Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Jewelry Controversy

I've been having a bit of a controversy in my mind.
When Jon and I started dating we made a decision that we would examine everything ourselves to decide if we agreed with what we'd been taught by family and school before we believed it ourselves.
We went to a very strict, conservative school during high school and didn't agree with some of the things that we'd been taught.
Unless we could find biblical proof or a logical explanation then we would disregard what we'd been taught.
This worked well for us. It reaffirmed things we'd been taught since childhood and helped us to see where our family and teachers were coming from. It also allowed us to drop, guilt-free, some things that we couldn't find a reason for.

But for some reason I never studied jewelry. I'm not a big bling person. Turtlenecks annoy me. Why would I want something else around my neck. My wedding ring still bothers me and I've been married for 14 years. I've read the verses in the Bible about not putting holes in your body or permanent marks (tattoo) on your body. I'm okay with that. That isn't the problem.
The problem is the kind of jewelry that doesn't require something permanent.
Is is okay?

So I have decided to study it out.

These are the reasons that I've been given for not wearing jewelry.

1. It is vain. And causes a person to focus on self.
I get this. If I'm buying things to make me appear better, I'm focusing on me. I'm not focusing on others. And people can go overboard trying to accessorize and not be focusing on the real reason that we are here.

But what if it's tasteful and used just as a scarf or fancy buttons would be used? I do think we should take care to appear nice and neat and tasteful. Not ugly and doudy. (Is that a word?)

2. It's a waste of money spent on something that serves no purpose.
I understand this as well. There are starving people. Both spiritually and physically. The money that is often spent on jewelry could go a long way towards feeding the hungry, clothing the poor and helping those that are down.

What if the only jewelry that I purchased was charity jewelry? It's items are made by and for the poor. 100% of the money goes back into the charity to help those who are making it. Would this cancel out reason #2? And would it count if no one knew that I'd purchased charity jewelry?

3. The Bible says not to wear jewelry.
Here are the texts that I've found concerning jewelry. I will be paraphrasing some of them, but will give the texts. You can look them up if you want to.

Ezekiel 28:11-19
It talks about how Satan wore the most beautiful jewels. But the richness and beauty turned his head and heart and he became evil and vain.

 1 Timothy 2:9-15
It says that women should be modest and not draw attention to themselves by what they wear. It mentions jewelry and expensive clothes.

1 Peter 3:1
Women shouldn't be so concerned about their outward appearance, but should be more concerned with their internal beauty. The beauty of a gentle and calm spirit.

These three Bible verses are always the ones that are pointed out to me. And to my amusement it is often by people wearing a very expensive watch or outfit. They seem to miss the point of expensive clothing. I'm a pretty frugal person and will not spend excessive amounts of money on anything. So my clothing is (hopefully) well made, but inexpensive. My watch isn't the most expensive, but will hopefully last me even longer than my last one. I understand the point of not knowing where to draw the line so drawing it at no jewelry at all. But is that what God was really telling us? Does this mean no jewelry at all? Or does this mean that our demeanor, our actions should tell everyone that we meet that we are Christians and that we love them?

What about all of the examples in the Bible of jewelry being given to people?

Gen 24:47
Abraham's servant gave jewelry to Rebekah.

Gen 41:42
Pharaoh gave a ring and necklace to Joseph.

Luke 15:22
The father gives jewelry to his prodigal son.

Lots of other verses talk about brides or wives wearing jewels for their husbands.

I've been taught not to take one or even two verses and base a whole belief on those few verses. I'm supposed to take each verse and back it up with another verse. I'm to build on each verse.

I would like to conclude this with what I now believe, but I'm still not sure. I really understand the reasoning behind the people who say that jewelry can lead to sin or that it doesn't serve a purpose.
But on the other hand, I can't call wearing it a sin. I haven't found anything in the Bible that shows me that if I wear it I'm doing something wrong. 

The only thing that I can conclude is that I need to work on the spiritual aspects of my life more than the physical.

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