The term “Christianity” is so wide in its definition it has somehow lost its meaning. That is why issues arise that are in direct contrast to the lifestyle of a child of God, a heaven-bound human being, a straight-and-narrow road walker, etc.
The definition of that kind of person excludes such terms as is common today in the Church. Should we say “evangelical, Pentecostal, or “tongue-speaking, Spirit-filled” Christian? “The Lord knows those who are His…
Anyway, today one question that has been a bone of contention among many Christian sects is should Christian men wear long hair or dreadlocks? Some tolerate it, citing 1 Corinthians 6:11-12 – 11, which says,
And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. 12 All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
The majority still consider it a disgrace as stated here,
‘Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him?’ 1 Corinthians 11:14
To answer this let’s dig a little deep into the history of dreadlocks.
The precise date of origin of the hairstyle is unknown, however, dates range from 5000 BCE to 1500 BCE. The Bible shows us that a sect named the Nazarites, Samson, and even John the Baptist, had long hair.
Today the roots of dreadlocks can be trailed to the Rastafarians of Jamaica, a religious group who believes in the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I, as the redeemer of mankind. They are self-proclaimed vegans and, sometimes, they smoke marijuana. They wear locks as an expression of inner spirituality and to emphasise their identity. Their religion states that they must remain “whole”.
Although it is associated with the Rastafarian community, people of various cultures have worn, and continue to wear locks, including the Hindu Shiva worshipers of India, European Celts, various African communities, the Sufis of Pakistan, the Vikings, the Greeks, the Pacific Islanders, the Naga people. Several ascetic groups within various major religions have at times worn their hair in locks, including the monks of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, the Nazirites of Judaism, Sadhus of Hinduism. and some Christians who refuse to be moved.
In the West, dreadlocks have gained a particular popularity among counterculture, hippies, crust punks, New Age travellers, Rainbow Family- dreadlocks – symbolising a rejection of government-controlled, mass-merchandising culture.
Long and short, there are many reasons among various cultures for wearing dreadlocks. Almost all agree that dreads express deep religious or spiritual convictions, a manifestation of ethnic pride, making a political statement, or simply, a fashion preference.
Now that we’ve established all that’s there about dreadlocks, can Christian men wear dreadlocks or long hair?
The answer to this question will depend on the motive of the person wearing the dreadlocks. Why are they wearing them and what are they saying by it? This approach applies equally to any style of dress. There is no Christian haircut or clothing style. There are only Christians who wear clothes or wear their hair, particularly for a certain reason. In our society people adopt certain trends and styles simply for the novelty and then they are on to the next fashion.
So, clothing, like food, should not be a source of contention for Christians. Christians can wear dreadlocks for many reasons but particularly because whatever we do with Jesus is a matter of the heart, reason, motive or purpose. It has nothing to do with norms, religiosity, or tradition.
Albeit, if a Christian is bent on wearing dreadlocks in the face of the origin, history and controversies surrounding dreadlocks, it is a symptom of some deep-seated restlessness: that Christian may not have come to terms with the “straight and narrow” way of the Kingdom of God where it is better to pluck out your eye if it causes you to sin.
The heaven-bound approach to contemporary issues like this should be: if there is even an iota of the possibility that something in the gray zone could be ungodly, just let it go.
Finally, if you are a Spirit-filled, born-again child of God, seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit. We shall all appear before the Lord to answer… Your salvation is too precious to bargain it on the table of “fashion.” There is nothing worth missing Heaven for.
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