The place where I get my haircut has a sign outside that says “We don’t serve people who are unmasked, racist, or homophobic.” They also fly a rainbow flag all year long. I believe in a biblical definition of marriage, which I’m pretty sure would fit their definition of homophobic. So can I still get my haircut there?
Hostility toward biblical marriage is increasing, so it is no surprise your hairdresser is flying the rainbow flag. Your question is timely and important—how should Christians interact with businesses that openly promote behavior the Bible condemns?
First, I encourage you to stay calm. Remember that man’s anger does not produce the righteousness of God (James 1:20). In fact, Christians should expect slurs like “homophobic.” Christ calls us to rejoice in such persecution, as we share in his sufferings (Matt. 5:11–12). We shouldn’t let outrage keep us from considering the situation carefully in light of God’s Word.
When faced with a decision—in this case, whether to continue your relationship with your hairdresser—I have found two questions to be helpful. First, does the Bible prohibit it? And second, is it wise?
Additionally, here are three principles to bear in mind about associating with unbelievers.
1. The Bible allows it.
Paul tells us not to be “unequally yoked” with someone who does not follow Christ (2 Cor. 6:14). Therefore, Christians should not commit to long-term partnerships, whether in business or in marriage, with people who do not share our most fundamental loyalty.
At the same time, Paul recognizes that we have to live in the world. It’s unreasonable to avoid all association with people who are sexually immoral or engage in other sin (1 Cor. 5:10). And before we become puffed up with self-righteousness, Paul reminds us that, in fact, “such were some of you.” (1 Cor. 6:11).
You are not in partnership with your hairdresser—you can choose to go somewhere else at any time. Thus, you are not disobeying God if you continue to get your haircut at the same place. The Bible does not require us to only purchase goods and services from Christians.
2. It may be unwise in some situations.
At the same time, the search for God’s will does not end with whether a particular choice is forbidden. We should still consider what is prudent. Something can be lawful but not helpful (1 Cor. 10:23).
We can and must live in the world, including interactions with people who do not honor God. At the same time, we cannot allow the world to change our desires in an ungodly manner. Paul warns us, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company ruins good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33). Peer pressure can easily draw our hearts into friendship with a disobedient world (James 4:4).
How might a hairdresser influence a Christian toward disobedience? Here is one example: God created men and women to be complements to each other. Our sex differences should be acknowledged and celebrated in the way we dress. The Bible teaches that men should dress in a masculine way, and women should dress in a feminine way, in accordance with cultural norms (Deut. 22:5; 1 Cor. 11:14–15).
God calls women, in particular, to dress modestly (1 Tim. 2:9). Yet today, androgynous and extreme hairstyles are increasingly popular. If you go to a secular hairdresser, you must be able to resist ungodly fashion trends. Jesus is Lord of all, including the barbershop.
Another consideration might be the wise use of your money. It’s possible that the rainbow flag is simple virtue-signaling, and it is also possible that the hairdresser will use your money to actively promote anti-Christian causes. Perhaps there is another hairdresser, maybe one just starting a shop, who would appreciate your business more. God has made you steward of your money, so you should consider the best way to be faithful, even in this small matter (Luke 16:10).
As with any matter requiring wisdom, I encourage you to pray, read your Bible, and talk to older, trusted Christians. Consider whether you might be tempted toward disobedience, either by the rhetoric or the fashion choices of your hairstylist. And then, in the power of the Holy Spirit, make your best decision whether you should continue going there.
3. It can advance the gospel.
Let’s say you determine that your hairstyle and current stylist represent a wise use of the money God has given you. In that case, I encourage you to see yourself as an ambassador for Christ, right from the barber’s chair (1 Cor. 8:19–23).
On the drive to your appointment, pray for the Holy Spirit to open hearts and guide your interactions. Make sure to treat the staff kindly and tip generously (Matt. 7:12). If your hairdresser enjoys talking, listen. Ask questions that may lead to conversations about spiritual things, including God’s design for marriage. When you leave, perhaps offer a pamphlet from your church or a link to an article of interest.
It’s possible, in the not-so-distant future, that rainbow flags will lead to actual refusal of service. This, and much worse, happens regularly to our brothers and sisters in Christ across the world. In the meantime, let’s be wise as serpents and innocent as doves (Matt. 10:16), using every opportunity to bring glory to Christ.