When most people go to a religious service of any kind, they usually wear their best clothes – which often means their most expensive attire. People believe that it’s important to look your best when entering a sacred place.
It’s such a social norm in houses of worship that people who dress more casually may get funny looks from other congregants. But is a church really the place to judge others?
Right before services began one Sunday morning, an old cowboy walked into a high-end church that was usually populated by the richest people in the city. He wore blue jeans, boots, and a denim shirt. Though the clothes had clearly gotten worn out over the years, even slightly tattered, they were perfectly clean.
He had taken off his old hat, which he carried in one hand, while carrying an old Bible that had clearly been used heavily over the years in the other hand. Everyone else in the church was wearing expensive clothes and jewelry, but the cowboy was more impressed by how big and beautiful the church itself was.
Everyone around him moved away when the cowboy took a seat. Horrified by how he looked, nobody said a word to him to greet him or welcome him. Some people even looked at each other and chuckled. “Don’t come in here again until you have a good, long talk with God about what he thinks you should wear to worship,” the preacher whispered to him after the service ended.
The old cowboy promised the preacher that he would do just that. Yet he arrived the next Sunday wearing the exact same thing. Once again, those who did not quietly judge or mock him outright ignored him. “I thought we agreed that you wouldn’t come in again until you spoke to God,” said the preacher, after everybody but the cowboy had left.