The Modesty Debate

It’s degrading to women. It’s degrading to men. It’s degrading to Christ and his work.

We must be careful not to bless God with our tongues, while at the same time calling down curses upon men and women made in God’s image, no matter how they may be dressed. We must seek to know, to understand and to speak to all people as human beings of dignity and worth – whether the world understands it or not. The danger is in our filthy hearts, not in the length of the skirt.

 

This is a post that I’ve been meaning to write for a while now. And since it keeps coming up, I figured that I wouldn’t procrastinate any longer, but just put up my thoughts and let them fall where they may.

I’m talking about the modesty debate. You have heard it in Christian circles. I’ve heard it. My daughters have heard it. You really can’t send you kids off to a Christian camp during the summer without it.

It’s this. “Girls, listen up! These guys are your Christian brothers! When you dress immodestly, you are putting stumbling blocks in their way to purity! They are always tempted to lust, and you girls have to understand that, and dress accordingly.”

This sounds good on the surface, and many don’t give it a second thought. Except, of course, for the girls.

The problem with it is this. It’s degrading to women. It’s degrading to men. It’s degrading to Christ and his work. It’s thoroughly unbiblical, and therefore of no use whatsoever to salvation, purity or holiness.

Here are my problems:

FIRST, IT IS DEGRADING TO MEN.

The assumption of the modesty debate is that men are creatures of lust who can’t help it – especially if a woman is dressed immodestly. Really, it’s her fault. The woman that you put in front of me, Lord, she gave it to me and I did look.

Piffle. Men, get this through your head. If you are in Christ, then you are being conformed to his image. Are you really saying that Jesus would have looked and lusted if a scantly dressed woman approached? The Bible teaches that each one is led away of his own lusts and enticed (James 1:14). The problem is your heart, not her skirt. Further, the Bible teaches us that if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

In other words, we men do not need modesty laws to have a pure heart. What we need is Christ. We need to stop blaming the girls, the advertisers, the catalogs, the TV shows, and point the finger right where it belongs. At our filthy, corrupted, sinful hearts. We need to fall on our knees and beg God again for the Holy Spirit to create in us clean hearts that look on women as creatures made in God’s image, worthy of honor and dignity.

The strongest modesty laws of all are in sharia law, and those who hold it the most strictly are so consumed with lust that they keep slaves…

SECOND, IT IS DEGRADING TO WOMEN.

When we teach “modesty” laws to our daughters, what do we say, “Dress modestly so that you won’t cause men to lust”? Or do we say, “Dress as a daughter of the king. You have dignity, beauty and worth as a greatly loved daughter of God. You are made, body and soul, in his image and belonging to your faithful savior, who died for you.”

Unfortunately, I fear that we too often do the former. The message that we send our daughters is that their bodies are NOT good, and made in God’s image. But something shameful with no other purpose than to arouse men’s desires. I would ask at this point is this is really the message that we want to teach our daughters, but unfortunately I have met too many of their fathers who don’t seem to see anything wrong with that. But there is something greatly wrong with it.

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