I vividly recall having a very animated argument with a man years ago regarding the attire needed to attend a church function. His position was that anytime God's people gathered in His presence, they had to look their best. There was, therefore, an ironclad rule that only men wearing a coat and tie could be a part of a worship service.
My argument was that God does not look on the outer appearance of a person but rather upon his heart. This argument was rejected and countered with examples in the Old Testament where the people were instructed to clean themselves up before meeting with God. Since I refused to budge in my beliefs, I lost the argument and did not participate in this man s service.
I own exactly one suit and the last and only time it was worn was at my mom's funeral in 2006. I do not even own a sport coat for the one I had was lost in Mississippi doing charity work in 2006. I realize there are places I cannot go and events I cannot attend because I do not own the correct attire. My attitude is one of "so what" for I have no desire to go to those places anyway.
Supposedly when a man wears a tie and jacket he is projecting an appearance of professionalism, power and influence. Even today, those who sit at the top of corporations and who make all the big decisions are known as "suits". Does this mean if I dress my dog up in a suit she suddenly becomes the "top dog"?
I have jokingly said that my "uniform" consists of shorts and a Hawaiian shirt in summer, jeans a t shirt and my blue windbreaker in winter and shorts and a t shirt around the house.. My theory is that if I wear the same mundane clothes, anyone who "likes me" is forced into liking ME and not some image I project. No amount of expensive clothing could ever change me into a male model; so why try?
The point here is that outer apparel cannot change what lies within a person's heart. Rather than trying to be someone we are not just to please another, we should strive to let our "real self" shine through and in so doing give to others a glimpse of who we really are and not what they want us to be.
I would rather "wear my heart on my sleeve" and have it broken once in awhile than look professional but be stiff as a board. I would rather take the emphasis off how I look and on who I am rather than working like crazy to become someone I am not. I think we should all strive to let the real us stand up and cease trying to impress others with our outer ornaments and trappings.
I grew up in a denomination which felt like that man. I vividly remember an incident which happened to my mom once. There was a revival going on. She really wanted to attend but she had to work after being at school all day (she attended college in her 40's for the first time). Anyway, unexpectedly she was let go early. She looked at her watch and decided she could just make the service if she went directly to it. That was what she did.
Oh, she was so blessed being in that service. Things had been very rough for her. She'd lost my dad just a few years before to cancer. My brother was in the navy and I was off at school myself. She was going to school full time and the university she was attending was 70 miles away. She would get up at 5:30 a.m. and be on the road by 6:30. She would drive 70 miles, go to classes and then drive back so she could be to work by 5:00 p.m. She got off at 9:00 p.m. would come home, study some more until nearly midnight and then get a few hours of sleep before starting over again.
However, something happened just after that service. I remember I could hear the pain in her voice when she told me what happened. It broke her heart. You see, the bishop was attending that revival as well and after the service, he took my mother aside and let her have it. Why? Because she showed up in a pant suit.
My mom explained everything to him. She told him how she had not expected to be able to come and when she learned she could, she made the decision to come to directly to church rather than to go home and change for home was seven miles (through town) in the opposite direction. Do you know what his response was to that? He said it would have been better for her not to come at all.
I disagree with that, B2Y, and I know you do too. God is much more concerned with our hearts than He is with what we are wearing or how we look at the moment. I truly believe that my mom did exactly what Jesus would have told her to do. He would have told her to come.
Now, I go to a church which tells you to come as you are. Yes, you do have people showing up in clothing which might not be all that "modest" but I also know people who won't darken a church door because they don't have "good clothes". I'm glad I go to a church which focuses more on the person as opposed to what they are... or are not wearing.
wow. You know I know in the Bible, the Lord says "come unto me all who are heavy laden" I dont recall a dress code. As a matter of fact, Jesus fought against the rules and regulations of the religious leaders of that day. The veil was torn and we enter in-just as we are. No matter how well we clean up the outside, still our garments are filthy rags to him. Its purity of heart and a willing spirit that pleases Him.
A good topic, B2y! Seems that someone needs to do a little reading in the book of James! Today, more people wear casual dress in more places they go...work, school, parties, etc. Their atire therefore is more casual. What isn't acceptable is a "casual" attitude towards our attendance or participation in a worship service! It is most important that our hearts are right with God, and our worship is from the heart of love and humility...
Thanks for sharing this, God bless...
I feel there is no problem wanting to be dressed up for church. I am a "business casual" guy myself. The rub comes in when you expect others to follow in your footsteps. - Bibleguy64
Jesus had harsh words for the Pharisees who were the best dressed men of his time. Unfortunately many churches need a cleansing to get back to the basics. I am a professional accountant in civic and only would wear suit to council meetings. Otherwise wear business casual to make sure that all clients and staff have a comfortable and approachable relationship. When are people going to learn that God sees the inside. He desires Mercy and not sacrifice. The danger with what you encountered is that Churches have set up layers upon layers of rules and codes and as we know man is doomed to failure if he tries to adhere to codes and rules. This also alienates people from what really matters which is relationship with God and loving our neighbour as ourselves. We are not under law but under Grace.