Modesty and Your Lust Problem: Thoughts on Modesty
Modesty is somewhat elusive. God doesn’t really mention it, and the apostles barely touch on it. And yet, in churches and fellowships, modesty is one of the most mentioned issues in regard to women. I’d like to share some thoughts on the subject.
What does the Bible actually say about modesty? There are clues about nakedness and shame, such as Adam and Eve’s fig leaves and Isaiah 47. But there isn’t an outline in Torah, so everyone is left making up their own rules.
In Tim 2:9-10 it reads “in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”
The word modest, in regard to apparel, Paul define’s as “with propriety and moderation”. Also “proper for a woman professing godliness, with good works”.
Paul defines modesty as moderate clothing that isn’t outrageous or flashy, but respectable.
But what kind of clothes are moderate and respectable? It’s hard to say because clothing that was considered respectable just a two hundred years ago were big skirts with skirts underneath and long sleeves. Who knows what people in Paul’s day thought was respectable.
Some say modesty isn’t cultural but it is. The reason mentioned above is proof. Even maxi skirts and long sleeve button downs would have been considered underclothes in America long ago. But now those same pieces are considered a whole outfit by some of the most conservative of people. Why? Culture. We don’t live in the culture Yahshua lived in and we can’t pretend we do. We think about modesty from our culturally defined standards even if we are “more modest” than most people. We do the best we can.
So what is considered a decent and respectable outfit today?
What do you think?
3rd Thought :
Modesty is taught as cause and effect. If you don’t cover your figure then men will lust after you. But what does Yahshua say?
If you have a problem, it’s better to cut out your own eye. Yahshua didn’t point fingers.
No other sin do we coddle the weakness like we do lust. If someone has a weakness for the thrill she gets from stealing, we don’t say “well what did you expect? That man had money hanging out of his pocket.”
Avoiding sin is always going to be difficult no matter what the weakness is. Sin is tempting and alluring. But it is in the hearts of humans. We can’t blame others for our own sin. If you’re lusting after someone who is trying to dress respectably, you’d just as soon lust after someone who is dressing seductively. The problem isn’t the clothing, it’s the heart of the individual.
Women need to take responsibility, too. We live in a culture that force feeds us sex pretty much from birth. We are objectified by mainstream media and are told that we should wear revealing and sensual clothing. We then blame men for struggling with lust when we choose clothing designed to objectify us. It doesn’t make sense.
However, I don’t think modesty is a list of pieces you can and can’t wear. Some questions to ask, when choosing an outfit could be: What does this outfit as a whole say about who I am? Is this proper for a woman professing godliness? Does this outfit reflect the respect I have for myself?
Let’s choose clothing that sends a message of strength, decency, and honor. Let’s choose clothes the aren’t made to objectify us.
Lust is a problem for men and women. Generally, the issues is not the clothing, but the heart of the individuals.
Timothy 2 encourages women to dress moderately. How each family interprets that is inevitably going to be different. But we can’t blame a lusting problem on someone who interprets the standard differently. We are accountable for our own actions, from what we choose to wear to what we think about.
p.s. stay tuned for next week’s post: Beauty vs. Vanity.