Rights, Respect, and Modesty

For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. 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. Romans 14:7-13


It’s summer again, so it’s time for a reminder about clothing and modesty. Each year around this time, men and women alike express concerns to members of church leadership about visible underclothing, short skirts and shorts and low neck lines. Here are a few rules of thumb for being beautiful and stylish while remaining modest.

If you have a full length mirror, use it. If you don’t have a full length mirror, get one. Looking at yourself before you head out the door is the most practical way to avoid embarrassing “wardrobe malfunctions.”

This season, sheer clothing is “in.” But when wearing this style, please remember to check what is showing beneath your sheer top. If your bra is showing, remember that it’s called underwear for a reason and keep it covered. If your shirt and your bra are sheer, then people can see more than just your cleavage.

Tank tops and camisoles are wardrobe life savers, especially for women who have more difficulties finding clothing that covers cleavage appropriately. It is possible to purchase clothing that is stylish but not distracting.

If you aren’t sure about an outfit, ask someone. If no one is available to check an outfit, a good rule to remember is “When in doubt, don’t.”

Do a “Bend and Squat” (not Bend and Snap) Test. If you can’t bend over or squat without body parts hanging out, it’s best to change your outfit.

The best thing to remember is “Keep your cracks covered.” That covers about everything.

Please know that these reminders are not about legalism at all, but about our helping everyone at church (and elsewhere– we’re Christians seven days a week and represent Christ everywhere we go) without distraction. As sisters in Christ, we need to do everything possible to make church an especially safe place for brothers and sisters to gather for worship without being worried about seeing more of one another than we need to.

Below you will find a couple of links to some excellent resources concerning modesty. If you have a teen (or an adult!) you would like to approach with love and grace about their clothing choices, the video “What Guys Think About Modesty” is an actual letter from a young man who expresses his struggle with remaining pure in his thoughts when we practice our “rights” to wear whatever we want.

The Lord wants us to do nothing that causes others to stumble or that would bring dishonor to Him. Let us always pray and encourage each other to be God’s women, holy and modest in all we wear, and in all we do!

Two resources:
CJ Mahaney’s Series on Modesty

What Guys Think About Modesty

A Word of Caution from the Facebook Status Killjoy

Much like the “bra color” forward that swept Facebook over the winter, a new forward has begun circulating:

Ok ladies here’s another game, like the bra color game was a total success and we had men wondering for days what was with the colors and it made it to the News. Well this game has to do with your handbag, where we put our handbag the moment we get home for example “on the couch”, “the kitchen counter”, “the dresser” well u get the idea. Just put your answer as your Status with nothing more than that and cut n paste this message and forward to all your FB female friends to their inbox. The bra game made it to the news. Let’s see how powerful we women really are!”

When I post blogs like this, I tend to get accused of needing to lighten up and not be so serious because stuff like this is “just for fun”, but take a moment and ask yourself, “What kind of power does this show we have?” The power to make people’s minds end up in the gutter? Is that the sort of power we want to exert over people? What is the intention of posting a status like this?

We can claim it’s all innocent fun, but in the sex-saturated world in which we live, anything can be turned into a sexual innuendo; why would you want to post something that will only encourage such saturation?

I take very seriously my responsibility to do everything within my power to not be a stumbling block for my brothers and sisters in Christ. While I cannot hold myself personally responsible for the thought life of others, I can be held responsible for doing things that do not encourage pure and holy thoughts.

Scripture tells us that, as believers, we have access to unimaginable power– the same Holy Spirit that raised Christ from the dead dwells within us and gives us victory over sin (Romans 8:11)! If we have the power to overcome sin, why would we want to show our power by leading others into strongholds of sin?

Imagine for a moment that your son or daughter or husband or cousin or best friend struggles with sexual sin. He or she signs on to Facebook and is overwhelmed with lists of random surfaces found in the common home. What do you think their first thought is going to be? I can assure you that they aren’t thinking, “I bet this is a list of places the women in my life put their purses.” No, they are going to think exactly what this type of status intends for them to think. And they’re going to think about that woman doing it. Then your son or daughter or husband or cousin or best friend gets to go to church tomorrow and see that woman and be bombarded with that image again. And then that woman may be confused when your loved one can no longer look her in the eye or speak to her comfortably. She may wonder, “What’s his problem?” without ever considering that she may be the problem.

Doesn’t it just make sense that we should do everything we can to protect each other’s minds from such stumbling blocks instead of being the stumbling block? We cannot set ourselves up to be sexual objects and then be angry when we are treated as such.

Erin Davis blogged about the Bra Color game on the True Woman blog in January, and I believe her wise words apply here as well. You can read her edifying post here.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:31 that whatever we do, we should do it to the glory of God, and yes, sister, this even includes what you post as your Facebook status. There is no part of the life of the Christian that is exempt from the “whatever” clause.

Just think about it…

UPDATE: As Douglas B. Brill stated in his secular article concerning the cheapening of the fight against cancer with the use of sex, clicking here will “help you become even more constructive in the fight against breast cancer.”