Where’s Your Scarf At?

I lay down one day and in the depth of my meditations, lost in thoughts I wondered what God must think of the things that we do religiously. I wondered if He really had his stamp of approval on every ‘spiritual’ principle that we hold so dearly to.

Would God really not recognize his children beyond the tattoos on their earthly bodies?

Does he care so much about our clothing that our eternal destinies, the validity of our acquittal and redemption, have become contingent on what we wear or do not wear?

Does he retract his blessings over us, replacing them with curses when we fall short on tithing? Sighs. How we use our money matters to Him but I’m pretty sure God is no tyrant.

~ Would God really throw my requests back in my face or walk out on a conversation with me, his daughter, just because my scarf is missing?

~ Isn’t sin clearly defined in the bible already? Then what does God have to say about these gray areas?

These are very valid thoughts and questions but we will be talking specifically about the issue of head covering for women today. Someone once said that our walk with God can only be as good as our knowledge of Him. I couldn’t agree more. Your relationship with anyone can only go as far as what you believe about them. Our convictions and beliefs completely colour everything and our relationship with God is no exception.

This is why God has given us the revelation of His Word in black and white. It is important that you strive always to know the truth and seek the right answers to your questions about God but more importantly seek them in the right place – the bible. This is the only place where the truth that sets free is discovered.

On Head Covering.

The issue of whether or not women are to cover their heads in places or times of worship has caused quite the controversy among the body of Christ, it has even led to arguments and unnecessary discrimination in some gatherings. How sad it is that earthly principles will tear spiritual families apart from each other (but not from Christ).

The controversy exists not because God deems one denomination holier or more acceptable than the other but rather because in spiritual understanding, the Church’s tolerance of each other is yet to catch up to the reality of our oneness in Christ. Therefore we must know that as important as it is that we strive to understand more, so it is that we are perfected in love toward each other.

Now as far as God’s relationship with his children goes, I tell you, your head covering is no more important than what you had for breakfast. Whether we as women tie scarfs or not is hardly relevant in our personal walk with God but nevertheless, it is important. You’ll see what I am saying. Let’s open our bibles.

1 Corinthians 11: 2-6 [NLT]

“2 I am so glad that you always keep me in your thoughts, and that you are following the teachings I passed on to you.
3 But there is one thing I want you to know: The head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.
4 A man dishonors his head if he covers his head while praying or prophesying.
5 But a woman dishonors her head if she prays or prophesies without a covering on her head.
6 Yes, if she refuses to wear a head covering, she should cut off all her hair! But since it is shameful for a woman to have her hair cut or her head shaved, she should wear a covering.”

Notice that the first thing Paul (the writer of this book) does in this chapter is to establish a hierarchy and give recognition to each person’s authority. He explains as he states in verse 3 that the authority of Christ is God (meaning that Christ is responsible and accountable to God), the authority of man is Christ which also means that man is responsible and accountable to Christ. And finally, the head of woman is man. Helpful to note that the Greek word ‘Gune‘ which is translated as woman, more specifically refers to a wife, or someone who is betrothed. So, a woman (obviously married) is responsible and accountable to her husband (not just any man).

And so verse 4 says that a man who worships God with his head covered dishonors God, his head. But a woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors, that is to disregard, her husband. By implication, this means that if anyone’s head covering is likely to offend or not offend God it will be that of the man. A woman’s head covering is only important to God where the authority of a husband over her is concerned. This is because head covering for a woman is nothing but a symbol of her submission to the authority of her husband over her. The scarf or turban itself has no more value than a woman’s husband places on it. I dare say that this instruction is heavily targeted at married women.

It is also important to note that the cultural background of the scriptures is mostly eastern (Jewish/Arab). Looking at verse 10 of the same scripture, we’d see that a head covering on a married woman means to them what a wedding band/ring means to a married woman in our society. Because of this cultural influence, an “unscarfed” woman is compared to one who is bald.

1 Cor 11:13 – 15 [AMP]

“Consider for yourselves, is it proper and decent [according to your customs] for a woman to offer prayer to God [publicly] with her head uncovered?”

Please take note of the words in the square brackets. Credit is given to the Jewish tradition here as the basis for this instruction and the word “publicly” denotes that the head covering or lack of it only matters because of how it reflects on a woman’s husband in public. This means she may pray in the privacy of her home with hair uncovered and perhaps it won’t mean a thing either to her man or to God.

1 Cor11:10 [KJV]

“For this cause ought the woman to have power on her head because of the angels.”

The word power here is used in place of covering and by power, he meant authority. Covering over a woman’s head refers more to her husband than it speaks of a scarf.And the angels in this verse are in the picture not because they will be tempted if your hair is uncovered but because being messengers under authority themselves, they show reverence to God and it is regarded as offensive and disorderly that one would show a lack of reverence to God by disregarding his authority over her in her husband.

This goes without saying that God honors the authority of the husband over a married woman and so a woman can only be charged with dishonor if her husband sees it as one. If a woman’s husband says she leaves her hair out or wear anything as long as she has her wedding band on, then that wedding ring takes the symbolic place of the scarf. The whole essence of this is that you dishonor God when you dishonor the authority he has placed over you (be it husband or parents) and a woman praying or prophesying while she disregards her husband would worship ineffectively. It’s like trying to hold a wall up while it pulling down at the same time.

“14 Does not the native sense of propriety (experience, common sense, reason) itself teach you that for a man to wear long hair is dishonor [humiliating and disregarding] to him,
15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her ornament and glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering.”

Apparently, the fact that we women have hair on our heads is enough ‘covering’ as it is. So if you are wondering whether an unmarried lady should cover her head in church or anywhere or not, here is your answer. Your hair is enough coverage. If your father, whose authority is still valid over you, does not enforce it then you are good to go. God has no problem with our heads being uncovered as long as we are not disobeying anyone important to do so.

Albeit, God desires that every woman honor the authority over her. That is why I stated above that head covering does not matter in our walk with God unless it shows dishonor in any way to the authorities he has placed over us. Your relationship with God is just fine if your head is uncovered.

What Other Things Does God Say About These Rules and Customs?

Colossians 2:8, 21-23 [NLT]

Don’t let anyone capture you with empty philosophies and high sounding nonsense that come from human thinking and from spiritual powers of this world rather than from Christ. Don’t handle! Don’t taste! Don’t touch! Such rules are mere human teachings about things that deteriorate as we use them. These rules may seem wise because they require strong devotion, pious self-denial and bodily discipline but they provide no help in conquering a person’s evil desires.

Dear sister, if you want to wear a scarf, wear it. If you don’t want to wear one then don’t. God has no problem with it. A sister whose head is covered is not more acceptable than one whose hair isn’t. And the wearing of a scarf does not make one’s prayer more effective than that of others. It is mere tradition.

How about in a situation where your local Church demands you have your scarfs on, or, perhaps in a family where parents are keen on having scarfs worn during public worship? For the sake of peace and honour, do wear your scarfs. Though you know better, you also should be careful not to let what you wear or do not wear to be a cause for dishonour or a reason for disunity, see 1 Corinthians 8.

Col 3:1-3 tells what God cares about the most and expects from all his daughters:

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God.

Beyond what is on your body, please search your heart continually and be sure it is in the right place. Peace.

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