By Irven Lee
Young men, how much is your hair worth? Absalom was much praised for his beauty, and his hair is given a prominent place in reference to his appearance (2 Sam. 14:25, 26). Have you seen a beautiful man? “Handsome” is about the best word we can find to describe a man who is most attractive, but the Bible describes Absalom as being beautiful. He had a remarkable amount of hair which he cut once in the year.
In history books we see pictures of heroes of early America and of noted Englishmen with attractive wigs. In the last twenty years we have again seen many young men with long hair, but I have not seen much beauty. Almost all who have had long hair have looked as if they had come out of a huge swamp where they had been lost for many weeks. They have looked as if they sorely needed a haircut, a bath, and some better clothes.
The long hair fad began among the city burning thieves who fought policemen and firemen during the wild, rebellious decade of the sixties. These young men not only had long hair, they also wore beads and filthy clothes, used perfume, and went without shoes on occasions. They did whatever was considered improper for men. They, by their appearance, vulgar and blasphemous talk, and deeds of violence, were showing their rebellion against the “establishment.” Hate for parents, government, business, and utter disregard for the rights of others made them act like shrewd brute beasts, if we can think of shrewd beasts. Many young women were as uncouth and rude as the young men.
I do not understand why young people from better homes followed these styles and demanded their right to look like the rebels. There must have been some of this rejection of authority on their part, too. These sons resented parents’ request for neat, orderly attire. They then had bitter conflicts with school principals who sought decent dress codes. They later went from place to place seeking employment and were bitter because they found that men in the personnel departments could read the message of rebellion in their appearance. They looked like people who could not work under any supervisor. Did they not realize this? Very many of these young rebels married and soon divorced because they did not like responsibility nor did they have any respect for the rights of others. Many did not bother to marry but lived more like a herd of animals.
Dr. Spock and others who rejected discipline for children will have much for which they will give account at the judgment seat of Christ. Children brought up under the influence of these permissive concepts became criminals who advertised their destructive tendencies by their dress and conversation. Some copy cats were actually better than they appeared to be. They seem to have been more stupid. They wanted to look like the law breaking crowd without actually being regarded as arrogant misfits. They paid the price for their rebellion against their parents and the customs of society. Our nation was seriously threatened.
Some who did not learn to obey their parents as children have now learned respect for authority and have opened their hearts to Bible influences. As Christians these can now bring their children into subjection with all gravity. We could wish that all had made this wonderful change.
Some changes of styles have come that indicate a calming of the violent spirit which resented anybody and anything that stood for authority. Many young men now wear longer hair than was the custom thirty years ago, but it is moderate and neatly styled. Cleanliness and courtesy are marks of these law abiding citizens. They are not necessarily rebels. They are conforming to a style which may be harmless.
The unisex fad is not harmless. The boy at the time of my youth would have felt insulted if he were called a “sissy.” He sought to look like a man. The young lady liked to have the feminine touch. Some neat and courteous young men have carefully groomed hair styles that are copies of some beautiful hair styles for women. “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering” (1 Cor. 11:14, 15.) This is from the Bible. Does it register on your mind?
I do not want a beard. Some men do. Each has a right to his own preference in this. It is obvious that a beard is masculine. The man with a beard does not look like a “sissy.” This is not at all the same as long hair for men.
The woman with her hair cut like mine is out of place in that matter if I recognize the expedient and lawful thing in this regard. It is certainly out of place for a woman to copy the vulgarity, blasphemy, smoking, and the use of alcohol which have been common among men. It is not smart to do such foolish things. In the past we have looked to women to help hold the standards of conduct higher. Let us thank God for every worthy woman in this generation.
Let us think with and about young men who have been blessed by having parents who are Christians. Some of these young men realize something of the blessings that they have received and they know the law of God that demands their obedience (Eph. 6:1; Col. 3:20). Their parents are made happy by this love and obedience and do not begrudge the thousands of dollars they have spent in bringing up their children.
Other of these young men decide to let their hair grow long and are rebuked by their parents. With very ugly stubbornness these boys may insult their parents and cut themselves off from a happy relationship with them. More is involved than a few inches of unslightly hair. There is rebellion within their hearts, and this is one way to show it. Listen, son, the approval of your parents is worth ten times as much as your hair, or is it one hundred times as much? Is there any comparison that would seem sensible when you think of hair and of the good will of parents? Is it fair to them that you should wear their family name in public?
Brethren at the place of worship may not call on these arrogant young people to take public part in the services. The young again show their arrogance by expressing their resentment. They then ignore the Lord’s church and wear their long hair on toward the destruction which awaits those who refuse to walk in the only way to the Father (John 14:6). The soul is worth more than the world and long hair, too. Is one so blind that he cannot see this? Such a price is too great to pay to look like a rebel!
Young man, do you need a haircut? Well, get one! Please do not embarrass your parents. Paul could leave off the eating of meat rather than become a stumbling block to some of the brethren. Their good will is precious. That unsightly hair is not worth two cents. It will, in my judgment, be a more attractive America when barbers are given a chance to do their work more often. There are many faithful brethren who feel as I do.
Guardian of Truth XXVII: 8, pp. 237-238
April 21, 1983