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Summer Blonde, Summer Not
by Alan Allegra
6/20/2019 / Christian Living
I can’t tell you how long I’ve waited to use that title. Because Clairol has not produced Summer Blonde Hair Lightener since the mid-60s (It’s actually archived in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History!), I’ve waited a long time to see what reaction that wordplay would get. I won’t know unless you email me, and I probably should not hold my breath.
A few years ago, during an extended period of unemployment, my job counselor suggested I dye my hair yellow to appear more “with it.” I decided to go “without it.” I could have colored my short hair with a magic marker, but the hairs would have deserted me a lot faster than they currently do. Besides, with my light Mediterranean olive skin tone, I would look like an ear of corn.
Like it or not, we place a certain amount of emphasis on looks. I don’t mean the looks drivers give you when you cut them off—I mean the outward appearance of each individual. Businesses have dress codes, prisons have uniforms, some church choirs have robes, and clowns have costumes. Everyone wears a different birthday suit, and we even decorate them with jewelry, dyes, inks, hats, glasses, and other distinctive accouterments. Even when we don’t take care to look a certain way, that look tells others that the person looks like they don’t want to look a certain way. The way we present ourself, whether through girth or garment, tells the observer something about our attitude.
There is one who can see through the outer garments, and it isn’t Superman. When God sent the prophet Samuel to find David and make him king, Samuel thought David’s big brother Eliab fit the bill, thinking, “‘Surely the Lord’s anointed is before him.’ But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart’” (1 Samuel 16:6–7). God’s evaluation is unlike ours, because he alone can see the heart of a person, and that is what he values most.
The apostle Peter admonished Christian ladies, “Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear—but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (1 Peter 3:3–4). Paul has the same message for Pastor Timothy: “I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works” (1 Timothy 2:8–10). By the way, notice that Paul mentions what men should do; he’s not just picking on the ladies! It’s just that, in those days, it was the women who adorned themselves more so than men. How things have changed!
God is interested in our hearts, which show themselves by our attitudes and actions (Mark 7). Man makes the clothes, but clothes don’t make the man (or woman). We all look different, and our clothes and bodies are wearing out. But, at any age, we can still wear “a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit” (Isaiah 61:3)!
Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology, and being a senior citizen!
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