So...You're going to wear that?
Now make sure and give your "best" to God...
When I was growing up I had this ground into me: “When you go to church you need to wear your best because you have to give God your best.” For me, and many, many others this created an atmosphere of dread about going to church. There is always some variation of “how you need to dress” while attending church floating around out there. I personally hate it because it drives people away from attending church. I definitely struggled attending church growing up because our family was poor. My father was an alcoholic who drank all of our money away. We had very little in way of “church clothes” and needless to say we got stern looks when we attended church because of what we wore.
This issue is so subjective and divisive at the same time.
Now, please do not mishear me on this. If you want to dress up and attend church then by all means please do. When you impose that standard on others you are wrong. Period. If you make others feel bad for wearing their “best” because it does not measure up to what your standards are then you are nothing more than a Pharisee.
I was on staff at a semi-large church years ago and I wore polo’s and khaki’s to church because that’s what I was comfortable in and that is what I had. One Sunday we had a fellowship meal after church and I sat at a table with a few church members who took issue with me and how I dressed for church. “How come you don’t wear a tie to church?”, “How come you don’t wear a suit to church?”, “Don’t you know that you’re supposed to wear nicer clothes to church? You’re supposed to give God your best.”. I’m not kidding. I looked at a questioner and politely asked a few questions of my own. Here is a snippet of the conversation:
“Do you take your suit off when you get home from church?”
“Yes” was his response.
“So you just give God your best for an hour on Sunday morning? Then come home and take it off, put your best on a hangar for next Sunday?”.
He just stared at me.
I call this the “Doctrine of Dress”, I’m sure there are other names for it but that is how I describe it. It’s a doctrine that is based in works righteousness. Somewhere along the way someone came up with the idea that everyone had to have their “Sunday Best” in order to attend church. Brownie points with God and all that jazz forgetting that all of our righteous acts are like filthy rags. (Isaiah 64:6)
My sister visited with us over Easter and asked me: “All I have is jeans is that okay to wear to church?”. Even after watching me preach online in jeans for over a year she still had to ask that question. You see, the “Doctrine of Dress” is still there, lurking like some monster in the recess of her mind. She was worried about what others would think or say to her regarding what she wore. It is insanity but it is also a powerful device used to shame people and keep them away from the church. The Devil is no fool.
Obviously common sense is involved when dressing for church. If you shame people for what they wear to church please stop. You have no clue the damage you are doing to them. I preach in a polo and jeans now. I have been for years. If you care more about what your pastor is wearing than the Scripture he is preaching then something is wrong with you…
Your attending church for the wrong reason(s), but when you get home make sure to hang up your best. Nest Sunday will be here before you know it.