Modesty Redefined

Several years ago I wrote a blog on the issue of modesty. In that blog, called A Lost Art, I talked about the issue of modesty from the traditional view point; girls be careful how you dress, guys be careful how you look at the girls.

The issue of modesty, I have since come to realize, is much more than just that. Yes, the traditional way of looking at modesty still applies…girls, you do need to be smart about the way you dress and show off your body (if you aren’t willing to let a guy touch it, don’t let them see it); and guys, you do need to be careful with where you allow your eyes to wander when you look at a girl (girls are people, not sex-objects, and should be treated as such). But the issue of modesty has been redefined to include a broader spectrum of areas and issues.

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I have had a few conversations recently with females about how modesty is not just the issue of how girls dress and how guys look at them…but rather how it is really an issue of how we all dress and how we all look at the opposite sex (in real life as well as online).

The issue of modesty when it comes to clothing is no longer just a female issue…guys are able to dress immodestly too. Guys can wear revealing clothing that are tight or show off parts of a man that a woman would consider “sexy”. Guys, the same as girls, can dress in such a way as to draw attention to themselves in immodest ways.

The issue of modesty when it comes to how we look at the opposite sex is also no longer just a male issue…girls can struggle with lust when they look at a man too. One statistic said that 1 in 3 visitors to an adult website are females. In a blog I read (which by the way is amazing and all should read) it is stated that “86% of the men and 32% of the women used porn. The percentage among women is growing”.

Recently I asked a mother of some students in my Student Ministry to share with me how men can dress immodestly and how it can be an issue for a female. This is her response:

Men should be careful of bathing suits, too, because there’s no difference between boxers and bathing suits if you really want to get down to it (note: this was stated because she knows how I feel about a bikini being the same as a bra and panties). Society has decided that guys can run around at the pool in the equivalent of their boxers, but girls have to cover everything but their arms and legs. Guys who walk around with their shirts hanging open so all the girls can see their six-pack also cause a lot of girls to have their thoughts go where they shouldn’t. If a girl can see the hair on a guy’s stomach disappear into their waistband, well, let’s just say imagination is tempted to take over.”

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When I realized how much broader the issue of modesty is, and how it affects both men and women, I decided to create some discussion among the students in my Student Ministry to help them realize how modesty is changing and being redefined. I shared with them 6 areas that I believe modesty can be an issue, and how it affects both men and women equally. Those six areas that I presented to them are Clothing, Lust, Internet, Mobile Devices, Video Games, and Social Media.

Below is the video of what I shared.

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1 Corinthians 6:19-20 reminds us that as Followers of Christ, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. The end of verse 20 says to “honor God with your body”. In Genesis 1:27 we are told that God created men and women in his image.

As men and women, how we choose to dress…as well as what we choose to leave uncovered…will either honor God and his image in us, or it will dishonor God and his image in us. Consider that the next time you are getting dressed, or taking a “selfie” and posting it online (for more about my thoughts on the dangers of “selfies”, watch the video above).

Guys, there is no need to have your Social Media profile picture be a picture of yourself flexing without a shirt on (here’s a crazy thought; give your wife…or future wife if you aren’t married…the privilege of knowing what your body looks like more than everyone else)

Girls, there is no need to post a picture of yourself trying on clothing or from above yourself (we can see down your shirt when you do that).

Proverbs 4:25 says “let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you.” Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.”

We need to be careful how we allow ourselves to look at others…we need to strive to keep our thoughts pure by keeping our eyes from wandering. What you look at is what you will think about.

Ultimately, we must treat both ourselves and others with all respect and purity. That is real Modesty.

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These are a couple of other blogs that I have read that are extremely insightful and helpful concerning how the issue of modesty is being redefined.

http://natepyle.com/seeing-a-woman/

http://amycourts.com/respect-thats-my-sons-job/

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