I've been asked to share some thoughts on modesty. There needs to be a lot of grace shown when we address such a broad topic. Certainly grace should be displayed to the woman who has recently come to know Jesus and has not been taught by the Holy Spirit the she is now to imitate Jesus Christ rather than the world. Women need to exhibit grace towards fellow believers who are males, instead of holding fast to our "right" to dress as we like. We need to show grace to those whose definition of modesty differs from ours. When we are teaching and admonishing on this topic - it must be done with grace. Honestly, I've seen many brand new baby believers devastated by well-meaning older women taking them to task for showing up in church dressed like a slut. I'd rather see the gal SHOW UP and witness God transform her from the inside out than slam the door of the church in her face. Grace...wonderful, amazing grace. I needed it for salvation, I need it to live my life...and I need to extend the same grace to those around me.
This is a topic I've thought about a lot. Have you TRIED to buy modest clothes for a little girl these days? If you doubt the sexualization of our young women, you need to visit the mall - or Walmart. I went shopping for Stacia recently. The only dresses we could find (she prefers dresses) are either Holiday type or mini-skirts with midriff-baring tops. It angers me that a generation of women are being raised to believe that they have little to offer other than their bodies. Ladies, you are much more than a dress size or the sum total of your various body parts. Don't buy into this mentality.
I found one use of the word "modest" in Scripture. I Tim 2:9..."...women adorn themselves in modest apparel." I looked up the word modest (Strong's 2887) - kosmios....it literally means "orderly, decent, well-arranged" (Vines). I would guess there is agreement that modest means orderly and well-arranged. Clean. But the word "decent" causes some strife.
Modesty is hard to pin down as we all have different ideas of what constitutes "modest". Some think that a woman must always wear a dress or have her head covered due to modesty. Some feel that bikinis are perfectly modest. I've lived in countries where men wore g-strings and women went topless - with grass skirts. In the Philippines, on Mindanao, the women swam in dresses - that was considered modest. Certainly, culture plays a part in how we dress.
Culture, however, should NOT determine what our clothing portrays. We are called to give a correct representation of Christ to the world around us. This is done by the way we act, speak and yes, dress. We are always in the presence of God. Are we comfortable with what we are wearing in His presence?
In years of mentoring women, I've noticed that sometimes an attitude develops that the problem is MEN. If THEY weren't "so perverted," women could dress however they wish. That is WRONG THINKING ladies. We KNOW that we are to avoid causing others to stumble in their walk with Christ. If my dress is causing a man (or I suppose a woman) to stumble - out of love for Christ - I will adjust what I wear. Men DO need to learn to bounce their eyes. Men DO need to control their thoughts....but ladies, WHY do we need to dress immodestly? What does this say about US?
I've come to think that modesty is a heart issue. Listen to the rest of the definition: modesty is, "not only the propriety of his dress and demeanor, but of his INNER LIFE, uttering and expressing itself outwardly." (Zodhiates)
When we notice someone dressing immodestly, we need to pray about what is being said concerning their inner life. As those inner issues are healed, the outer issues may disappear.
So - what is immodest? I think that I am going to leave the specific details of that up to each reader. Here are a few thoughts that I personally consider:
*What do my clothes "say" to those around me?
*If you question if what you have on is modest; it probably isn't. ::snort::
*Am I giving a correct representation of Christ by my dress?
*Am I causing another to stumble by my dress?
*Do I look neat and orderly?
*If you are short (which I'm rumored to be) it is beneficial to have a taller person tell you what your clothes look like from their vantage point. Yes, I HAVE given outfits away after comments from Mike and my tall boys.
Just as an aside....women are not the only ones with a modesty problem in our society. You have only to spend a bit of time poolside or at the gym to discover that truth. We ALL will benefit from considering how we dress.
Rather random - but there they are a few thoughts on modesty.