Jehovah`s Witness/Long Hair On Male JWs
My father has been going back to many meetings recently, and he's been told that his long hair is going to be a problem with him coming back to the flock. He was told that he had to cut his hair shorter to be taken seriously that he indeed wants to return to the congregation. Does he really have to cut his hair shorter and if so, why is his long hair causing other JWs such discomfort in excepting him back into the fold?
Thank you for your question. I understand how that situation may be of concern and cause some worry. It is difficult to give a definitive answer to your question not knowing the local customs of the city where you live as to the attitudes that people have to men with long hair, nor do I know how long you are talking about. The length of hair is subjective. Just what is considered long in one community many not be considered long in another.
There are no rules
about grooming but
there are principles. The main one found at 1 Corinthians 11:14, 15
where the Apostle is writing to the congregation in Corinth. He writes “ 14 Does not nature itself teach YOU that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonour to him; 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her? Because her hair is given her instead of a headdress.”
Another principle that is considered was written in regard to woman and their grooming. This is found at what Paul wrote to Timothy “ 9 Likewise I desire the women to adorn themselves in well-arranged dress, with modesty and soundness of mind, not with styles of hair braiding and gold or pearls or very expensive garb, 10 but in the way that befits women professing to reverence God, namely, through good works.” ( 1 Timothy 2:9, 10
) The main points in that text are modesty
and but in the way that befits [people] professing to reverence God
A third principle that is considered is found at Titus 1:15
15 All things are clean to clean [persons]. But to [persons] defiled and faithless nothing is clean, but both their minds and their consciences are defiled” The idea here is that a mature Christian would not consider his own interests but consider how his conduct (grooming) might affect the conscience of others. In some areas long hair on a man may
be associated with people of an “alternative life style” or of an “unsavory nature”
Now there are no rules because cultures vary and what is acceptable in one culture may not bee acceptable in another, so the prevailing attitude to a style of grooming is what will set the standard.
I am going to cut and past an article from a Watchtower from March 15 1968. Please take not of the points I underline (Italics original)
The comments made by Paul to support what he was writing concerning the position of women in the Christian congregation were very meaningful to the Corinthians. He wrote: “Does not nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a dishonor to him; but if a woman has long hair, it is a glory to her?” (1 Cor. 11:14, 15) Under certain circumstances a Christian woman should wear a head covering as a sign of her recognition of theocratic headship. (1 Cor. 11:5) And this should have been suggested by what occurred naturally among those to whom Paul wrote, and by the customs with which they were familiar.
The Corinthian congregation was probably composed largely of Greeks and Jews, and among such people it is natural for women to have longer hair than men. This is not necessarily true among all peoples.
Scientists usually recognize three characteristic types of hair:
the long straight
hair of Orientals and Indians, the short wooly
hair of Negroes and Melanesians and the wavy
hair of Europeans and Semites. Of the first two types, “the difference of length in man and woman is scarcely noticeable” if allowed to grow uncut. But not so with the third type. In general, among men “the length rarely exceeds 12 to 16 in. [30 to 40 centimeters], while with women the mean length is between 25 and 30 in. [63 and 76 centimeters] and in some cases has been known to reach 6 ft. [1.8 meters] or more.”—The Encyclopædia Britannica, 11th Ed., Vol. 12, p. 823.
Additionally, those Christians were aware that it was the general custom
for men to clip their hair to a moderate length
. This was common with Jewish men, the long uncut hair of Nazirites marking them as men not following the general custom. (Num. 6:5) In contrast, Jewish women usually had their hair of considerable length. (Luke 7:38; John 11:2) Even the Greeks reading Paul’s comments would have appreciated his remarks concerning women having longer hair than men. This would have been emphasized to them by the fact that, in Corinth, shaving a woman’s head, or clipping her hair very short, was a sign of her being a slave girl or of being in disgrace for having been caught in fornication or adultery.—1 Cor. 11:6.
So Paul could draw on these normal differences to illustrate that there was a distinction between the sexes. The difference should have served as a reminder to those in the congregation.
What about the length of one’s hair today? Just as the natural length of hair differs among races, so do customs and personal tastes
. The short style of men’s hair in the Western world is patterned after the Roman custom, and it is considerably shorter than the style common for Jewish men in Jesus’ time. Similarly, women today quite often cut their hair shorter than was usual among ancient women. Yet, there is still a marked difference between the sexes. So, while personal taste and local custom have a definite bearing on how long a Christian man wears his hair
, he does want it to reflect his masculinity. Similarly, Christian women style their hair modestly and with evident femininity, so it will be a glory for them.—1 Pet. 3:3; 1 Tim. 2:9; 1 Cor. 11:15.
In either case, though, mature Christians, men or women, take into consideration how their personal appearance will affect others
. This is so that “in no way are we giving any cause for stumbling, that our ministry might not be found fault with; but in every way we recommend ourselves as God’s ministers.”—2 Cor. 6:3, 4.
Here is a portion of another article from our Insight on the Scriptures Volume 2
Paul’s reference to “nature itself” evidently included more than “custom,” which he mentions in verse 16 in connection with the use of a head covering by women. Hereditary characteristics also likely had a bearing on what Christians in Corinth viewed as natural. Among Europeans (such as the Greeks), the hair of women, when left uncut, usually becomes considerably longer than that of men. But this is not true of the straight hair of Orientals and Indians or of the woolly hair of Blacks and Melanesians.
In addition to their awareness of hereditary qualities among them, the Christians in Corinth knew that it was the general practice for men to clip their hair to a moderate length. This was common also among Jewish men; so the long uncut hair of Nazirites marked them as men who were not following the general custom. (Nu 6:5) On the other hand, Jewish women usually wore their hair quite long. (Lu 7:38; Joh 11:2) And in the Greek city of Corinth, shaving a woman’s head, or clipping her hair very short, was a sign of her being a slave or of her being in disgrace for having been caught in fornication or adultery.—1Co 11:6.
So, when saying that “nature itself” taught them, Paul evidently had in mind various factors that would influence their attitude as to what was natural.
In saying “Does not nature itself teach you . . . ?” Paul was not personifying nature, as though it were a goddess. Rather, God has given man reasoning powers. By observing and reasoning on things as God has made them and the results from using these in various ways, man can learn much as to what is proper. It is really God that teaches, and the man with his mind properly oriented by God’s Word can view things in their right perspective and relationship, thereby rightly discerning what is natural or unnatural. By this means the individual can have a trained conscience in this respect and can avoid a conscience that is defiled and that approves unnatural things.—Ro 1:26, 27; Tit 1:15; 1Co 8:7.
I hope that has given you some insight into why your father will need to cut his hear to a modest length