It was close enough to Christmas that I was in the grocery store trying to purchase the last-minute forgotten items for the big dinner. I was focused and intent on getting back to the line in time, so I left a couple of friends holding my place. I noticed a grandmotherly lady taking her time as if she had nowhere to go. She was wearing a skirt that covered her ankles and her salt-and-pepper, better-than-shoulder-length hair was the only other thing that stood out. One of my treasured items laid on the shelf she stood in front of. I politely reached to get it, nearly ready to dart to the check-out.
“Excuse me,” the feminine and matured voice got my attention, but not as much as what was to come. ” Sir, can I ask you a question?”
” Sure,” I responded.
“What are you going to do when the Lord comes and He says you can’t make it in because of all that long hair?”
A hundred smart, savvy, and not-so-righteous things flashed through my mind. I had to fight the urge to break out in song and sing some India Arie. (For those who don’t know, she sings a wonderful song called “I Am Not My Hair.”)
Instead, I decided to explore.
“What would make you believe that I won’t make it in because of my hair?” I asked her.
“Oh, I’ll be glad to tell you. When you go home read ______________________.” Trying to explain that her understanding was flawed and her interpretation out of context was like telling a child that candy is not good for you. It fell on deaf ears.
Just when I was getting my theologian hat out of my back pocket, the phone rang. I was out of time and in disbelief that a fellow saint had just wished me a Merry Christmas by saying that I was going to hell with my hair.
Is this really what a relationship with Jesus Christ is all about? Is this judgment and condemnation of strangers effective evangelism? Wait… was she even trying to tell me about Jesus or salvation? I’ll never know. What I do know is this: I love God, and I love my hair.