A few days ago I watched a video by a progressive “Christian” woman who was talking about how, when she was younger, she was told that she should avoid dressing immodestly at the beach. She was taught that she should cover herself so as not to lead men astray. By the end of it she made the assertion that she now realizes that she can dress however she wants to, because it isn’t her problem if men look at her lustfully, because it is solely their responsibility how they look upon her.
I can’t begin to go into all of the problems I have with the progressive Christian movement, if I did, I would be here all night. While it’s true, I don’t hold to all of the conservative Evangelical beliefs that many of the more visible American-Christians do, I do lean toward a traditional biblical standard for Christians to follow. Including, but not limited to, dress codes. I laid out a large number of my opinions in my defense of head coverings.
On most Sundays people will wear what is deemed “church appropriate.” I have a few problems with this idea. Firstly, I take issue with the idea that you would only dress a certain way if you’re in a church on Sunday. Is God not present in your life outside of church? Is he removed from your life and only granted weekend visitation? Has he been relegated in favour of the self? As I mentioned last week in my post about adoption, Christianity is a lifestyle not a weekend activity.
Secondly, I disagree with what most people consider “church appropriate” in the first place. I would love nothing more than if every young woman would dress like the girl in the picture above. To me, that is how a Christian girl should adorn herself. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I gave up dating a long time ago. These days I spend my time studying, writing, and trying my best to walk the narrow path. Most of the time it’s more of a stumble than a walk, but I try. Will I ever get married? Only God knows. It’s not really a big priority to me. I’ve been told over the years that I’m too picky, and that my standards are too high. I don’t have a long checklist for what a good wife would be, but when I picture her, that’s what she looks like. If on the outside she is set apart from the world, then likely on the inside she is too. That, to me, is more attractive than booty-shorts and a halter top. Sure, my standards are high, but I would rather wake up everyday alone than next to a woman who leads me astray. Simple and modest are great hallmarks to look for. That’s one of the things I most admire about the Mennonites I know. It’s one thing to have faith, but to live it out in your daily life and not just on Sunday is something to be commended. (Especially considering the state most modern Christians live in.)
So, what does all of this have to do with our topic for today? I was thinking about my views on modesty and what is considered appropriate swimwear today. I was going to use pictures for reference, but I ultimately felt kind of weird about it, similar to my thoughts on the ‘Rolling Stone’ magazine I burned. If I’m talking about how Christians should avoid current trends in clothing, I didn’t think it was appropriate to post pictures promoting the very thing I’m advocating against. I also don’t want to seem like I’m picking at anyone in particular by using pictures of them. If you’ve been to a clothing store or a beach lately, you know what people wear. I don’t need to show you pictures for you to understand what I’m talking about; excessive amounts of cleavage and more ass than a donkey show at the county fair. You get the idea.
I doubt I’ll ever understand why people think it’s acceptable to wear swimwear that is more revealing than their underwear, simply because they’re at the beach. “Because that’s what people do” doesn’t do alot for me. As a Christian, I would remind you that you are called to be set apart. That extends to all aspects of your life. And, I’ve heard the “I want to get some sun” argument. I’m not one for eye-roll inducing Christian expressions, but I would point out that sun is only one letter away from sin, burn with care.
Personally, I’m a fan of high-necked swimdresses. They’re adequate for beach activities, and provide a decent amount of coverage. There is no constant worry of things slipping out, or something too form-fitting revealing intimate details of your body. Food for thought.
There was a time when there were Pharisees known as the ‘bloody and bruised.’ If they encountered a woman they would close their eyes and run into things before looking upon her. Some people say this is because women were seen as unclean second-class citizens. From a historical standpoint, this may be partly true, but I would like to point out a different viewpoint. Think of it in terms of modern women. We live in a very sexualized culture. If you ever see an attractive woman around a large group of men, watch the men around her. It’s sad and funny at the same time to watch them all try to sneak glances at the more private areas of her body. Now imagine if a man approached her with the attitude of the bloody and bruised. As if to say, “Everywhere she goes, men look at her with less than admirable intentions. But, I won’t. I would rather close my eyes and run into a wall than look at her inappropriately. She is a child of God, and deserves the respect that comes with. I can’t help everyone else, but when she walks by me, at least she will know she has one less set of eyes on her. Regardless of how stupid people say I am, or how much I’m mocked; everyone else sees her with their eyes, but I’ll look at her with my heart.”
This brings us back to my starting point regarding the woman who said it wasn’t her problem if men look at her lustfully. To her, and others sharing her opinion, I would point out that she should be modest. That’s what the bible calls for believers to do. It’s literally in the book. You shouldn’t be flaunting your body as worldly women do. You are meant to appease God, not men.
Further, you should be more considerate of how you affect those around you. If you know that men struggle with lust, why would you want to encourage such? Would you sit a bottle of whiskey in front of an alcoholic? Would you give needles to a drug addict? By dressing inappropriately you are effectively saying “Brother, I know this sin torments your soul, but that’s not my problem.” You’re supposed to be a sister in Christ, not a temptress. To act as though the hardships of another is not your concern is not the appropriate attitude to have.
As a man, I can tell you that when women want to dress provocatively it makes things very hard. (Pun not intended, but I did laugh a little after I noticed.) I’ve said before that women are my downfall. I try my best to avoid things that make me stumble, but sometimes it can’t be avoided. Lust is one of those things that is nearly impossible to get away from in our culture. Everywhere you go, everytime you watch T.V., log onto social media, etc.; it’s a constant barrage. It makes things more difficult when women make light of it, and at times, actively try to make it worse for you.
I’ve seen numerous times young women place their value in superficial things and allow men to determine their worth. This is one of my main motivations for advocating for modesty in Christians. I’m tired of seeing women fall victim to the world. My wish is that they would all see their immeasurable worth as determined by God. You aren’t meant to parade around half-dressed like a prostitute. You’re the foundation a Godly man builds his house on. If you are with someone, or surround yourself with people, who encourage such behavior I would urge you to reconsider your life choices. Your partner should be leading you to God, not showing you off like a sports car.
Likewise, I wish women would be more understanding of the struggles men face, and work harder to be considerate of the things they can do to make such things easier. Is it a man’s fault if he looks at a women lustfully? Yes, of course. Can women do more to help their struggling brethren? I would say so. I would say that likely we could all do more to help each other with the struggles we face within all aspects of our lives. And, I pray that we all work harder to do that.
“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.”