Do the clothes make the person?

         Have you ever heard the saying, “Clothes make the person”?  I’m sure my parents believed it.  I remember my father confronting me in the early 70s, “We the people of this town pay you a good enough salary that you don’t need to walk around looking like a beach bum.”  I loved my floppy university T-shirt from my university on the ocean and my cut off jeans. 

         According to the Internet this saying means, ”There are actually two meanings to this saying; simply put it means that people are judged based on the clothing that they wear and are treated accordingly. On a deeper level this phrase can be understood to mean that by dressing in a certain manner you can actually shape your behavior and affect the way you perform.”  Before a big test I always got a good night’s sleep and wore clothes that I felt appropriate in.  The man in the parable Jesus started yesterday did not follow this advice.

         A king gave a wedding banquet for his son.  The invited guests did not come for their various reasons and the king was furious.  The servants bought in people from all stations of life.  The king notices that a man at the banquet was not dressed appropriately and had him thrown out.  The parable concludes, “many are invited but few are chosen.”  That feels harsh.  What is Jesus saying?

         Wearing clothes appropriate to the occasion shows respect for the host.  Refusing the clothes that might have been provided in that culture or coming inappropriately dressed is as insulting as refusing the banquet invitation by those first invited.

I would use the word “integrity” to describe the agreement of my inner self with the way I represent myself in the world.  While some dress to impress or draw attention and thus gain some sort of status, dressing appropriately is respectful. 

         As a Christian, we talk about being “robed in the blood of the lamb,” meaning that we look to the cross and what that says of our relationship to God.  To refuse the “robe” is to refuse relationship.  To refuse to wear the team uniform is paramount to rejecting membership on the team.

         Let’s think today of statements we try to convey by the way we dress.  And let us thank God that we are clothed in his love and forgiveness and don’t have to worry about a fashion statement. Blessings. 

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