Modesty: An Unspoken Dilemma

Modesty is not an issue that is spoken of much these days (unless you are in our family). I am not sure why. Maybe it is because we are afraid what people will think if we address it. Maybe it is because we do not see it a real issue. Maybe it is because we like seeing cleavage, butt cheeks, tight pants, underwear, and see through clothing. Well, I have 4 girls, and my wife and I want to teach them how they should dress in order to cover what is meant to be covered, and not to reveal as much as possible without getting caught. Now, the picture with this post does not mean that I think we should go back to the 50s, but I want to share a few things that I think are important when it comes to dress, especially in girls and women.

1. Pop culture stays popular by pushing limits. Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, Britney and company sell their music by being different, which more often than not involves sexual lyrics and provocative dress. If they are not “stunning” the audience, then people will get bored of them and stop buying their stuff. So, they are always wanting fans and critics to text, facebook, twitter, and blog about how sexy and hot they are. In the process, they are dragging our teens (especially girls) to dress in a similar way because Ke$ha says that’s the way to get guys to touch their “junk.” While all this is happening, I feel that most parents just sit back and let it go and not teach their kids that this is NOT the way to dress, act, and live. Many of our teen girls are being undressed in the minds of guys simply because they are dressing in a way that says to them, “I’m hot, and you want me, and I want you to want me”

2. Another part of this issue that I think is relevant has to do with the parents. I believe many of us do not teach our kids about modesty because we like to look and be looked at. Men like to see women under-dressed and women like to do the same with men, and we love it when people think we are “hot.” If we talked to our children about modesty, then we would have to change our behavior and dress, so not wanting to give up our “fun” we let our kids figure it out by themselves. I call that dangerous parenting, or no parenting.

3. Provocative dress is a huge sign of insecurity, selfishness, and self-worship. Someone who feels they have to dress “sexy” to get others to notice them live in a constant state of insecurity. Since being on Facebook (4 weeks at the writing of this article) I have notice numerous teenage girls that feel like they have to pose provocative, post it as their profile pic, and see how many “likes” they get. The bait is cast, and the boys are caught . It works every time, and it is sad, and the comments are even worse. If a boy ever said to one of my girls what I see written on Facebook to young women, I would be quick to respond. QUICK! Who said our self worth is found in how many heads we can turn or how many “likes” we can get on our new pic on Facebook. No wonder pornography, teen pregnancy, and date rape are so common. Many are becoming addicted to pornography, and I think a major contributor is that every day (especially in the summer) they get a soft dose of it on a constant basis.

4. The last thing I will address is why modesty is important. Now, if you do not have a biblical worldview, then you might have a hard time with this one. But, does not the non-Christian world see that the further our world gets from a biblical worldview, the worse things are in the modesty issue as well as many others? So, why not let it all “hang out?” Because there is something special about revealing one’s self only to a spouse. Only to the one whom you have committed you life to. To dress in such a way as to make other people “undress you in their mind” is to tell your spouse that you are no more special to them than the rest of the others, except you share the same address. You lose intimacy between each other, that God planned to be guarded and kept between married couples. To let our teens dress provocatively tells them they are not special enough to keep for that special person they will marry one day. It teaches them that they should be the center of all attention. It teaches them that relationships without physical contact are not real. It teaches them that their goal in life is to turn heads and get Facebook “likes.”

Scripture says that we are to “do all to the glory of God.” (1 Corinthians 10:31). It also says, “Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing, but a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised.” – Proverbs 31:30 And I think most adult guys wished their wives would focus on that rather than how high a slit they can have on their skirt, or how much cleavage they can show.

Modesty says: I am special enough to save myself for my spouse or future spouse. It says: I am secure enough in myself NOT to show as much as possible. It says: I can cover more and still be beautiful. It says (for the follower of Jesus): I want to glorify God more than myself, the Creator more than the creation. It says, I want to dress to care and to serve others, not dress to be put on a pedestal like some trophy, that in reality is only the focus until the next “hotty” walks by.

I am curious of what you think of this issue. In my mind, the lack of attention being given to the topic of modesty is destroying our culture, and the next generation.

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10 responses to “Modesty: An Unspoken Dilemma

  1. The Bible even talks about this. Colossians 3:12 says, “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”

    A life of modesty is lived towards God and each other. Towards God, we recognize Him as the source of all our gifts, abilities, and strength. We know that we can do nothing apart from Him, that we are fully dependent upon Him for everything we need. As a result we acknowledge Him in every undertaking fully trusting His wisdom, that He will always do what is best for us. Towards each other we show our modesty by honoring others before ourselves.

    We do not fight and compete but willingly allow others to have the place of prominence. Philippians 2:3 says, “Don’t be selfish; don’t live to make a good impression on others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourself.” We must be confident that our own abilities will open any necessary door for us and so quietly, give ourselves to the pursuit of excellence. Christians are representatives for Christ wherever they go, in whatever they do. When we excel we glorify God who gave us our ability. 1 Corinthians 4:7 says, “What makes you better than anyone else? What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?”

    • Good thoughts Heather. It is never too late to instill biblical values into family. I believe the key is to focus on trusting God through it and not make it rules and laws to follow, because that is not what it is. It is trusting that His ways are good, right, and enjoyable.

    • Love it Issy. While I addressed the self-confidence issue, your thoughts on it addressing our ability to serve others is right on. We can not serve others if we are wrapped up in having them look at us. But, as you said, we can not brag about what we did not accomplish on our own. God gives us all things, including our looks.

  2. I think you are right Ron, it is something that I feel I have figured out too late in life but even though as you know I have 4 boys, I am trying to change our way of thinking to an older view for the most part. I also believe that the lack of faith coes hand in hand with this issue, if one does not believe in the bible there is no reason to be modest or save ones self. Too many teen age girls have compitions to see who has been with the most boys, only to find out when they find the right person who sees their true beauty no one respects her anymore. My friend and I have just had a rather nasty debate about homeschooling and not allowing as homeschoolers our children into the real world and how we have to allow them to see what is really out there and what todays reality is and by keeping them from it we are creating children who can not function, I feel you have addressed this issue as well with this post because by homeschooling we are better able to teach our children how to behave and be modest, for both girls and boys, in the end, truley be happy and secure with themselves.

  3. Pastor Ron,
    it is great that you brought up this neglected issue. It is true, we, as parents have to instill biblical values in our children and the world being the way it is it is doubly important to take what the Bible says about modesty seriously. Last spring I had reason to visit my daughter’s school and I felt very sad to see the way the girls were dressed and made up. My daughter has told me that she is so fed up with it and has decided to dress less provocatively. She is very happy that she has only one year left in high school and then she can go to college and be free from the indecency at high school.

  4. Brilliant, Ron. My thoughts exactly. I just didn’t know how to put it into words. God has really blessed you with the ability to put your thoughts into words. I posted this on my fb and didn’t get 1 Like, but you know what? That didn’t suprise me. Don’t ever forget; there’s tension in truth. Keep up the good work.

  5. It has happened (to my great surprise) that sitting at church I had no choice but to see not only you preaching but also the bra straps of the woman in front of me. She was a grown up and no teenager and should know better than to let her undergarments show. I don’t know who she was and that is just as well because I would probably have made an enemy had I pointed out to her the state of her way of dressing.
    And, yes, I am a prude.

    • Susanne,

      I agree about not letting the bra strap show. I am not sure who it was. I find that often (not all the time) they are unaware it is showing. Not sure if that was the case with you. I find that if another woman will politely let them know that it is showing, ususally they will be grateful and cover it up (especailly if is an adult). Maybe try that. The key is to address it in love. I try to use the principle in Proverbs 15:1 in those kind of situations. It does not always work, but it does over 90% of the time.

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