by Jeffrey W. Hamilton

"Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering" (I Corinthians 11:14-15).

Have you stopped and wonder why some men insist on wearing their hair long? Back during the 1960s, when long hair became very popular among the nation's youth, a leader in this movement made this statement:

"Young kids identify short hair with authority, discipline, unhappiness, boredom, rigidity, hatred of life - and long hair with letting go. Wherever we go, our long hair tells people where we stand on Vietnam, Wallace, campus disruptions, dope. We're living commercials for the revolution. Long hair is the beginning of our liberation from the sexual oppression that underlies the whole military society."

In other words, Jerry Rubin, who made this statement, believes that his long hair was a symbol of his rejection of society and moral living. Now, I'm not implying that every male who wears his hair long has the same intentions, but he is identifying himself with people who do not agree with God's moral law.

The verses that are quoted above were written by the apostle Paul. It seems to be very clear, but many questions do come up. Like, how long is long? Is anything longer than a crew cut shameful? Or can we consider a hair cut about shoulder's length short?

"Short" or "long" are relative terms. God is not dictating a specific length of hair. Instead, he is insisting that the prevailing hairstyles among men are to be shorter than the prevailing hairstyles among women. Since the beginning of time, God expected a distinction to be made between the sexes. For example, in the law of Moses God said, "A woman must not wear men's clothing, nor a man wear women's clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this" (Deuteronomy 22:5). Other than articles of clothing, the relative length of hair is the most distinctive difference between men and women. If the hair on a man leaves you wondering whether the person is a he or a she, then the hair is too long.

Satan, the old enemy of God, has filled people's minds with the idea that everyone should look and act the same. Somehow he has convinced people that men and women looking different is wrong. I must admit that there are times that I cannot tell if a person walking down the street is a man or a woman.

We are sometimes told that "Jesus had long hair" so why not men of our day? However, where are you told that Jesus had long hair? It is certainly not mentioned as being long in the Bible. Most people assume it was long because many artists, painting hundreds of years after Christ had died, painted him with long hair. The confusion is that Jesus was referred to as a Nazarene (i.e. from the city of Nazareth). Under the Old Law, there was a vow that people could take called the Nazarite Vow. At the beginning of the vow, a person shaved their head, but while under the vow they did not cut their hair until the vow was completed. At that time the hair was shaved once again and offered to God. Jesus was a Nazarene, not a Nazarite.

Why can't people, and especially Christians, be content to follow the teaching of the Bible, custom, and common sense, and let men be men and look like men and women be women and look like women?

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