Lately there has been a lot written about modesty, especially in relation to Christians and about accountability and responsibility. I agree wholeheartedly that we need to be accountable for our own actions and thoughts. In fact personal responsibility is in short supply now a days. Having said that, I think that we take it a bit too far when it is said that it is not our (collectively) responsibility how others react to us if we dress in what we feel is comfortable for the season, most recently the onset of warmer weather.
The argument seems to be that most especially as women we are not responsible for a male’s reaction to our apparel. A man should be able to control himself and not be “turned on” by a woman dressed in what some might consider less than modest clothing. In essence that would be great all things being perfect including all of us, but that is not the case. Both women and men need to be aware of how they look and what they are showing off when considering what the outfit of the day is going to be.
Most assuredly we are to learn to control our thought life as well as our outward life and quite honestly married men should not be looking at other women to see how they are dressed or carry themselves (respectively to wives also). However, A) the whole world is not married and B) according to the book of Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.” Yes I know that in this particular section of Romans Paul is speaking of food and holding one day in higher esteem than others, however he is speaking about the issues that are arising in the church at that time. Well, guess what modesty is an issue in the church at this time.
I am sure that many fathers and even some mothers have said to their daughters who are wearing clothes that either come up to “here” or down to “there”, “You are not going out in that!” As a mother of two sons there have been times that I have said to my boys, “You are not wearing that!” (ok, well most of the time it’s because it didn’t match or it was dirty, but you get the picture). The point is why was it said? It was said because even in the world we know that we shouldn’t be stumbling blocks for our brothers and sisters. Yes, they need to take responsibility for their own actions and reactions, but we as their brothers and sisters in Christ, or the showing them the love of Christ to unbelievers, should not put temptation directly in front of them and dare them to not succumb.
It’s not exclusive to women or girls because their are some inappropriate outfits out there lately for men and boys. I also know that the weather can be excruciatingly hot at times. Trust me, I can sweat standing still sometimes and that’s in the winter cold. The whole point of modesty is to not show others what God intended for private moments in a marriage, and we are not to deliberately tempt one another. In the book of Matthew 18:5-7 it states, “ 5 And whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me; 6 but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.7 Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!”
Ladies AND Gents, keep all the bits covered and modesty won’t have to be an issue in the church, and there shall be no woe to those from whom it comes.