General Self-Management

Hair Glory

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One of the guys I mentor recently graduated from barber school.  He cut my hair many times for practice as part of his class assignment. Looked good! It also gave us many opportunities to talk about life and Jesus and everything in between.

Hair.

We’re born with it, albeit some of us came out of the womb balder than a billiard ball, while others had so much hair they could use a cut right away!

The Bible talks about hair a lot. I counted 93 times hair is mentioned. Some of it was referring to goat’s or camel hair, but most of it was either the hair on a man’s head or a woman’s.  In many cases it was dealing with how to handle someone with leprosy. Often the hairs had to be shaven off as part of the cleansing process. In other cases, the Bible talks about the glory of hair, including beards.

Many Middle Easterners have dark, black hair. In fact, around 70% of the population has black or dark brown hair. Only 3% have blonde hair and 2% have red hair. I have brown hair, representing around 25% of the population.  Jesus most likely had black hair. 

Somewhere along the way, guys hit what is known as puberty. The pituitary gland wakes up, hormones kick in and something glorious happens!  The boy starts to stink! His sweat glands excrete odors. We call it body odor (BO!). He also starts growing hair where he’s had none before:  armpits, upper lip, legs, arms, and yes, around his pubic area. That, along with his voice changing and his body growing, can all seem awkward, even embarrassing.  But it is not a sin. 

Jesus went through puberty just like guys do today and none of it was sin. In fact, his adolescence came with temptations, just like ours. And yet, Jesus never sinned. He never took the bait, even sexually.

Hebrews 4 reminds us…

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. 

What do Jesus and hair have in common?  Everything.

Somewhere along the way, maybe in his teens, Jesus not only developed pubic hair, but facial hair as well. At some point, his peach fuzz became a beard. At some point, he most likely grew chest hairs. At some point, his body odor caught up with him. At some point, being the oldest in his family and thus the first one of his siblings to go through puberty, his mom Mary, probably told him to go down to the river and bathe. My hope is, his dad, Joseph, had the “talk’ with Jesus.  How do you explain puberty and sexuality to the God of the Universe?!

Your hair is part of your glory. All of it. From head to toe and everywhere in between. Granted, there are some hairs I’d rather not have, like in my ears, but like any hair, it can be trimmed.

There’s been a push by some in the Gen Z crowd to shave all hair that is not on your head; armpits, chest, pubic, and legs. The idea seems to center on this theory that no hair is more sexually attractive, both for guys and gals. Medically-speaking, pubic hair offers two benefits:  1. It offers a way to trap odors; acting like a filter, and 2, It acts like a lubricant when engaged in sexual intercourse. 

When I had my quadruple heart bypass surgery, the medical team shaved everywhere on my body except my head. I felt as if had re-entered puberty again!  This may sound awkward, but as hair regrew, it gave me a better sense and appreciation for how God created our bodies. We are, as David says in Psalm 139, “fearfully and wonderfully made”.  Nothing to be ashamed of here!

God created body hair for glory. It is a way to reflect the image of God on your body. 

So, what’s a guy to do with his hair?  Keep it, trim it, and let it be part of the way you display glory. Get with a good barber and be creative on your cut. It might take a few experimental cuts before you capture the essence of your manhood but know that God wants to be glorified in your manhood, including your hair.

But, what if you don’t have hair?  Some guys go bald in their 40s or 50s. Others experience hair loss in their 20s. If that’s you, at some point you have to embrace your baldness and cut back what is remaining. There is no shame in baldness. Grow a beard, if you can. If not, know that for all the Bible talks about hair, your life is not your hair or lack thereof. Your life is Christ in you. Your character is of greater value than hair.

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

You can spend big bucks cutting, primping, and stylizing your hair. Do what fits you and your personality, but do it in a way that shows the glory of God in your hair. Let your hairstyle grow up with you. Don’t be 25 wearing a haircut suited for a 15-year-old.  Conversely, don’t be 18 trying to look like a 30-year-old. Flex styles as you mature. Wherever hair is on your body, let it glorify God.

Warrior On!

MW Editor’s note: Thanks to Alex Viscarra for his contributions to this article.

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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