20th Jun, 2012

What is the Deal with your Hair?

Over the past five years I have grown my hair out and cut it off on more than one occasion. And, like yesterday, when it is long I sometimes get asked, “What is the deal with your hair?”

My normal response is that my wife likes it, which is a true statement and one part of the motivation. In fact, it was most of the motivation initially. Whereas I, once upon a time, would not have considered my wife’s preferences about such things important (because I would weigh business demands and the like as more important), I have learned in the past 7 years how much I lacked respect for my wife. I often failed to let her desires influence my decisions. Thankfully, I have learned how foolish and unloving I was in this. God didn’t give me an amazing and godly wife for me to ignore her heart and opinions.

Even having said that, I have learned another reason why my hair is long.

The first time I grew it out I was overseas. It was already ponytail length by the time I returned to the United States. When I came back, for the first time in my life I had a tangible awareness that many people who did not know me at all received me in a different way. I saw people walk further away from me if we were meeting on a sidewalk. I was more often asked for identification, stopped in the airport for patdowns, and even people who knew me asked me why I had such long hair. It seemed to impact my influence with many.

In that place God spoke to me about my own prejudices. I began to recognize more quickly when I made a judgment about someone. I even realized that sometimes I looked down on a person with long or oddly colored hair! I saw where I had subtle, repeat thoughts about individuals with tattoos, piercings, extra weight, what I considered to be odd clothes, and more.

I’m not sure I would have been as quick to see my judgmental heart had I not been the recipient of judgment based on something as trivial as my hair length. I wholeheartedly believe God led me to grow my hair out so that I would be reminded of the deceitfulness of my own heart in this area. Honestly, because I am too quick to want to please people and fit in, I often would much rather just cut my hair and not even think about the issue. And, I recognize that some of the issue is simply me thinking I know what others are thinking. Nevertheless, I am thankful to have a reminder of how much prejudice hurts and how it can prevent me from loving someone from the very first moment they walk into my life.

I don’t know when I will cut my hair again, but even in such a “small” matter I hope I listen not to the world or my pride, but to the Lord.

Responses

I am finding out some of these same lessons through my spirited children. By having them and parenting them (and often facing judgment with them), I am learning how judgmental my heart has been in the past with parenting. Funny how God works that way. :)

Grow it out… I will just make fun of you, not because I am pre-judging you, but because you are my baby brother…..

What an interesting posting. It’s not often that we hear of this topic these days. I used to have similar concerns, until I realized (because I finally admitted) that my long hair was a stumbling block to my testimony. Once I “let go and let God”, I then knew that I could not continue to ignore or make excuses for I Corinthians 11:14 — “Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him”. Whenever people had reminded me of this blessed Scriptural reference, I felt that that they were nagging me, getting under my skin. But the annoyance that I felt was not from my friends; rather, it was from the Holy Ghost whispering to me, reminding me that the Word of the Lord IS the final word, and that to pretend that 11:14 doesn’t matter was only, really, pleasing to my flesh. Initially, I tried to fluff it off by saying that I would not be bound by legalism or anything that sounded like an Old Testament rule and that I was saved by Grace, but it got to the point where I knew accountability would come up. So, I made the decision to rid myself of the Fabio look. As a matter of fact, I shaved my head! Blessings to you and your good work.

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