Why Modesty?

1:00 AM

“Modesty is not about revealed flesh but uncovered intentions.

Note: young readers might want their parents to read this with them

This quote sums up a lot of what I think about modesty and also what I think the Bible does as well. My brother quoted it a long time ago, and I cannot find who said it or if I have it right. Although, I think he found it in the Singer trilogy by Calvin Miller.

Modesty is a very touchy issue for a lot of people. I have heard the sermons preached by well-meaning men whose words seem to pass off their guilt in lust and make it the issue of the women who are immodestly dressed. They start to talk about specifics. Super modest girls want to cry, because they do their best, but they notice that teenager giving them a dirty appraisal. The girl who is moderately modest wants to scream, but instead sits with her arms crossed and contemplates throwing out the whole modesty idea. The girls that never cared in the first place are still hurt by the sermon, but roll their eyes and move on.

Because of the misuse of the term by some guys, the prevailing thought in the culture, and the rebellion in our own hearts, modesty is often ignored and laughed at. The Bible has a lot to say about lust, modesty, and aligning our heart with God, and I encourage you to explore the topic through your own personal Bible study.

When you are searching, don’t just search for the word modesty, also look for the word lust. It is very clear from the Bible that the heart is what matters the most to God. What we do reflects the state of our heart before God. Because of this, I think that the first and most important thing when considering modesty is have you considered it in the light of what God has taught you? It is so easy to draw back when you hear the rabid modesty people talking about ridiculous modesty rules, or men blaming women for all their issues to chunk the whole idea. However, God has called us to modesty.

The Bible, doesn’t give us a lot of rules. There is not a verse that says “And all women are to cover themselves from the collar bone the ankle, with the shoulders cover to a length of not less than three inches.” That would have made it easy, but God only called us to treat our private parts with modestly, that nakedness was for the marriage partner alone, and that our beauty should come from the inside. This leaves a lot of room for differences of opinion. Perhaps because God knew that different people at different times, cultures, and such would have different struggles.

When asking if an item is modest here are the questions I ask myself:

~ “What does it draw attention to?” If the answer is a part of the anatomy associated with sexual attraction, best to move on.
~ “Why am I interested in it?” This one is easy for me, as my closet is mainly clothes that I can work in, I am not much of a fashion girl. However, I want to always make sure I am not buying it to attract the wrong kind of attention.
~ “Would my father think it is modest?” Although my father has told me I can make my own choices, one of the ways I honor him is to dress in a way that he thinks is modest.

Let us talk about the elephant in the room: Are we as women responsible what guys think? My answer is a very quick no. We are not responsible for what anyone else thinks. I think we see clearly in the Bible that each is judged for his own thoughts. HOWEVER, we are responsible for the messages we send with what we wear. If we wear something that we know will attract the wrong kind attention (aka lust) then we have done wrong to not only God, but also to our brothers in Christ.

Modesty is a difficult issue for which I could go on for a long time. It is one that we sometimes would like to ignore, but we cannot. If you haven’t, please go before God today and seek his will for this topic in your life.

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