WHAT ABOUT A GUY WEARING AN EARRING?

Wayne S. Walker

     Question:  “Is there anything wrong with a guy who is a junior in
high school having an earring, especially if he is not trying to rebel
but just wants to be able to do what the other guys in school are doing
and he is old enough to make his own decisions?”

     Perhaps there is nothing sinful per se with a teenage boy having an
earring.  The Bible does make reference to men wearing earrings in
ancient times, although usually the practice was associated with idolatry
or slavery.  When Jacob returned to Bethel, his people gave up both their
idols and their earrings (Genesis 35.1-4).  After the people of Israel
came out of Egyptian slavery they used their earrings to make the golden
calf and later to build the tabernacle (Exodus 32.1-2, 35.22; Numbers
31.50).  Idolatrous Ishmaelite men wore earrings (Judges 8.24).  Other
references appear to be of women wearing earrings as jewelry (Isaiah
3.20, Ezekiel 16.12, Hosea 2.13).

     Since the teenage boy in question is a Christian, there are at least
three issues that need consideration.  First, what are the parents’
wishes?  Ephesians 6.1 says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord,
for this is right.”  A child, even a teenage one, has been placed by God
under the subjection of his parents; so he is responsible to respect
their wishes and obey them, especially as long as he is living in their
home.  They should usually give a good reason for their decisions, but a
child is still expected to obey them even if he does not always agree
with them (Colossians 3.20).  Thus, if he is not trying to rebel, he will
abide by their will.

      A second consideration is that of influence.  In Matthew 5.16 Jesus
said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good
works and glorify your Father in heaven.”  The practice of men wearing
earrings in our society originated with the homosexual community.  Yes,
we have all heard the the “left is right, right is wrong” difference, but
that does not change the fact that the practice originated among
homosexuals.  The Bible teaches homosexuality is wrong (Romans 1.26-27).
Now, is that the kind of thing that person who is a Christian should want
to be associated with?  A Christian should be known for his good works,
not for some practice of questionable origin at best.  Would Jesus wear
an earring if He were alive today in our society?  The Bible indicates
that Jesus was not none for being extreme in dress and customs but was
pretty much a normal person in His society.  Thus, we should be moderate
and modest too.

     A third consideration is motive.  Why should a Christian want to
wear an earring just because others are doing it?  Paul wrote in Romans
12.2, “And do not be conformed to th world, but be transformed by the
renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and
acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Rather than wanting and trying to
be like everyone else, Christians should be different so that we might
show God’s way.  The question, “What’s wrong with it?” is not the real
issue.  We are not supposed to think only about what is wrong with a
thing but whether or not our motive is to glorify God (1 Corinthians
6.19-20).  The attitude, “I am old enough to make my own decisions,” is
one that can lead to rebellion.  Rather, whether young or old we should
let God help us make our decisions.  (From “Search for Truth,” May,
1997.)

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