Q. I had my nose pierced last summer and my pastor very rudely told me to remove it. He compared it to having tattoos and wearing flip-flops with mini skirts to church. Isn't what's in my heart or the fact that I'm actually in church more important than what I look like?
A. I am not as personally concerned about whether a person has a nose ring, a tattoo, or the "proper attire" for church as I am about their character and relationship with God. So, yes, I agree with you: It's what's in the heart that matters most. I'd rather see a person in church with a piercing than not in church.
As a minor, though, this all comes down to the guidance of your parents. What's their thought on your appearance?
The next question I would ask: Why did you get a nose ring? What statement—intentional or not—are you making? It may be positive. It may not. It's something for you to think about. Why do you choose to look the way you do? And what unintended impressions could that give others?
One last thought: We all have to respect one another. It sounds like your pastor could have been more respectful and loving, but you also want to respect your church and your pastor's wishes. No, how you dress is not as important as your relationship with Christ, but you don't want to be a distraction or give off the wrong impression with your look.
Jim is an author, longtime youth worker and founder of HomeWord, a group seeking to honor God through strong families.
Copyright © 2009 by the author or Christianity Today/Ignite Your Faith magazine.
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