I attended a wedding a while back and was stunned to see some guests looking like they were going to a backyard BBQ. Uh, hello. Didn't you know that formal gowns and tuxedos are part of this event? What makes you think your tee-shirt and rumpled jeans are appropriate on any level?
My niece's graduation from college a few years ago was no different. A crowd of slobs for the most part.
And who could forget the images of American citizens filing past President Reagan's casket under the Capitol Dome in their Hawaiian shirts, flip-flops and baseball caps? I kept asking: Who raised these people? It was a moment of national embarrassment for me.
But I think what troubles me most about America's cavalier way of dressing is that it has infected the Christian community as a whole. Not only do people show up for worship in slapdash form, common-sense modesty among Christians (especially females) has gone completely out the proverbial window. And not just in church, but everywhere.
Some tell me they've been "set free" from all things that bind, and I agree with them 100 percent. They are free, indeed.
Others say that God doesn't care. Wear whatever floats your boat. Daisy Duke shorts. Skin-tight jeans. Low-cut dresses. It's all good, girl. God's easy, and he only sees my heart. I might dress differently for an audience with the Queen of England, but hey, Jesus is merely the King of Kings. If I want to approach his throne in my underwear, no disrespect. God's cool with it. Understand?
Actually, no. I don't understand. Certainly I agree that sinners can come to God however they are. But God has always cared about the details of anyone who proclaims righteousness. Always.
When Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for "appearing righteous" in Matthew 23, he wasn't rebuking them because they appeared righteous. He was rebuking them because they weren't righteous.
He said they were like "cups and platters" that had been washed on the outside but contained dirty things within. His words of admonishment were: "Cleanse 'first' that which is within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also." He didn't say, "Cleanse the inside, but the outside can be dirty if you want it to be, because I really don't care." His only point was that their outward appearance (which he referred to as "beautiful," by the way) was not an accurate reflection of their inward condition.
What that scripture has always said to me is this: It's possible to look righteous and not be righteous, but it isn't possible to be righteous and not look it. That doesn't mean that, when you're righteous, you'll be inclined to wear a long robe and carry a cross when you go to the mall. It just means you won't be inclined to look like a hooker, when you're a true child of the King. ♦
"Enter through the 'narrow' gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." - Matthew 7:13-14
I'm linking to Spiritual Sundays.