Recently, I read a couple blogs on the topic of modesty. They were very well written and presented their case very well. Here are the links in case you want to read them: Krista’s Heart, Is Modest Really Hottest, and Jesus Needs New PR. These three blogs do a great job of showing how there is a hole in how the topic of modesty has been presented in the church up to this point and now, because of this, we see new church plants going away from the whole topic and people dressing however they want to, some modest and some immodest. You can read their blogs in order to see their points but I just want to make a couple observations from my perspective.
Krista does a great job of including the Bible, but the other blogs go about just showing the issue but not giving any kind of response or resolution to the issue. I am a huge proponent of using the Bible in anything pertaining to life and thankfully, the Bible is not silent on this issue either. I think the main reason most churches up to this point have made more of a point of addressing women when it comes to modesty, is because that is who is addressed in the Bible when it comes to modesty. For instance, 1 Timothy 2:9 – “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire…” When you look into this passage and why Paul writes this, it is because during this time, prostitutes use to braid their hair and wear jewelry to draw attention to themselves. Thus Paul encourages women to dress in a way that separates them from prostitutes. It seems to me like a good principle worth following.
Something else that a couple of the blogs mention is how the issue of modesty objectifies women and, with how the church has responded to it, continues to do that. I would have to defend what has been the church’s stance on this because of how the world has always objectified women. It is not something that just recently began, but has happened since the fall of man. So if we say the church and how it responds to modesty is objectifying women, it is because the world has already done that. But, the world has also objectified man in many ways as well and it’s nothing new. There is another passage that speaks directly to the point of modesty. It is 1 Corinthians 12:23 but this verse would require a whole post to get into what it is about. I will save that for another post.
Second, the issue of modesty comes down to being an issue of the heart, just like anything we do. A couple questions that could be asked in regards to what we dress could be as follows:
- Is what I am putting on going to bring glory to God? Or is it more to bring attention to myself so people think I am a good dresser? 1 Corinthians 10:31
- Is what I am putting on going to hinder my testimony in any way?
- Is what I am wearing going to hinder me from representing Christ in a way that is Biblical and God-honoring?
In regards to men and the issue of modesty, I think we do need to be careful with how we dress and carry ourselves. We need to mindful of women in this time as well and not just feel like we can do whatever we want and that we don’t have to worry about being modest, because we do. We need to be just as careful in following those principles just like women.
I want to make one quick note and this is just a personal perspective. Now that I work in youth ministry at a church, the whole issue of modesty has been going through my mind lately. One thing I notice is that with young men and young ladies in the church, the way they dress is not much different than those who do not call themselves Christians. It is kind of sad how young people have been swayed by the world. Also, I have seen pictures from young people who consider themselves Christians at parties and pictures from parties where no Christians are, and in many times, there is no difference. Is that the future of the church? This may sound old fashioned, but shouldn’t there be a difference in how people who profess to follow Christ dress?
Another big happening in my life lately that has me thinking about modesty is I am now a father to a beautiful daughter. How do my wife and I want to raise her to view modesty? Do we want to raise her to dress how she feels comfortable and not worry about what others think and that she is not responsible for how others look at her? Do we want to raise her to where she strives to glorify God in every aspect of her life, including how she dresses herself? I know that we want to raise her in a way that causes her to view everything she does through God’s eyes.
Another quick point, I am in no way trying to get rid of the responsibility of both men and women to learn self-control. This is honestly something I have had to learn as God has brought me into a more intimate and personal relationship with Him. I am responsible for what I look at and how I think. However, with guys and girls, we should be willing to help each other out and not make it difficult for each other to keep our thoughts pure.
Lastly, when it comes to the issue of modesty, men AND women should both take into account how it could possibly affect those of the opposite sex. We should care for members of the opposite sex as though they are a brother or sister. The church is meant to be lived in community but with how the world is becoming more and more individualistic, the church is also becoming individualistic and the church needs to remain strong in this. With that said, we have to realize that even though we cannot control what other people think or whether what we are wearing causes someone to lust or not, we can dress in a way that does not make it difficult for someone. Do we have the freedom in Christ to choose how we are to dress? Yes and no. Yes we can choose what we wear but God, through the Bible gives clear guidance as to what principles we should keep in mind with anything that we do, be it how we dress or anything we do.
But, what I want to bring this back to and what should be the main point of any issue or topic or debate, what brings God the most glory? That is the heart of all that we do as Christ followers. So is what I am wearing going to bring glory to God or in any way detract from it?
Those are just some thoughts. I would love to see how you respond.