I feel a little bit awkward writing about something that’s, traditionally, just for girls. But after talking with my wife and some other ladies, I realize that this is a huge deal in the church. Here’s what I’m thinking: If modesty is just about dividing and categorizing the human body and telling you what is too much or too little fabric, then we can forget about it. Don’t freak out; just keep reading. We know that, biblically, appearance isn’t supposed to be the focus of our lives:
“…The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7 NLT)
This seems to be a trend in scripture. The overly religious people who Jesus berated and called out in front of their friends were super obsessed with how they appeared. Jesus called them “white-washed tombs,” which basically meant, “You look like you have things together on the outside, but you are crazy messed-up on the inside.”
So, that’s my first concern: that you, my fellow Christians, don’t get deceived into believing that your appearance or what you wear can in any way dictate your true value. That’s not what God focuses on and not what the man of your dreams should focus on either (although he’ll like how you look, promise).
Speaking of guys, here’s my second point: I believe that if guys practiced self-control, “modesty” wouldn’t be such a huge deal. If we taught Christian men to view women with respect and as more than sex objects, regardless of what they are wearing, this whole conversation would be a little less black-and-white. I want to make it clear that, while we appreciate your attempts at not being overt with your sexuality, you can’t “cause us to stumble.” Our sin is not your fault.
And, last but not least, if modesty is a thing that allows women and girls to criticize and judge each other (which I know for a fact happens in our churches), it needs to change or die. I know that sounds harsh, but the person you are inside, while it should inform how you present yourself, is infinitely more important that what you wear. Plus, every person has a different definition of what they think looks “nice,” “cool” or “modest.” There is no cut-and-dried definition and no universal standard.
Ultimately, it’s who you really are that matters. I believe in you and your ability to have your own relationship with God. Being “modest” (whether you are a man or a woman) is an attitude. If you are close to The Source of All Good Things (God again) and focus on things that matter, your decisions and appearance should reflect that.