Women and Long Hair

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QUESTION: Should women wear only long hair? I feel like I am judged by some in my church when I wear mine short.

ANSWER: It can be a bit frustrating to have other women judge you regarding long hair, especially when they claim to be Christians. This is not following the teachings of Jesus Christ in the Bible, which tell us to bear with one another and not to judge unless we want to be judged in the same way.

Many women have short, not long, locks in their younger days because it is easier to take care of and they may not be all that concerned with style or the latest fashions. They just want their hair, whether at work, play or church, to be in control. When some women get older, especially when they retire from work, they may have long hair since they have the time to take care of it.

The apostle Paul taught that long hair on MARRIED (not single or widowed) women was their glory but that men who do so (Nazarite vow excepted) are shameful. In his letter to the Corinthian church, Paul states what he says should be an obvious fact, "Or does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a shame to him? But if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her . . ." (1Corinthians 11:14 - 15, HBFV).

How should wives be submissive?
The fiercest women in Scripture!
What is beautiful to God?

Hair was worn, in the first century culture to which Paul was addressing, as a way a married female should respect toward her mate. Such a tradition, while admirable, is far less prevelant in today's society. Wearing it today either short or long is a matter of personal choice. If you feel judged by certain people for have short locks, you may want to ask and confirm why they do so. What matters is that you feel comfortable wearing your hair however long you wish and that you do so in faith and with a clean conscience (Romans 14:23).


Young Woman at Her Toilet
Young Woman at Her Toilet
Paris Bordone, c. 1550

Women should be proud of how God made them and enjoy their femininity. Things of this life like hair are only temporary. The apostle Peter reminds us what is lasting and what our focus should be when he states, "You (especially women) should not use outward aids to make yourselves beautiful . . . Instead, your beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God's sight" (1Peter 3:3 - 4).

All believers, be they men or women, should bear with and encourage one another over such things as hair length (be it long or short), clothes, jewelry and other non-salvation issues. We are to worship God in spirit and in truth, obey the law and offer justice in a fair and balance way (John 4:24). This includes treating each other with love as we would like to be treated (John 15:12).

Our treatment of others, whether they be women or men regarding hair or other such things, should be mixed with love and mercy. Jesus taught, "Therefore, you also be compassionate, even as your Father is compassionate. And do not judge others . . . do not condemn others, so that you will not be condemned . . ." (Luke 6:36 - 37). Paul, who suffered greatly for the gospel, stated, ". . . walk worthily of the calling to which you were called with all humility and meekness . . . forbearing one another in love" (Ephesians 4:1 - 2).

Additional Study Materials
Does God approve of earrings?
Study on the book of Esther
How should women pray?
The different types of love

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