, no jewelry, and wear a prairie dress; or a preacher with pomaded hair, jeans and a button-down shirt, but if the goal is to become more righteous based on what you wear or don’t wear, what happened to the heart or God’s mercy and grace as expressed through Jesus’ atoning work on the cross? Don’t those things matter more? If we’re trying to get people to be more like us, isn’t our focus in the wrong place?
When Hudson Taylor, the great Christian missionary, moved to China to share the Gospel with them, he didn’t teach them to become like him. Instead, he grew his hair and braided it into a Chinese cue and wore Chinese clothes. Unlike Hudson Taylor, many early American sects forced African slaves and Native Americans to dress like them. They even destroyed everything having to do with their culture, and the very people they were trying to convert learned to hate the white man and his Jesus. God never commanded people to get rid of their culture. He commanded them to turn away from and stop worshiping idols.
Please don’t let someone mold you into their image and into becoming a cookie-cutter Christian. If they don’t accept you without the clean-shaven face, short hair and a suit and tie, then they aren’t following Christ’s example, and you should be careful about following them. And please don’t be a cookie cutter who tries to mold someone else. You know what Jesus said about the scribes and Pharisees, right?
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but within ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.” (Matthew 23:27, 28)
Photo credit: S. Schleicher
Edited August 19, 2013 to add that I should have included that I used to be both a cookie-cutter Christian and a cookie cutter. See the comment below. I plan to do a follow-up post soon, one I’ve been planning to do, tentatively called I Used to Be a Pharisee.