Should Women Wear Only Long Hair?

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Question: Should women wear only long hair? I feel like I am judged by some in my church for my length.

Answer: It can be a bit frustrating to have other women judge you regarding the hair you wear, 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 wear 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 it long since they have the time to take care of it.


Its purpose

The Apostle Paul taught that long locks on married (not single or widowed) women was their glory. Men who wear theirs long, however (Nazarite vow excepted), are performing a shameful act.

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; because the long hair has been given to her instead of a veil to cover her head (1Corinthians 11:14 - 15, HBFV).

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

Hair was worn, in the first century culture to which Paul was addressing, as a way a married female showed respect toward her mate. Such a tradition, while admirable, is far less prevalent in today's society. In today's world, whether we wear it short or long is a matter of personal choice.

If you feel judged by certain people for the short locks you wear, you may want to ask and confirm why they do so. What matters is that you feel comfortable having your hair however long you wish and that you do so in faith and with a clean conscience (Romans 14:23). Women should be proud of how God made them and enjoy their femininity. Things of this life like hair are only temporary.

What matters?

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).

How to treat others

Our treatment of others, whether they are women or men regarding the hair they wear or other such things, should be mixed with love and mercy. Jesus taught the following.

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, also taught the following which applies to both men and women.

. . . walk worthily of the calling to which you were called with all humility and meekness . . . forbearing one another in love (Ephesians 4:1 - 2).

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