Pink Hair & the Love of Christ

Clearly this post on pink hair has struck a bit of a nerve, and as there have been a few questions, I wanted to follow up with a couple more thoughts.

First, the goal really must be compassion. The problem is that the God-haters have almost entirely hijacked the meaning of the word compassion. Compassion has come to mean not telling the truth, at least not very loudly or very publicly. Compassion has come to mean not hurting anyone’s feelings. But a compassionate doctor is not being compassionate if he fails to tell the truth about what ails someone. A compassionate doctor is being cruel if he smiles and pretends all is well. True compassion must be defined by God and His Word, not by our sensibilities or emotions. Likewise, the parents of a small child with a splinter in his foot must not believe the little boy’s protests or claims to be dying. No, you will not die. No, it will not hurt as much as you think. Love sacrifices for the good others. And love often sacrifices in the face of much resistance. “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us… while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…” (Rom. 5:8, 10) Never forget that Christ died for those who killed Him. Christ’s love was manifested in His death at the hands of those who most violently resisted His love. And never forget that when God calls a man, He bids him come and die (Bonhoeffer). This is true Christian compassion and love.

Second, it is not legalism or binding of consciences to point out sin. A father or mother needs to apply principles to every day life all the time. “Son, when you throw your peas off your high chair, you are in sin.” Now, there’s no Bible verse about throwing peas off high chairs. So is that parent a legalist? Is that parent binding the conscience of that two year old unbiblically? No. The parent is entrusted with caring for the soul of his child. An unbiblical form of legalism or binding of conscience happens when a Christian says that such and such application means that somebody can’t be or isn’t a Christian or is a second class Christian. This was the sin of the Judaizers. “You might believe in Jesus, but until you’re circumcised and keeping the kosher food laws, you’re not really in the inner circle of Jesus.” But that is antithetical to the gospel because the Church is God’s great refugee camp for all who look to Jesus in faith. All are welcome. Let me say that again, all are welcome. Sodomites, pedophiles, adulterers, porn-addicts, thieves, murderers, prostitutes, bitter, angry, blue hair, pink hair, tongue rings, lip rings, and tattoos — whatever. Christ died for all kinds of sins and all kinds of sinners, and nothing can separate you from the love of Christ if you have placed your trust in Him. His arms are open wide. Jesus welcomes all who truly seek refuge in Him.

Third, my words of warning about pink hair and its connection to the sins of gender confusion are no different than Peter’s words to believing Christian women with disobedient husbands in the first century: “Do not let your adorning be external — the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear…” (1 Pet. 3:3). Is Peter a legalist? Is he creating second-class Christians? Is he binding consciences? What about all the women in the churches of the diaspora that wore braided hair? What about all the sweet Christian women who wore gold jewelry? Did they feel ashamed and singled out? What about those women with braided hair whose husbands were notorious sinners? Peter knew about all of these possibilities, but he also knew, as all wise pastors know, that women frequently sin with their hair and their clothing and their jewelry. Men sin in some ways; women sin in other ways. We often try to soften Peter’s words here. I know I have sometimes found myself inserting the word merely… don’t let your adorning be merely external… But that word is not in the Greek! Peter doesn’t leave any room for exceptions! Is Peter saying that a woman who braids her hair is always, necessarily in sin? No. But he is a wise and loving pastor who sees how women are sinning with their hair in the churches of God in his day and tells them to stop doing that. Why? Because he loves them. Because he wants better for them. “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 Pet. 3:4).

God knows I’m no Peter, but let the record show that I love the women in my church, the women in my family, and the women who read my blog. And I will not stand by idly and watch as I see some of them settling for something less than the glory God made them for. Do not let your adorning be with blue hair or lots of piercings or more tattoos or catalogue clothing or gym-sculpted abs or whatever the next fad is. Let it be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, because that is so precious in God’s sight. Imitate the holy women of old who hoped in God and adorned themselves by submitting to their own husbands, whose daughters you are if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening (1 Pet. 3:5-6). Who are you looking to for your fashion sense? Who is your model for beauty? Peter exhorts Christian women to look to the holy women of old for models of Christian beauty. Let your adornment be like that. If you’re studying catalogues and fashion websites full of people who hate God to find out what beauty is, you are disobeying God and your tastes are being warped.

And last, notice the promise: If your heart is quiet and gentle and it rests in the Lord, then you are fearless. You are not afraid of anything that is frightening. But if a blog post pointing out the connections between gender confusion and gaudy hair styles seems threatening to you, I sincerely doubt your heart is very quiet.

Sister, I want you to have that quiet in your heart. I want those lying, accusing voices to go away forever. I want that aching anxiety to completely melt away and never return. I want that deep sadness, that shame, that guilt, that constant, suffocating depression to die. I want you to feel your Father’s infinite love and joy in you because of the death and resurrection of His Son Jesus Christ. I want that for you. Do you have that?

His arms are open wide, and if you look closely you can see scars in his hands. Those scars were for you, and therefore you are most welcome.

  1. TeresaR April 22

    What does the Bible say about hair dye?

  2. - April 22

    An estimated 1,380 Children in Moscow, ID are will lack adequate access to food at some point this year.

  3. Rich Gall April 22

    Toby, between this post and the last, you clearly believe there is a divinely appointed standard of beauty which best represents the Glory of a Godly woman. Clearly pink hair is out. As are other objectionable piercings. But can you provide a comprehensive list of what God wants from women when it comes to their personal beauty practices? As a father of two daughters and the husband of a wife who I want to best emulate God’s best practices for beauty and her glory, I need to know.


  4. ClarkS April 24

    If you are just posting sarcastic responses to Toby’s genuine, heartfelt, concern for Christian women being led by the world’s standards of beauty, you really need to examine your own heart. You can disagree with him, but he is trying to be a prophetic voice to a confused church, and it deserves a little more thought than just a sarcastic, biting retort.

  5. Abigail Reno April 24

    So are you saying that all women with tattoos & piercings are struggling with anxiety, guilt & depression? Some of the most godly women I know adorn themselves with such things. And why is having 6-pack abs a sin? I know the Bible never adresses that. I rock climb, do yoga, run, hike, dance – am I sinning for causing my body to be in shape? Why is it that you think that your western, white, conservative view of what is aesthetically pleasing to YOU is what God cares about? I’m genuinely curious.
    In regards to Israel, God spoke to Ezekiel saying:
    9“ ‘I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. 10I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. 11I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, 12and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth.”

  6. Abigail Reno April 24

    And I’ll add: what makes you think that Christian women who abide by your appearance regulations are NOT struggling with depression/anxiety/guilt/doubting their faith?

  7. Abigail Reno April 26

    Also, why is this only concerning women? Is it ok for men to have tattoos, dyed hair and tattoos?

  8. Joseph April 27

    Good day, Pastor Sumpter.
    I’m not generally a fan of the product of the CREC and associated thinkers, but I appreciate you having the fortitude to dare address such a topic. I do pray that you are emboldened with as much support as you have had flack for your remarks. Don’t give into it, and don’t soften the Truth.

  9. Garett Kerber May 9

    Reading the comments shows the problem we have with reading comprehension in this day and age.

    Thank you for your words of wisdom, Pastor Sumpter.

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