Tonight we had a meeting at the church...a rather frustrating meeting which seemed to revolve around a "dress-code" for those ministering in the church. All I could think was, "I can't believe how important this is to some people!" To me, as long as no one is dressing provocatively, or in a way that draws unnecessary attention to their body, there is no problem. I grew up with very conservative dress standards, and I went to school at a private school that had a dress code. When I moved to Mexico, I lived for two years on a ministry campus with a skirts-only dress code. I believe that dress code has it's place...and it's not in the church.
The story that keeps coming to mind is in the book of 1Samuel...the annointing of David as the future king of Israel. David seemed the most unlikely of all his brothers to become the next king...and I think the prophet Samuel was very surprised by God's choice. Yet God made himself very clear to Samuel in that passage: "I don't look at the same things people look at. People look at what is on the outside, at the appearance, and I look at the inside. I look at what is inside the heart." I don't think that God cares all too much about what we look like on the outside, or even so much about how we dress. He cares about the condition of our heart. He wants to know that we desire Him, that we are seeking after Him, that we want to love Him above all else. If our heart condition is straying from those things, He pursues us and draws us to Himself, wanting our love above all else. Whether we ladies wear pants or a skirt, our dress will not hide the attitudes that are inside of us. When I see a guy wearing a athletic shirt that proclaims the name of a certain sports team, I do not automatically judge him as idolizing that team. We can wear the holiest-looking clothes (I'm not exactly sure which clothes would be considered "holy"...maybe a long skirt and a buttoned-to-the-collar shirt) and have very unholy attitudes in our heart. Or we can wear sweats and t-shirts (the "uniform" around the house for busy moms like me) and be actively pursuing an intimate relationship with our Savior. The clothes...well, they are just clothes. They are just an "appearance"...not at all the real thing.
I will not contend with anyone who has different ideas for how Christians should dress. I respect other ideas and viewpoints...but I do think that it just distracts us from the real issue at hand. If my goal as a believer is to share the good news of the Gospel with everyone that I can, I must admit that I will be much more concerned with their hearts than with their outward appearances! If it ever came down to telling someone what NOT to "wear", I think I would advise against things like unforgiveness, judgemental attitudes, untruthfulness, or gossipping tongues way before I would think about the clothes. After all, clothes wear themselves out with time...but heart issues can have an eternal effect.