“Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it…” (Psalm 127:1a)

One of the most exciting highlights for a couple married is planning for the life
to come as husband and wife. In Singapore, this typically involves getting a flat
or a place of residence. Much time and effort is then made in designing and
renovating the place so that it may be a dream place for the couple to begin a

Alas, while many couples focus on gathering the necessary resources to
construct the home, they forget that bricks and mortar do not make a home. The
most opulent and well-designed mansion is but vanity, if there is little love and
peace in the house. One may be seeking a place of refuge when one returns to
the house after work, but all he may find is a place of contention. Husband and
wife quarrel with each other and do not see eye to eye. The children rebel
against their parents and are constantly fighting. It is during such times that we
realise the wisdom in the Book of Proverbs, “Better is a dry morsel, and
quietness therewith, than an house full of sacrifices with strife.” (Prov. 17:1)
Similarly, “Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and
hatred therewith.” (Prov. 15:17) When such a situation arises, the house is just
but a mere shell and is not a home.

Moreover, the Christian home is meant to be a place where Christ is magnified.
However, when everyone at home is focused on the carnal things of the earth
rather than on Christ, it fails to be the home that God intended it to be.
A home may only be built when one acknowledges the Lord and relies on Him
for it to be built. Husbands and wives ought to remember that the marriage
covenant involves a tri-partite relationship, with God in the center of their lives.
God is the “glue” that will keep their marriage happy, as husband and wife
strive to encourage one another to grow in Christ and to serve Him. They will
also learn to forgive one another when quarrels arise, “And be ye kind one to
another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake
hath forgiven you.” (Eph. 4:32)

As for the children, parents must be mindful not to drive their children in the
ways of the world by encouraging them in vain ambitions. Rather, bring up
your children in the fear and admonition of the Lord and God will bless the
testimony of the family for Christ, “Train up a child in the way he should go:
and when he is old, he will not depart from it.” (Prov. 22:6)

A blessed home can only come when we follow the Lord. No Christ, no home.
On the other hand, Psalm 128 records the joy of one who fears the Lord as he
builds the home, “Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in
his ways. 2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and
it shall be well with thee. 3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of
thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. 4 Behold, that
thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD. 5 The LORD shall bless
thee out of Zion: and thou shalt see the good of Jerusalem all the days of thy
life. 6 Yea, thou shalt see thy children’s children, and peace upon Israel.” (Ps.


Can a Christian dye his/her hair? If yes, what colours are permissible?

I have recently received a few enquiries on this topic. Interestingly, the ones
who enquire are men seeking for guidance concerning the hair colour of women
folk. Nevertheless, we must also not forget that there may be men who seek to
dye their hair. Some do it as a fashion statement. Others do so because their hair
has turned white with age.

We must be clear that everything we do must be according to the principles of
Scripture and for the glory of the Lord (1 Cor. 10:31). This includes the way we
dress before others.

Some principles concerning the way we dress are:

1. The purpose for clothing is for modesty. When the Lord gave Adam and Eve
coats of skin after the fall, it is for covering their nakedness due to sin (Gen
3:21). Thus, Paul’s injunction to young pastor Timothy is that the women
folk should adorn themselves with modest apparel that reflects
shame-facedness and sobriety (1 Tim. 2:9).

2. The fashion employed must be natural. This was the principle Paul used to
rebuke woman who had shorn their hair in the Corinthian Church, so much
so that they looked like men, “Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if
a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?” (1 Cor. 11:14)

3. Fashion should have no association with worldly or evil messages. The
Bible calls us to shun all appearances of evil. (1 Thess. 5:22)

Thus, Christians should not have hair dyed with unnatural colours. There are of
course some colours that are clearly unnatural, such as dyeing one’s hair blue or
purple. Such colours never appear in the palette of man’s hair and have associations
with pop and rock culture. Highlighting of hair in strands is also unnatural as this is
not something that we see happening to our hair unless we purposely seek to create
such colour bands in our hair.

Nevertheless, as a matter of pastoral advice and not of commandment, it would be
best if one can have the conviction of heart to accept that the greying of the hair is
but a reminder that we live in a corrupt world, and that we are closer to returning
home to be with the Lord. It is something that the Lord has permitted to happen to
our lives by His wise decree. Even the hairs on our head are numbered by the Lord
(Matt. 10:30). Would it not be better if we can accept that this is the good plan of the
Lord for us? It is thus best if we can learn to age gracefully in the Lord and look
forward to the time that we will be with the Lord forever.

We should also take care that we do not cause others to stumble with our fashion.
While we may be at liberty to dress in certain ways, or to dye our hair, if it
engenders issues with the weaker brethren, is it not better to set aside our rights to
pursue such a fashion? See Paul’s argument to the Corinthian Christians in their ill-
conduct involving eating food offered to idols, “But take heed lest by any means this
liberty of yours become a stumblingblock to them that are weak. 10 For if any man
see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol’s temple, shall not the
conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are
offered to idols; 11 And through thy knowledge shall the weak brother perish, for
whom Christ died? 12 But when ye sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak
conscience, ye sin against Christ. 13 Wherefore, if meat make my brother to offend, I
will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend.” (1 Cor.

Critically, besides this issue of fashion, is to have true modesty in the heart, “But let
it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament
of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1 Pet. 3:4)

Yours affectionately,
Pastor Clement Chew