The subject of modesty doesn’t get covered very often in the Christian community. Maybe pastors are afraid that they will lose members or offend someone. Maybe people don’t think it applies in today’s society. Maybe people simply want to ignore it because they assume that modesty can not be fashionable these days.
The fact of the matter is that God’s word DOES apply in today’s society. And Christians need to seriously take heart to that with EVERY area in their life (2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness”)
It is a fear of mine that far too many people go to church just to feel good about themselves. They seem to have a mindset that “okay, this week was pretty bad….let me go to church, get motivated by the pastor, and pray to God that I’m sorry for the crap I did this week. Then I’ll feel much better”. But as Christians, we need to realize that it is not about us at all. It isn’t about how we feel..it is about obeying God and His word. It is about honoring God despite the fact that we don’t always feel like it. And I think that this mindset plays into the whole modesty issue, too.
Being cute, fashionable AND modest at the same time IS attainable. With how exposed everything is these days, our culture seems to be brainwashed and now, we are used to seeing half a woman’s boob when walking through the grocery store or wherever we may be. Cleavage is like an accessory, it seems. And it isn’t even always an intentional thing (although sometimes it is…depends on the girl). Many women show cleavage every day, but it isn’t like they go to their closet and think “hmm, what shirt can I wear today that will really make my boobs look great?” Our culture just seems to be used to it and the majority of clothes these days are made to show skin.
I am not writing this to make anyone feel guilty…I used to dress like that all the time and thought nothing of it. I just thought that low cut shirts looked better on my body. I bought tank tops and dresses not even thinking about the amount of cleavage it showed…I just liked the pattern or I thought it fit well.
It wasn’t until I got to be really close friends with a guy in my church that I truly realized how important modesty was as a Christian.
Women, to really understand this, you need to get into a guy’s mind. Skin on a woman automatically makes a guy look, doesn’t matter where on the body. But the more skin, the more there is to look at. It isn’t on purpose, its just instinctual (assuming that this guy is a gentleman, and a Christian guy trying to live a Godly life).
Whenever this issue is brought up, many womens’ responses are “Well, he shouldn’t be looking in the first place!” or “Guys should have the self- control to not look”
And while those should be true….it is important to understand that guys are extremely visual. Christian or not…its just the way men are built. If any cleavage is showing or your shorts are super short, that will be the first thing a guy looks at.
Back to my friend and what I learned from him….
He told me everything that I just shared above. He also told me that it was a daily trial for guys trying to live holy lives for God to avert their eyes and not look at immodestly dressed women while walking across campus (or wherever he was). If someone was walking passed him and he saw skin, he trained himself to look forward or up….or wherever. Just away, lol. Which is awesome…good for him, right?
Some of you might be asking ‘ why would he make such a big deal out of that?’, ‘ whats the point?’.
The point is that as a Christian, you are called by Jesus to be holy, just like He lived a holy life (1 Peter 1:13- 16). You are called to live a life of purity (2 Corinthians 7:1). You are called to not even let a hint of sexual immorality be in you:
“Ephesians 5:1-3 Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”
As a Christian man, my friend wanted so badly to see other women in his life just as friends and sisters…but when they were wearing such inappropriate clothing, it made the task even more difficult. Not because his friends intentionally dressed that way, but because they were unaware of the struggle that men face every day. The struggle of Christian men trying to be pure when cleavage is an accessory in our society today. My friend said that he and all of his other Christian friends struggled with it. All Christian men struggle with it and no one even thinks anything of it or bring it to attention.
But what about women in the church? Women who should be aware of this, aren’t. Women who should be aware of this don’t think anything of it and I feel like a lot of people belittle the issue when it is really a big one.
No, I’m not some crazy, outlandish, evangelical Christian who thinks women should never wear pants and walk around in parkas all the time….I’m just saying that we, as Christian women, need to be more aware of this issue.
When we get dressed in the morning, we should make sure that when we cross our arms or lean over, our cleavage should not exposed to the world. We should make sure that we buy clothes that fit…not clothes that push up “the ladies” out of our shirt or be so tight that we show every single detail and curve of our bodies.
Trust me, once I spoke with my friend…it was hard not to wear what I had always worn. I thought I looked fine and didn’t think it was a big deal. But slowly, God as changed my heart from seeing this matter as an annoyance…to seeing it as a way to help my Christian brothers live a life of purity. Yes, I know that one person can’t change it…..but if all of us women realized the importance of this issue, we could be helping our friends.
Now that I am married, I realize even more the importance of the issue. Thank God my husband is a man of integrity and doesn’t let his eyes stray or anything (I’m actually married to that friend I was speaking about earlier!)….but when I walk around and see other women dressed in a way that shows a lot of cleavage or a really tight outfit, I think to myself “Wow, I’d feel really uncomfortable if my husband saw that”.
And that is how I know this is an important issue. If a married woman can look at your outfit and say “I really hope my husband doesn’t look at that, its out for the world to see”, then I think its safe to say you shouldn’t be wearing it….especially as Christian women.
Romans 14 :13 “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother. ”
Wouldn’t you feel awful if you knew that you caused someone to sin? Or even at the very least tempted someone to sin? I know I would.