Oh What to Wear What to Wear!
"And how shall they preach, except they be sent?" Romans 10:15a
There is one thing I have learned over the years in Apostolic churches -- you can never, no not ever, please everyone with your personal attire. I would like to list a few of the holiness clothesline codes that others felt I have failed to meet.
1) Hemline too short (However, the length was well passed my knees. They measured my hem with a yard stick and I was advised that I could not return until my dress was a maximum of 4 inches from the floor)
2) Colored hose not allowed. (You know the opaque black ones.)
3) Sleeve length too short. (It was passed my elbows but part of my arm and wrist were visible.)
4) Heels too high. (In this particular case only one quarter inch heels were allowed. I didn’t own even a flat like this.)
5) Red Suit not allowed. (Women were not allowed to wear the colors red or purple. This also applied to your automobile.)
6) Hair bow and/or barrette. (These were not allowed at this particular church)
7) Hair up when it should be down or vice versa.
8) No “crinklers”. (I had to find out what this one was before I could comply. It means no perms or hot sticks/rollers.)
9) No blue jean skirts and blouses.
10) No wedding ring or watch.
I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea. It’s a shame Apostolic people aren’t as interested in the Word as they are in criticizing and judging everyone’s attire who crosses the threshold of the church. You know there is something wrong when someone is passing judgment on your clothes when they are unable to find books in the Bible (especially Old Testament) maybe that’s why a lot of them don’t bring a Bible to church services. My husband used to ask the question “How many of you have read the Bible all the way through?” I suggested to him to quit asking that because no one would raise their hand. We have even been in churches where members were advised by their pastors to drive only Ford cars and trucks. That‘s ironic when it is alleged that Ford was an Anti-Semitic. Of course we drove up in a Chevrolet van. Oh no, another blot on the record.
I was in a real predicament when it came to the church where hemlines were no more than 4 inches off the floor. Maybe you’re not aware of this but when you are evangelizing the offerings aren’t large enough to go out and buy new clothes not even used clothing. So after I was told my dresses were too short the pastor’s wife and daughters agreed to sew me a few dresses. They also told me where I could go and buy material for $1.00 a yard. The reason for no skirts and blouses evaded me. For them a blouse and skirt represents two garment pieces which relates to a man’s shirt and trousers. Therefore, if you wore a blouse and skirt you were trying to emulate a man or buck authority.
There have also been situations where the clothes I had to wear were not nice enough for large demonal (Oops, I meant denominational) churches. Perhaps they never read James 2:1-4.
Evil thoughts…knowing they would never admit to that one.
It got to the point while we were evangelizing that I ask my husband to please get a list of “dos and don’ts” from the pastors of the churches. That way I would be prepared for the clothesline code and partially prepared for anything else that might happen. Oh yes, the codes not only applied to me but to him as well. Suit with white shirt and necktie and in some cases no necktie was allowed. Hair cut short which was no problem. However, it only took one time with me behind the scissors to convince him it was absolutely necessary for a professional cut even it meant pawning something.
It is true that Paul said to the church of the Hebrews to follow peace with all men and holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Based on my experience some pastors believe that righteousness comes by clothesline rather than by faith upon all that believe. It is a matter of the heart and its outward expression in love. I wonder how much love a person has who judges by outward appearance rather than the Spirit of God motivated by love. For my husband and I knew a pastor who was going to make the women in the church who were new converts buy wigs because their hair was too short. Their short hair was an embarrassment to him. I wonder if he was going to make them change their hair color too.
The Lord said “Judge not, lest you be judged”. There is a scripture a lot of ministers use to justify their judging and especially that of women. You’ll find in Paul’s letter to Corinth. “But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” (I Cor 2:15). In that scripture just referenced, “judgeth all things” means “to investigate, to scrutinize, to determine, to examine, to search out by questions” pertaining to the Word and its application in life, not to judge or focus on a clothesline dress code. We have seen clothesline so heavy in a church that they were unable to receive the Word brought under the anointing of the Holy Ghost. All they could shout to was a clothesline dress code gospel.
I’m not against standards. For their must be an ensign or a standard over the people of God in separation from the world. However, when we care and concern ourselves more with standards or ensigns in clothesline dress codes rather than the person themselves unto edification, then we have exercised superficial judgment that comes to naught and the Lord has no pleasure in it. The Lord said himself not to judge by the outward appearance or superficial judgment. For our Lord was able to penetrate the heart and spirit of a person in ministry. He was not hung up on the outward appearance. Not one time did he tell the women to take off a certain color or to take their rings or jewelry off before ministering to her spiritual needs. For when the heart is right with God the outward reflection of the spirit will manifest in the flesh in our conversation seasoned with salt. Grace then abounds in edifying one another in love rather than hitting the women in the church over the dress code.
Grace is an effectual flow of God which ministers to each individual in the body of Christ through the words of our faith. This is in no way a focus upon the clothes line of what we wear or what we don’t wear. Modesty is always the guide that one should attempt to display; their love of the Lord in all holy conversation. This is not done by the putting on of gold, silver, pearls or high dollar clothing, but it is apparel that reflects the hidden man of the heart in humility and sobriety. This in my opinion is true holiness. The woman learns in silence in subjection to her own husband, not bypassing her husband, showing submission only to her pastor which ultimately dishonors her head; that is, her husband. It will be nice to finally approach the day in which we will not have to wonder “What to Wear What to Wear”. For we will all be clothed in white raiment having washed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. The Lord only will be our shining light, clothed in our heavenly bodies.