Sunday, May 24, 2009

Where is the Modesty in the Body of Christ?

I don't even know how to begin to write on this topic. There's so much of me that screams, "careful, Renee, you don't want to offend anybody." But there is another part of me that knows offense will come anytime you address an issue that folks don't want to deal with. And I think it's far beyond time the Body of Christ got past our sensitivity to being offended and got really serious about our desire to be less like this world and more like our Messiah. So let's just cut to the chase.

I am shocked at the immodesty within the body of Christ. On any given Sunday you can see strappy tops or plunging necklines that display excessive amounts of cleavage. If you sit in the back of the church, behind the youth group, you'll be surprised at the plethora of girls who actually appear to be topless because of their strapless and backless clothing. When sitting in the pews (and most pew backs are not particularly high -- they don't cover the shoulder blades on an average-built person) some girls appear to be completely nude.

I would like to think that these girls are unchurched, that perhaps this inappropriate dress is the result of living in an environment devoid of Christ. But I know that is not the case. Sadly, many girls who dress this way are long-term attendees or members. So the question begs to be asked, "Why?"

Perhaps the wearers of such garments suffer heat stroke if they wear sleeves or any form of cloth on their chests, backs and mid-riffs. Maybe unknown medical conditions require that large areas of their skin breathe at all times. Perhaps some sort of epidemic requires clothing to be painted on or poured into.

Okay, I think we all know those excuses are ridiculous, and I'm just being silly and more than a little sarcastic. So now that we've cut out all the absurdity, let's look at the real motivation for dressing in such attire. I think it has a whole lot more to do with a girl's desire to fit in with the latest fashions, with her desire to attact the attention of others (particularly boys), and maybe a touch of rebellion.

Taste bitter? Yeah, sin usually does.

Sound harsh? Okay. It's about time somebody just came right out and said it.

Now, moving on: what kind of attention do girls think they'll attract by wearing garments that leave disgustingly little to the imagination? It certainly does get the attention of the surrounding males (of all ages). Yeah. And for what reason? I can guarantee when a guy sees a girl dressed like that, he's not thinking, "Man, I just want to be closer to Christ." He's not telling himself, "Wow, I'd love to read my Bible right now," or "That girl makes me want to be a more godly man." I guarantee he's struggling to keep his thoughts from drifting in the opposite direction, if he's even fighting it at all.

Many girls would say, "It's not my problem guys can't keep their minds out of the gutter." But I have something different to say about that. I have a correction, an exhortation, and a challenge for every female who is part of the family of God. Ready for it? If you thought I could be tough earlier, buckle your seatbelts:

How you dress when you go to work or school is another issue, I suppose ... although I have a hard time reconciling provocative clothing with godly living in any situation. But let's get down to the truth. Who do you think you are, displaying your body, dressing provocatively in the house of God? If you don't respect your brothers in Christ enough to conceal the things that entice them and pull them away from God, then you should AT LEAST honor God enough to avoid distracting folks from Him -- from worshipping Him, hearing His word preached, and encouraging each other in a closer relationship with Him.

Provocative dress has NO PLACE in the church. Where is the church leadership in this matter? Why don't youth leaders aggressively address this issue? Years ago we attended a church with a different approach. If a female showed up there with inadequate clothing, female ministry team leaders approached her with a shawl and asked her to please wear it while she was in the presence of the congregation. Sound offensive? It's not. That church had a deeper understand for what it meant to protect the minds and thoughts of those who were present. They knew that they had to protect the hearing of the Word of God. What's offensive is showing up to a worship setting, parading your body like you're in a strip show, and then acting like there's something wrong with folks who are distracted by it.

I'm being pretty harsh, I know. But I'm angry, because a lot of the females I see doing this SHOULD and DO know better. And if they don't, they have either silenced their consciences (the Holy Spirit's voice, in that aspect) by ignoring the promptings of modesty and self-consciousness, or they have been taught that this sort of dress is okay.

Since when was self-consciousness a bad thing? Geez, ladies! Put your clothes on! Leaders, stop condoning it by remaining silent to it! Parents, take control of your households!

I am pretty sure when the Apostle Paul said in 1 Timothy 2:9 that women should "... adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly ..." that he didn't have belly shirts or boustiers in mind. Likewise, when Peter said that women should demonstrate "chaste and respectful behavior" (1 Peter 3:2), I'm confident that he did not envision them wearing pants tighter than their skin, short mini skirts that barely cover the derriere, and clingy, cleavage-popping tops.

It's time we moved past the "all-inclusive" rhetoric and started striving to be that city on a hill, that salt of the earth, that peculiar people who are in this world but not OF it, whose minds are not on the things of this world, but are on the things of God. Sorry, but public nakedness doesn't fit into God's agenda. Those who think it does must be reading a different Bible than I am.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't think that sounded harsh... but then I agree with you. It sounded accurate and I wish more people would value modesty. Just this morning -- in church -- I mentioned to a barely clad girl that she might want to reconsider leaning over to shake hands with people.

    Someone told me once, that when you're at home getting dressed you should check your refelction when sitting, standing, and bending. And then anywhere that skin is showing, imagine that some creepy guy is putting his hands on you there -- because when you go out in public in revealing clothing that's exactly what the dirty old men are imagining doing.