Modesty Pertaining to the Christian Lady

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"William The Baptist"

Puritan Board Freshman
I have a question about a comment someone posted... and wonder what your responses would be, since many of you are pastors or elders, or wise older Christians who the Lord has blessed with much understanding!

I posted this on my FB status earlier today.

"Very serious question that has puzzled me for YEARS: Why is that professing believers, specifically females, seem to have no regard for modesty, and plaster pictures with their shirts/dresses so low, skirts so high (and I'm not talking knee-length, I'm talking SHORT-like mini), and skin tight clothes, and yet want to put in their "about me" that they live for Christ and love him-that He is their all in all? Is there no thought to being blameless and and lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation? About not letting your adornment be outward beauty, but inward which is pleasing to God?

I don't think everyone has to dress like me, or have similar tastes in fashion, but whatever you may choose to wear should not show off your body sensually.

Please, feedback and dialog is welcome. Go."

An old college friend posted her two cents on it. 2 years ago (before I was reformed) we had a similar conversation where she waved the "Christian Liberty" flag with incredible vigor. Anything I do or say concerning modesty is immediately touted as "homeschool mom" because of the fact that she KNOWS I was homeschooled for part of my schooling. Funny thing is, it wasn't until I went to Texas A&M I found I loved dresses and skirts for every day attire, not just Sundays (and I have a preference of closer to knee-length skirts, though I do wear some longer ones on occasion.). I have no problem with any lady wearing pants every day if they want to, because that can be more modest than a mini skirt!-in fact I happen to like basketball shorts. She chooses to ignore that. -_-

Here is her comment:

"a few things I would say to this.
A. your definition of "slutty" clothing is purely based on your own opinion. If I show my face in Saudi Arabia I'm a whore. If I go out to eat in a string bikini in California that is socially acceptable. It's arbitrary.
B. I agree with being above reproach and not conforming, but I also agree with keeping in mind the culture of which I live in and their best interests as far as relating to them. knee length skirts? really? an unbeliever in my mind would see that and go "why would I be interested in Christianity if I have to start dressing like a homeschool mom?" no offense, but that's what it looks like. If I were to go to a Middle Eastern country I would dress accordingly as not to offend or IMPRESS MY PERSONAL IDEAS on them.
C. you are never responsible for someone else's sin. The whole modesty argument is generally in regards to "not causing anyone stumble" which is both valid and biblical, but relates to other sins BESIDES modesty, and there is a problem with this extreme modesty mindset. it makes you: 1)exceedingly judgmental 2) it sends guys the message that their lust problem is our fault, and therefore some feel "attacked" by girls wearing what they feel is immodest clothing. That is their issue in reality, not the girls.
D. you come off as ridiculously judgmental and though I'm not personally offended, nor am I self conscious in my own clothing choices, it stresses me out to know that christian girls would read this and feel guilty and non christians would read this and be turned off.
E. the female body is BEAUTIFUL and God designed it that way. of course it is good to dress respectably honor God with your body, but do not subscribe to the thinking that your design is bad or wrong or a stumbling block simply because it exists!
F. I think if you want to lead or inspire girls to dress modestly you should ask them to look carefully at their own hearts and their reason behind dressing the way that they do. NOT so that you can say "if you wear this and this I wonder if you're even saved," but so you can encourage others toward good deeds and to examine their hearts."

Thoughts? I have not written a response to her comment yet because I am about to leave to run errands :) Just thought I would drop a line in the PB for some thoughts on the matter.
 
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Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
This is a much needed discipline and virtue in our generation, modesty.

Biblically, it's a broad quality but there are specific references to attire in Scripture and some addressed particularly to women as well a general principles that apply.

There is much opinion, even cultural context (and that can be even in a job setting, using 'culture' broadly) that makes some part of this preference, not principle.

Like many things in the Christian life, separating principle from preference is, in one sense, impossible, yet we are called to do it by (faith). That means it is possible.

Dressing modestly cannot be looked it in isolation of responsibility to others. It's not just about us or our opinion that reigns in all things related to attire (even mannerisms). It's about loving our neighbor and the body being the temple of the Holy Spirit.

It ought be beyond debate for believers that women ought not dress in a way to provoke men, and that ought be a consideration of "loving one's neighbor." In many contexts, there ought not be an intention to distract with provocative dress, nor to call undue attention to one's self. (We need to qualify this with "ordinarily" because there are special circumstances and occasions).

We live in a culture that would glorify self, exploit and provoke lust for profit, and could care less about the consequences to real human beings. And Christians get caught up in this as well, being deceived by in it.

Modesty is an attractive virtue in itself, especially for believers seeking to walk by God's will.
 

Fly Caster

Puritan Board Sophomore
Just let me say that your commitment to modesty is admirable. You have a rare virtue, even with the realm of professing Christianity.

Most troubling in your friend's reply is her point C. Here she is terribly wrong, and here is where I would start to attempt to convince her of her error.
 

Tripel

Puritan Board Senior
Respond in grace -- thank her for her comments. As much as you may disagree, it's helpful to know what the average female thinks about modesty.

I could go on and on about each of her points, but I'll just pick a few. First regarding point A, is "socially acceptable" the standard by which we should abide? I do agree that modesty looks different in various settings, but surely there is more to it. It all boils down to this: Do Christians have a different standard than the rest of the world? We have to answer that question before we can start drawing lines about what type of clothing is modest and what is not.

Regarding point C, she is wrong. If a woman dresses very scantily and a man lusts after her, did she cause him to sin? No. He sinned of his own choice. But did she (knowingly or unknowingly) tempt him? Yes. That said, it's critical to point out that people can lust and sin regardless of what others are wearing. It's a heart issue. ***

Regarding point F, she is right. If a woman is wearing tight-fitting clothes and displaying ample cleavage, it would be interesting to hear why she chooses to dress this way. It may be along the lines of "because it makes me feel good" or "I want to enjoy my body while I have it". Whatever the case, if she is honest, it will be quite telling about where her heart is.

*** But I want to go back to the issue of tempting others, particularly men. A major gripe of mine is that modesty talks with young women often center around causing men to stumble. I think that is a poor approach. If you're having to have a modesty talk, it's likely because there are modesty issues. Females already know full well how guys are tempted. Telling an immodest young woman that guys are lusting after her is probably not going to dissuade her, because let's be honest, your average "Christian" teenager or 20-something enjoys the thought that men are physically "turned on" by her. I'd argue it's only a small minority of young Christian women who are sincerely concerned about tempting men's thoughts, and those women are likely already quite modest.
I think a much better approach is to point out to Christian women what it says about themselves when they are immodest. The way people dress is a very powerful form of nonverbal communication. If she is indeed Christian, she will not be encouraged by how her immodesty is interpreted. Guys may not think she is a literal slut, but they will think she is "easy". And most importantly, they will think she is quite taken with herself, and that's a major turn-off. Guys may be physically attracted to her, but they aren't interested in the person. Guys do not want to be with women who are self-absorbed.
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Westminster Larger Catechism

Q. 138. What are the duties required in the seventh commandment?

A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are, chastity in body, mind, affections,[767] words,[768] and behavior;[769] and the preservation of it in ourselves and others;[770] watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses;[771] temperance,[772] keeping of chaste company,[773] modesty in apparel;[774] marriage by those that have not the gift of continency,[775] conjugal love,[776] and cohabitation;[777] diligent labor in our callings;[778] shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.[779]
.
Scripture Proofs

[767] 1 Thessalonians 4:4. That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour. Job 31:1. I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid? 1 Corinthians 7:34. There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

[768] Colossians 4:6. Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

[769] 1 Peter 3:2. While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

[770] 1 Corinthians 7:2, 35-36. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.... And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction. But if any man think that he behaveth himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sinneth not: let them marry.

[771] Job 31:1. I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

[772] Acts 24:24-25. And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

[773] Proverbs 2:16-20. To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. That thou mayest walk in the way of good men, and keep the paths of the righteous.

[774] 1 Timothy 2:9. In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.

[775] 1 Corinthians 7:2, 9. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.... But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.

[776] Proverbs 5:19-20. Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love. And why wilt thou, my son, be ravished with a strange woman, and embrace the bosom of a stranger?

[777] 1 Peter 3:7. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

[778] Proverbs 31:11, 27-28. The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil.... She looketh well to the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her.

[779] Proverbs 5:8. Remove thy way far from her, and come not nigh the door of her house. Genesis 39:8-10. But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with me in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; There is none greater in this house than I; neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day, that he hearkened not unto her, to lie by her, or to be with her.
 

Fly Caster

Puritan Board Sophomore
1 Timothy 2:9
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
.

Scott, that should be sufficient for any true child of God regarding this issue. Sadly, the number of Christian women (as well as men) who claim that this use of "modesty" has nothing to do with covering the body saddens and befuddles me. I don't know if this is the majority view in American Christianity today, but it is the more vocal one.
 

py3ak

Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
A. It is socially and circumstantially conditioned, but it is not entirely arbitrary. When someone wants to be "sexy" there are certain themes they tend to hit. This is her fundamental mistake on the whole topic - assuming that because standards can vary somewhat from culture to culture and circumstance to circumstance that therefore it's only a question of personal preference.
B. This is rather absurd, because the same thing can be said about any requirement. "You mean I have to __________? No way!" While we don't wish to create unnecessary barriers, people can take any requirement of the law of God that conflicts with their personal preference and decide it's not worth it.
C. She has a good point here - women should not be blamed for the failings of men. It's been done since Adam, and it doesn't fly. But the fact that a woman can't be blamed for a man's fault, doesn't mean she can't be blamed for her own. Adam was wrong to blame Eve, but Eve was still wrong.
D. Your FB status could probably have been worded more tenderly; but certainly the issue of modesty has been a long-standing problem. John Newton wrote about how the fashion in which some dressed made one quite uncertain of where it was safe to direct one's eyes.
E. Yes, but application of this fact still needs to be made with discretion and considering the situation.
F. This is also a good point, and leads to the observation that modesty is about far more than being unprovocative. It is about gracefully occupying the place and station that God has assigned to you, about not being an attention hound, about letting your adornment be primarily in good works.
 
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Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
My wife is so consumed in putting on the Righteousness of Christ she does not have time to bother with putting on Immodesty. I think that is so beautiful and attractive, not only does my heart swoon for her, but she melts my soul in making sure to consistantly point me to Christ with her actions.

Some who are immodest in dress seem to be ignorant. Others seem to be attempting to attract the world, men with improper desires. In the case of the latter, I can not see a joyfull and blessed future.

I wonder why your friend desires to defend such things as string bikinies?
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Just remember the heart is the issue. External modesty begins with internal modesty. If there is no heart change (if she is not a child of God) no argument will sway her. And even if it does, it only merely shows an external change. Pray for her heart to change.

As an aside, I believe we should be much more modest ourselves men. I find it hypocritical to say it is okay that a boy (or man) can go swimming without a shirt on. But a woman has to dress modestly. The girl doesn't though, she can wear whatever until she is a certain age. Insulting to our Lord. When we teach our children, when do we start this practice? When we teach our daughters do we wait until they are 12 or when they hit puberty? We can't! We must start at the earliest of ages. Same with young boys, at the earliest of ages, teaching them about a humble and modest heart. And how we ought to dress according to God's Word.
 

J. Dean

Puritan Board Junior
Yeah.. I hate to say it, but I've seen women at churches who would make prostitutes blush.

What is "socially acceptable" is only to be considered within Scriptural boundaries. A great many items today that are "socially acceptable" are clear violations of Scripture.

As a man I'm distracted enough outside of the church; I don't need to be distracted at church by inappropriate female dress.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Doctor
Well, I too am in favor of modesty. I'd view your facebook status and agree with you. And I'm glad you're being modest.

But it sounds like you're going to have a hard time preaching modesty to your friends because you don't personally seem to struggle much with it. In their eyes, at least, you're the sort of person who's seldom tempted to be immodest. You already dress differently from them. So when you bring up modesty, it will automatically feel to them like you're (1) judging others on an issue where you're off the hook and (2) urging them to do something you find easy to do but they may find hard to do. So despite your comments being right, there's little chance they'll be received well.

If you want to effectively engage your friends about their immodesty, it will help for you to examine your own life to see where you're committing similar sin—and admit it to them. This does NOT mean you should go out and be immodest so that you have something to confess. But all of us sin in every way to some degree. We all struggle with sexual sin and with wanting-attention sin. You can help your friends by letting them see that you struggle too, you need to repent as much as they do, and you don't see yourself as better than them—and that's why you're so serious about repentance.

If you can manage to do that, it will quiet your friend's arguments far more effectively than anything else.
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
Leah,
I think an attitude of prayer for those whom you deem immodest might be the best road to take, unless you are directly asked for your opinion on a particular outfit by a particular person. Otherwise, you simply come off as judgmental, rightly or wrongly!
Live in peace and quietness as much as possible, be a good example of gentle Christian womanhood, in all its permutations. Pray for your immodest friends, but leave the chastising to their hubby/father/pastor, etc.
As a young woman. I actually did no small amount of injury to other women through my prideful and haughty spirit. Why didn't they see the things I saw, live like I lived? Well, they simply weren't at the point in the walk with Jesus yet.
Trust God, pray, walk humbly and graciously. God will see to these things. Fear not!
 

Scott1

Puritanboard Commissioner
Titus 2

3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

4That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,

5To be discreet, chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.
.
Calvin's Commentary
....

4. That they may teach young women temperance That they may be more
attentive to duty, he shows that it is not enough if their own life be
decent, if they do not also train young women, by their instructions,
to a decent and chaste life. He therefore adds, that by their example
they should train to temperance and gravity those younger women whom
the warmth of youth might otherwise lead into imprudence.

To love their husbands and their children I do not agree with those who
think that this is a recapitulation of the advices which elderly women
should give to those who are younger for a careful perusal of the
context will enable any one easily to perceive that Paul goes on in
explaining the duties of women, which apply equally to those who are
older. Besides, the construction would be inappropriate, sophronizosi,
sophronas einai [240] Yet while he instructs elderly females what they
ought to be, he at the same time holds out to the younger the example
which they ought to follow. Thus he indiscriminately teaches both. In
short, he wishes women to be restrained, by conjugal love and affection
for their children, from giving themselves up to licentious
attachments, he wishes them to rule their own house in a sober and
orderly manner, forbids them to wander about in public places, bids
them be chaste, and at the same time modest, so as to be subject to the
dominion of their husbands; for those who excel in other virtues
sometimes take occasion from them to act haughtily, so as to be
disobedient to their husbands.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Since we are quoting Scripture,

Galatians 6:1-2
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
 

Elizabeth

Puritan Board Sophomore
Titus 2

3The aged women likewise, that they be in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, not given to much wine, teachers of good things;

I take my old(er) woman status most seriously.
 
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Rufus

Puritan Board Junior
As far as the Middle Eastern burqa comment goes; modesty can be relative to a culture, so there is no need to go THAT far, secondly one over dressing is also immodest. Immodesty brings attention to yourself, there is attention being improperly driven if wearing too little, or wearing too much.
 

JoannaV

Puritan Board Sophomore
Getting dressed is such a chore. Modern Western clothes are so annoying. And now it's even more complicated because I have to figure out what works for nursing.

OK that was kind of off-topic. Your friend's thinking seems a little confused. You've received some good responses so I won't try to comment right now.
 

Pilgrim Standard

Puritan Board Sophomore
As far as the Middle Eastern burqa comment goes; modesty can be relative to a culture, so there is no need to go THAT far
I just see the lady allowing culture to set the standard of modesty. Perhaps bringing up the challenge of what should be the rule of modesty, society who has so little to say about it, or the Scripture, which makes no attempt to be quiet on the subject. Then, the challenge to subject oneself to the one that sets the true standard.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Joanna, I often look longingly at styles from India etc, with the cute punjabi pants and feminine, high waisted tunics and think how becoming and warm and cool and practical and in all points so like a butterfly it all is. I wonder if it is also better for nursing? I remember reading of how taken Lady Mary Wortley Montagu was with the styles in Turkey, finding them so much more practical and becoming than English styles at the time. She was able to introduce vaccination but sadly not the lovely pants and tunics. Maybe you could have a go :).

Leah, when I first came to know the Lord, I naturally looked to the girls of my own age who seemed to have a meek and contented spirit, and who could be pretty and feminine besides, and tried to imitate them. I am still imitating the ladies in my church who model meekness and quietness; and attractiveness to their husbands. I grew up hearing about modesty and it left me not only terribly confused (a woman is apparently not to let the public know she is a biped, in some circles) but also very unwilling to adopt the policies of what did not seem at all gentle or attractive in presentation. Of course I do not think you would fall into the latter camp in any way, but for myself I now think the best way I can impact the modesty of others (not being wise enough to address these issues, or even yet to have them all sorted out) is to try to develop a meek and quiet spirit and imitate those who do -- I am still so far from such personal goals, as I have almost daily cause to lament. In some cases, I find that means paying more attention to dress than I might have naturally: once when first married I blundered into a semi formal occasion as the only lady in baggy jeans and oversized sweatshirt. I was well covered but mortified, and felt that another dear friend who had dressed with more care, in something somewhat less covering, was much more modestly attired. In some cases I'm afraid that my avoidance of things unaesthetically appealing to me makes me less modest than I should be -- though certainly not my desire, and even where I am wearing a long skirt etc -- when others are wearing more practical garments. I have also come to think that no matter how gracious one tries to be, facebook is not the best medium in which to convince a friend of error. I think we gain the most truly attentive audience in our friendships by a life lived out in front of one another.

Elizabeth's advice is very wise: more things enter into young women giving this sort of advice than the possibility of being mis-perceived about our intent (which Leah, I am sure is of the best in your case). It is easier all around, and less crushing for us ladies to hear this from a loving mother in the faith (this sort of advice is always best from a mother, I think). We knew the most beautiful and charming and sincerely sweet Christian when we first married, and still think of her with so much delight, who was clueless in this area -- not having a Christian mother or father. Perhaps I may have even been able to avoid crushing her if I said something (though I'm not sure) and I thought that for her own protection's sake at length somebody might say something; but I felt it would make things awkward between her and my husband, who was also her friend. Would she think I was jealous (she was so awfully pretty)? Would she worry about what we had said to one another, and if he were noticing/judging/stumbling over such things about her? Such issues are less problematic from a woman whose marriage has already weathered so much more than one's own issues in dress, and whose husband is also looked to as a sort of father in the faith, I think.

Elizabeth, a friend who will tell you an honest opinion about the modesty of a garment is so invaluable.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Heidi, I'd like to thank you for pointing out that modesty has a lot to do with context. I have found myself (as a man) in many a context where what I was wearing stood out too much (though there are certain contexts where standing out isn't a big deal). Social context makes a great deal of difference and often I don't wear what I want or what I wish were the norm so as not to draw attention to myself.
 

christiana

Puritan Board Senior
Modesty is the topic of our ladies spring brunch at my church and it is such a need for the young especially but for all to desire to dress in a way pleasing to our Lord. So many misinterpret our 'liberty' but it is freedom now to worship and please our God that we didnt have before. If ladies are dressing with an intent to appeal provocative to men I would think that to be sin.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
I love Indian clothing, too. Very feminine even while being modest.

Side note: Burquas are not modest; they are oppressive.
 

Reformed Irish Man

Puritan Board Freshman
I found the modesty that my fiancée displayed was one of the first things that attracted me to her. I'm encouraged to hear of your stand for modesty. No matter what biblical truth we stand for we will always be challenged and even mocked for it.
 

Jerusalem Blade

Puritan Board Professor
Leah, I'm so glad you brought this up. You see, I live in Babylon (the great City of New York), and it seems it is perfectly natural for Babylonian women to display their physical beauty as much as they can – modesty is not even a consideration. But it vexes my righteous soul, and I daily have to pray preemptively for the Lord to protect me – not only against the beauty of women but against my own eyes and heart – when I go out and about in the city. I desire with all my heart to have a pure heart, true to my God and to my wife, and I have to stay very close to my Savior constantly.

When I was pastoring a church on a mission field I used to address this from the pulpit, timidly at first (fearing to offend close friends) but more forcefully and pointedly as time went on.

We all have different callings. Some are called to speak prophetically – directly to the hearts of others with the word and Spirit of God, while others have a differing approach. I like your approach. I recall my wife telling me, after she was first converted she and a more mature sister in Christ were getting dressed to go to church, and her friend looked at her short skirt and exclaimed, "You're not going to church in that, are you!?" They then had a little talk about modesty, and wife was changed from that day on.

Women who see their beauty as residing in their bodies and looks are desiring to attract men who see the same, and unless the Lord intervenes they will get what they desire, to their grief. A godly man will not be attracted to a body-flaunting woman, knowing that down the line this trait may be so deep it will cause him grief in the years to come, as well as seeing that the true womanly beauty is suppressed by the flesh.

Genuine conversion and the clean and healthy fear of the LORD in a soul – male or female – are rare things nowadays, and I daresay will be rarer as time goes on. Many say they are Christian but their hearts and lives say otherwise. I would only caution you in this, be winsome in your seeking to instruct your professing friends – along with your mild reproof and personal example, seek to bring the Person and presence of Jesus into the discussion, He who is possessed of infinite dignity and majesty, and tender care for His own – that their motive to take on modesty would be to please Him who loves a meek and quiet and godly spirit, which in His sight is of great price.

Keep up the good work, young lady!
 

CuriousNdenver

Puritan Board Sophomore
Women who see their beauty as residing in their bodies and looks are desiring to attract men who see the same, and unless the Lord intervenes they will get what they desire, to their grief. A godly man will not be attracted to a body-flaunting woman, knowing that down the line this trait may be so deep it will cause him grief in the years to come, as well as seeing that the true womanly beauty is suppressed by the flesh.

Such wise words! Thank you for sharing your heart on this issue.

Leah, I have often wondered the same things you asked in your original post. You have already gotten some wonderful feedback on modesty among those who profess Christ, so I will share some of what my pastor has shared on this issue, as he has addressed it from the pulpit.

Like others have mentioned, he reminds us that whatever we do in response to those who may be dressing immodestly needs to be done prayerfully, in love. He suggests that to lay down the law on them (those dressing immodestly) is not going to bring about a change of heart, but a form of outward obedience, rather than submission to the Holy Spirit. He has also reminded us that not all of the people in the pews at church are believers (we have a large church), and that some may be brand new believers. He has suggested that some of these gals truly may not realize that their dress is provocative, especially if they have just come from the ranks of the unsaved, where as your friend suggested in A - they are simply conforming to our cultural norm. He has reminded us that the spiritual walk and process of sanctification is just that - a process. We are all in different places in our walk with the Lord as we grow in our faith.

His suggestion was that in love, other women in the body gently take the gal aside and prayerfully share with her about modesty, referencing the verses already quoted here in Titus 2 and I Timothy 2 which address modesty and older women teaching the younger women.

I can say in my own experience that I have come home with some things from the store that seemed just fine in the dressing room, but when I put them on at home, they seemed inappropriate, so it is entirely possible that some of these gals just don't realize that certain clothing is creating unnecessary temptation for men. It seems also to speak to where some of the gals are in their walk with the Lord. If we are in the word and in constant fellowship with Him, it seems that the more we let His word dwell in us richly (Col. 3:16), the more we are in-tune with how to live our daily lives as unto Him. The opposite would also be true: those who are not growing in their faith and feeding on the Word are easy prey and easily led astray.
 

reformedminister

Puritan Board Sophomore
I wish more women who profess Christ had a deeper desire to follow Biblical principles in regarding apparel and outward adornment. It takes a real woman to be willing to stand out from the crowd in order to set a godly example and not follow the norm or the standards set by a heathen society. It is in this consecration and discipline that true beauty shines.
 

FCC

Puritan Board Freshman
Keep up your stance Leah. I think you will find (as my wife did) that by merely dressing modestly you will bring about reactions. My wife doesn't even have to say anything, it is merely her choice of modest dress that starts the comments! Make a strong stand for modesty in your own life, your actions and witness for Christ will first convict those around you and then pray, for it is the Lord who must change their hearts. When the topic arises, speak and hold forth the good word of life! Study the topic intensely so you have an answer for those who do want to talk about it. This is very important as well.

Pastor Jeff Pollard has some excellent sermons on sermon audio concerning modesty and it's impact.

We believe that dress is not a matter for private intrepretation, but that Scripture does speak to it. It is a direct representation of our being clothed with the righteousness of Christ! Oh that I would be clothed more and more with His glorious righteousness!

May the Lord bless your faithful stand Leah!
 

John Bunyan

Puritan Board Freshman
There's a big difference between a barely clothed amerindian and a american woman in a string bikini. In the first case, nakedness (or almost) is the common way to dress, and people expose their bodies naturally, with no intention (some indigenous groups do cover their genitals, by the way) towards others. In the case of the american, however, string-bikinis are not the pattern (which usually includes covering a lot more), but rather an exceptional way of clothing with a specific objective: to attract others. She may say that's not the objective, but only brief examinations of string-bikini ads show that's what they're for. I mean really, why would anyone in a cold place (and, for me, every place in the US is cold; no need to talk about some countries in Europe) dress with such small non-clothes? It is an obviously sensual vestment. If a woman was seem in her underwear she would be uncomfortable, and underwears normally cover way more than bikinis (string-bikinis barely cover anything). Isn't it obvious, then, that string bikinis are not commonplace, irrelevant, customary and neutral clothes?
 
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