Most humans tend to be passionate people, given to strong feelings and even stronger opinions.
Ask anybody what they think about someone in politics or some hot button issue, and you’ll probably get an earful.
Here’s another reality. Our past experiences and our present values and beliefs determine what we do or don’t do.
Your family of origin, how you grew up, the college you attended, and your church background (or lack of it), impact what you believe now and how you see the world.
Experiences and beliefs act as an emotional filter that always affects our present perspectives.
That being said, sometimes we are tempted to make a big deal about something that matters to us, and that’s fine, but my big deal might not be your big deal. And when that happens, sometimes all hades breaks loose!
Sadly, what amazes me, is how mean and vile some who call themselves Christ-followers can get when somebody disagrees with their view.
I love this quote by M.R. DeHaan. “We need not all agree, but if we disagree, let us not be disagreeable in our disagreements.” Wow. That would be nice, huh?
Here’s a reality check: some of the things you get irritated about have nothing to do with Biblical truth and far more about personal preferences.
In other words, some things matter to some Christians but not at all to Jesus.
Here are just a few examples of things Christians disagree about that you will not find anything about in the Bible:
- The volume of the worship music
- When and how often a church should take communion
- The appropriate translation of the Bible to use
- Guys wearing hats in church
And the list goes on.
To be clear. The “issues” listed above have absolutely nothing to do with any doctrinal concern.
I get it. You have an opinion, and that’s fine.
But rather than get all spun-out over your pet peeves, perhaps you should consider one simple yet important question: What mattered most to Jesus?
As Christ-followers, it would seem evident that what upset Jesus ought to disturb us. If it mattered to Him, it should matter to us. Conversely, if it didn’t seem to matter much to Jesus, perhaps it shouldn’t matter to us.
So, what upset Jesus?
- Spiritual arrogance
What mattered most to Jesus?
- Mercy and grace
- Forgiveness and eternal life
- Unity within the body of Christ
And again, the list goes on. Without question, there are a lot of essential things that do matter to God.
But in case you’re wondering, baseball caps worn in the church are not included.
Your view about a pastor wearing a hat in church is a matter of your personal preference, not Christian doctrine.
I can almost hear the gasp! But…but Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 that it is shameful when a “man prays or prophesies with his head covered.”
Yeah, a couple of things about that.
First, Paul starts and ends that passage by talking about church traditions, not church doctrines. And yes, he does encourage the practices he passed on to the new churches to be followed. However, context matters, and Paul was encouraging a church mixed with Jews and Gentiles to accept some traditions that were different for both.
Additionally, Paul said that a woman shouldn’t pray in church without her head covered! He also goes on to say it is shameful for a woman to cut her hair. Again, context matters. In his culture, typically, only prostitutes cut their hair.
So, I’m curious. Why is it we 21st century Christians focus on the guys and not the gals regarding head coverings?
I find it interesting that the people complaining about hats on men (typically, it’s women in the church) are not worried about the uncovered heads of the females in the room.
Oh, by the way, if you want to be literal about this issue of head coverings, Paul was specifically referring to prayer shawls, not baseball caps.
Okay! No more prayer shawls on guys allowed! I’m in!
I want to suggest something radical. Is it possible that God is much more interested in the posture of our hearts than he is in our outward appearance? (Check out 1 Samuel 16:7.) Can a guy with a baseball cap on in a church service be a passionate lover of Jesus? If so, isn’t that what matters most to God?
One last thing to consider. The church I pastor is trying our best to reach the younger generation (your kids and grandkids), and they think hats are cool in church—not shameful. When it comes to matters of preference, context still matters.
Remember, the same guy, Paul, who wrote about shawls, wrote this too: “I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some” (I Corinthians 9:22).
What does that mean to me?
It means I’ll wear a hat if it helps me reach a twenty-something who is far from Jesus.
And I’m pretty sure Jesus would too. (And of course, it would be a Dodgers cap!)
Dear brothers and sisters,
I close my letter with these last words:
Be joyful. Grow to maturity. Encourage each other.
Live in harmony and peace.
Then the God of love and peace will be with you.
2 Corinthians 13:11 NLT