Last session I brought to you the myth of modesty, which is the idea that to be modest in God’s eyes, you must be careful in measuring your shorts and tee-shirts in order to meet some Biblical standard.
I busted that myth—because the measurement is not of inches or millimeters of hemline, but of the heart! Modesty, in the Bible, is dressing appropriately, orderly and with humility before Christ.
To cement this concept, let me ask you a few questions:
Can you be fully dressed and immodest? Absolutely! You could be wearing tons of fabric and peacocking around to draw attention to yourself and your homemade Shakespearean ball gown. (But mad props on those sewing skills.)
Can you fully dressed and modest? Of Course! We don’t have a problem seeing that those things can go hand in hand.
Can you be undressed or less dressed and immodest? Of course. We all know those who have selected clothing with an obvious intent to draw attention to themselves—for whatever benefit, to appear sexual in order to seduce men or influence how much they make in tips, or to be on top of the trends, etc.
But can you be undressed or less dressed and still modest? Of course!
Think of when you were little and saw National Geographic for the first time. I remember losing my mind over the ladies with fully exposed breasts, but there was no immodesty—those women were simply living their normal life. AND IT IS BEAUTIFUL to see cultures who are not wrapped up in sexualization of breasts–but see them as the life suppliers that they are.
So you can see by these questions of logic that modesty is truly a heart—not a hemline issue and that there is some cultural relativity at play here?
Here’s where people get hung up though…so answer this.
Can a woman can be fully modest between her own heart and God…in her yoga pants or her tinniest running shorts or whatever, and be a serious sexual temptation to men or other women?
Yes, sure she can. And its frustrating because some people are gonna think lustful thoughts when they look at a taco platter. We can’t help them.
So now the question is not…are yoga pants modest or immodest—because we KNOW that depends on the heart of the wearer.
Now the question is what do we do with other people’s lustful thoughts about us? How far should we have to go out of our way to help our brothers avoid temptation—especially when we know there is a certain percentage of folks who are constantly thinking about our bits no matter what we’re wearing.
Here’s what I believe the Bible means when it talks about modesty, humility, or “shamefacedness” as the King James translates the word—when a woman is truly modest—humble before God, she understands the gravity of sin and she does not wish it for herself or her brothers in Christ.
I truly believe that although she would never be responsible for a man’s sin of lust, a modest woman will consider her clothing options when she’s gonna be around men. Not because it would be her fault if he had unpure thoughts, no no no—let each person claim their own sins. A modest woman loves her brothers so much, she wants to help them live without unnecessary temptation.
Girls, ask any Godly man and he will tell you—he appreciates the effort you make to protect his eyes! (By the way, HE TOTALLY should be doing the same for you. This is not a “girls only” issue.)
Now, let’s get on to the next question: beyond modesty, does what you wear even really matter to God? Join me next segment for “It’s all just Fig Leaves.”As always, your emails and comments are appreciated!