In about one month, my daughter will have her 4th birthday. I fear for her. My son is rapidly approaching the age of 6, and I certainly fear for him as well. I fear for their purity in a world that sees young ladies as eye candy instead of image-bearers of the living God.
Whether from apathy or shame, the issue of modesty and appropriate attire does not appear to be a popular topic within the church, even those who hold to reformed doctrines. It’s not hard to see why – few things are as messy to discuss as issues related to sexuality, especially when the discussion involves revealing one’s own temptations. Sure, it’s easy to discuss being tempted by money, nice stuff, even fear of witnessing – somehow those sins are expected and the understanding is that everyone can identify with the struggle. They almost seem harmless because of their commonality.
Yet one of the most common struggles receives very little discussion. Temptations of a sexual nature are most often viewed as a male struggle, something that men who watched too much porn in high school deal with personally or in small accountability groups, and certainly not suited for public discussion. Add to this the natural reaction to ultra-legalists who would mandate every hemline, neckline and fabric choice, and you wind up with generations of young people untaught on the subject of modesty, to the peril and shame of the church. Even one excellent sermon on modesty can’t be expected to affect wholesale changes overnight.
Where are the older women who are called to faithfully instruct the younger ladies? Where are the dads who are willing to make unpopular decisions about their daughters’ wardrobes to protect their purity? Where are the young (and older!) men who are willing to discuss the effect of their female friends’ outfits on the purity of their thoughts? Perhaps worst of all, why are people who do seek to address modesty often scorned within the church?
It saddens me greatly to view pictures from mission trips to warm climates, or photos from a cottage vacations, and see believing young women revealing their bodies to the world in a way that so closely mirrors the world that there is no distinction. I’m not suggesting a uniform in the style of the Mormons or Muslims – remember, Jesus hated legalism too! But I fail to see how parading around in a bikini within view of men who are not your husband serves to advance the gospel of Christ.
So (for the 3 people who read this blog), I want to open the floor to the discussion of modesty. Understanding that:
- The bible does not mandate hemlines & necklines
- Fabric choice can matter just as matter just as much as the cut or style
- How we dress – especially for women – significantly impacts our ability to share and display the gospel
- Modesty is less about “covering up” and more about living in a manner that reveals Christ to the world
- Trying to find modest yet stylish clothing for women is an arduous task not to be taken lightly
- Modesty is not just an issue for young ladies and their summer clothing, but also for women of all ages
- Being a little bit better than the world is not our standard – Christ is
I want to hear your thoughts on the importance of modesty. How can we create a culture of modesty within the church? How can we change the hearts of the current young generations, and how does their general lack of modesty point to failings in the older generations?
Guys: have you ever been distracted in your worship at church by some short-shorts or had to look away when a Mom bent at the waist to pick up a child? How do we address these issues with the people involved without coming across as a lecherous pervert?
Perhaps the anonymous nature of commenting on a blog will take some of the fear out of the discussion and allow a better dialogue. I think we ignore this issue to the harm of our daughters, wives and sisters, and to the detriment of our witness to a fallen world.