Why Head Covering Is About Love
by Christiana Kuhlow
“When obedience to God contradicts what I think will give me pleasure, let me ask myself if I love Him.” – Elisabeth Elliot
Do you struggle with the fear of what other people will think of you for covering your head?
Most of us who cover probably have. When I first began to drape a scarf over my hair in church, I was petrified. I was the only one. While my husband and I were wholly convinced that this is what Scripture mandates and were glad to follow it, my personality is that of someone who strongly dislikes sticking out or doing anything that causes people to notice.
Would I lose old friends? Repel potential friends? Be gossipped about?
What would others think? Would they think I was legalistic, doing this because I believed it made me better in God’s eyes? Would they think that I sat in judgment of women who didn’t cover as I did? Neither of these was true, and the thought of it all made me sick to my stomach.
The one thing that has most sustained me through these questions is to rest my eyes on the Savior, and to do it for love of Him.
Many couples are into “love languages.” Even those who aren’t still tend to be familiar with the concept: knowing what speaks love specifically to your spouse. Some people feel most loved through quality time or conversation, others by acts of service, others by thoughtful gifts, others through physical touch, and still others through words of encouragement.
But, have you ever thought about what God’s love language is? God IS love, the Bible tells us. So He is the One Who gets to define it, and He certainly gets to tell us how to love Him.
Scripture actually leaves no question as to what God sees as love toward Himself.
It isn’t passionate words about how much we love Him.
It isn’t singing and praising and basking in the emotional glow of worship.
It isn’t faithful church attendance and ministry.
It isn’t service and sacrifice.
It isn’t even reading the Bible, or time spent with Him in prayer.
All of those will be the natural outpouring of a heart that loves Him, and all are necessary — yes!
But one can do all of those things and not love God.
How does God tell us we can show our love for Him?
“In fact, this is love for God: to keep His commands.” (1 John 5:3, NIV)
“If you love Me, keep My commands.” (John 14:15, NIV)
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46, NIV)
“To obey is better than sacrifice…” (1 Samuel 15:22, NIV)
So, what is God’s love language?
Hands-down. No question.
Let’s cut right to the chase.
We can be women who talk a great deal about loving Jesus, who read our Bibles, pray regularly, are kind to people, lead women’s ministries, sing at church, you name it… but not accept what Scripture says to women. Sometimes we do not honor the fact that God has some very clear and explicit commands for us to obey. And according to God, that’s not showing Him real love at all.
I’m not speaking about embracing what Scripture says on the roles of women yet failing to live it because “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.”
No, that’s true of even the most obedient and surrendered people.
Instead, I’m talking about coming to Scripture and making it say what we want it to mean, rather than coming with honest hearts that seek to know what God’s true desire is. It’s so easy to have a premeditated conclusion formed in our minds based on everything else we know, believe, or fear — isn’t it? We’re good at ignoring, twisting, or interpreting Scripture in ways that suit us, if we don’t really love what it actually has to say. We say to ourselves, “It can’t really mean THAT…” So we find a Bible teacher who agrees with us and confirms what we want to hear. We listen to a sermon that makes enough sense in our heads to silence the still, small voice within.
Truly, sometimes it is hard to know what a passage is saying. There are some portions which seem cryptic and others where an original Greek word has a wide range of meaning. However, if we are honest, most passages are very straightforward.
Sometimes, it’s hard to discern the specific will of God for our lives. But there’s a whole lot of His general will that is very clearly revealed to us in His Word.
For the longest time, I would say, “Oh, I am convicted to cover, but the Holy Spirit convicts us all differently.” But is that true, in this case? How can it be true that God’s Holy Spirit would convict us differently than what is revealed in God’s written Word?
Even when approached merely with a cursory glance, 1 Corinthians 11 does call for Christian women to cover while praying and prophesying. Then when I studied the passage in more depth — as well as the culture of the time and the original Greek text, it only confirmed and strengthened for me the plain meaning of the passage. I challenge you, with love, to come to this passage with an open and tender heart, asking God to make you as open and honest with yourself as possible.
We must consider that we really do tend to have a knee-jerk reaction in our culture to the portions of Scripture written specifically to us women. These are often ones that many churches seem to dislike, argue, or ignore altogether.
After all, don’t we seem more than willing to espouse and obey commands related to topics that are more culturally-acceptable & less controversial? Are those commands not written in the exact same epistles (and to the exact same churches) as these doctrines and ordinances about the role of women?
For instance, we don’t throw out the other nearby Scriptural passages on baptism or the Lord’s Supper. No, it’s only these instructions to women that we find so “controversial.”
But who made them controversial? God didn’t. The early church didn’t.
The world did. And we did, as we were all too willing to follow suit.
So, how can we love God through obedience if we won’t even acknowledge His instruction? We must acknowledge all his commands (even the unpopular ones) and do them in cheerful obedience.
When looking around at the faces of disapproval that may surround us, we may be overwhelmed beyond our ability to bear it. So let us cease looking around. When our focus slips, let us fix our gaze again firmly on the Lover of our souls, and say (in the words of the old hymn) with love in our eyes, “More love to Thee, oh Christ. More love to Thee.”
His is the only approval that matters.