A Question of Hair Length
I have a question. Reading your website about how to dress modestly I really I agreed with you and many other things you said in conjunction to what the bible said. One of the things that confused me is the long hair and trying to get hair to the length of woman of a certain race or background. Now nothing is wrong with long hair, I personally love long hair. But to aim for something so artificial and impossible is beyond me.
Let me further explain, I am African American and our hair texture differs from Caucasian people so therefore it limits hair length. So I really can’t believe God that created mankind would think long hair to the floor is a blessing then women that he created that can’t even grow such of a hair. I feel it differs in culture. Long hair in my background means hair that passes shoulder length for woman and long for men is three inches of an afro. You have to put in effect that DNA is part of humans and each group of people are different. Scandinavians have no problem with the length you’re speaking of because of different genetic makeup vs, people in Haiti vs. Brazil. Grow your hair to the maximum length God has designed for your DNA. [Copied with permission]
Dear friend, I agree with the issue you are expressing here and appreciate your willingness to share your thoughts. The same thoughts have come to my own mind and I have come to the same conclusion that you have.
In our article on the womans glory, we point out that women should have long hair. This is based on the apostle Pauls words at 1 Corinthians 11:14-15:
Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him, but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? For her hair is given to her for a covering.
This passage shows that men are to have short hair but women are to have long hair. Sometimes people ask, But how long is long? Or, How short is short? These people seem to want to push the boundaries and get as close to the line as they can, without violating the will of God. Thus, some women want to have short hair, thus they want to know how short they can have their hair without violating the apostles instructions. They will then have hair that length, and no longer, for they really dont want to have long, uncut, hair.
And some men, in keeping with a certain lifestyle, may not want to have short hair, thus they want to have their hair as long as possible, without violating Pauls instructions. We think that this all reveals a questionable attitude. We should not want to get as close to what is not permissible as we can; rather, we should seek to stay away from what is displeasing to God. We should seek to please, honor, and obey God as much as we can.
But lets address this dear womans concern more directly. Surely Paul would want women to have their hair as long as they can. But he is not asking for the impossible. He is not demanding something that is unnatural; rather, he is promoting something that is natural. For Caucasians, nearly all women had long hair until the bobbed hair fad changed this in the 1920s. Thus, this has only been a problem for the past century.
If an African-Americans hair only grows a certain length, this is fine. God has made the woman in this way. If a Caucasian or Asian woman has hair that will allow them to have much longer hair, then this is fine as well. God has made the Caucasian, the Asian, and the African-American women according to His will. They all have their origin with Adam and Eve, through Noah. Eve was the mother of all the living (Genesis 3:20). Even among the various ethnic classifications of women, the length will vary according to certain hereditary considerations. We can only do what our DNA allows. To allow ones hair to grow as long as she is able, this pleases God.
Consider a woman who is saved from a worldly life, with immodest clothing, with painted face, with bejeweled arms and hands and neckand with short hair. Such a woman can change some elements of this immediately, in keeping with the will of God found in Scripture (cf. 1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4; 1 Corinthians 11:14-15). She can remove her gold and pearls. She can discard her abbreviated and transparent clothing. She can cease painting her body. But certain things she cant immediately change.
For instance, suppose she has tattoos on her face, her hands and arms, and other parts of the body. She cant immediately remove these worldly, immodest, and foolish signs. But she can immediately be pleasing to Godfor she has done what she can. In time, we hope that she will seek to find the financial resources to remove these worldly tattoos that offend God and many men and women. But she can be pleasing to God until she can follow through with her resolve.
The same is true in regard to hair length. She may have very short hair and nature only grows hair at a certain speed. It may take many months for such a woman to allow her hair to grow unhindered. It would be growing for years. Does this mean that she will be displeasing to God during this time? Obviously not. God doesnt require the impossible. He simply requires obedience and as long as she is seeking to fulfill the Scriptural requirement for the woman to have long hair, a woman can be pleasing to the Lord.
As for the African-American woman who wrote the original question (as well as women in African now, and perhaps other locations), God will not require the impossible. His will is plain enough in 1 Corinthians 11:14-15. As long as a woman has long hair according to her bodily makeup or DNA, she can be pleasing to God.
We think that the attitude expressed by the questioner is an honorable one. She seems to want to obey the Lord and wants to say that it is impossible for her to have the same length of hair as a Caucasian woman might have. God doesnt require an African-American to become Caucasian! He requires all women to be what they have the capacity to be, with His Spirit and enablement.