My family and I have had the privilege of hanging out with some unbelievably awesome single guys lately. A big reason I say they are so awesome is that they actually care about winning the battle with lust. Most men gave up long ago. Titus talks about Cretans whose “god is their belly.” In our culture, deity seems to have migrated several inches south.
But these guys have a problem, and it’s a problem that we have to own as their sisters in Christ. Everywhere they go, women are unbelievably unhelpful. Flaunting. Revealing. Immodest. Out in the world, we wouldn’t really expect anything else, but when it’s women in the Church, that’s a different story. Over and over, our friends have lamented that Christian women just don’t seem to understand what they’re doing to their brothers. I think that’s because no one is out there trying to teach them. And guess what, ladies, that’s OUR job. The Bible says that it’s up to women to teach other women how to be discreet and chaste (Titus 2:5).But so many women can’t muster much passion about this issue. It conflicts with other values, or it just isn’t on the radar screen. So, in honor of awesome guys everywhere, I would like to present my Top Ten Reasons Why Modesty Gets a Yawn in hopes that all of us ladies can wake up, start being “teachers of good things” and consider how to provoke other women to love their brothers by making the gathering of the saints a safer place for battle-weary soldiers of purity.
10. I’m too old to be a problem.
You’re never too old to be discreet and chaste. Just because you don’t look like a teenager doesn’t mean that you don’t still need to be careful. When you’re bending over in tight jeans, your crow’s feet don’t show anyway. And if your cleavage is spilling out of your neckline, it’s likely to be a challenge whether or not you have a few gray hairs.
Even if, for the sake of argument, you really are too old to ever cause anyone to struggle, you’re still not too old to set an example for the younger women who are naively exhibiting themselves. After all, if their mothers and grandmothers are doing it, why shouldn’t they?
9. I don’t have a body like a Victoria’s Secret model, so who would ever lust after me?
This one is similar to #10 and reveals a way in which most women don’t understand men. Women think that they have to have a perfect total package to provoke anyone to lust. Actually a man will feel a twinge of arousal from seeing anything that is hyper-accentuated and immodest about a female body–even if something else is less than perfect.
8. But my husband wants me to dress immodestly.
Usually, when husbands express this, it’s because one of two things is happening (sometimes both at the same time). Either you are not paying attention to satisfying his deep desire for visual stimuli when you are alone (and wives, when you’re alone, go ALL OUT!); or he’s a lust junkie who’s getting a buzz anywhere and everywhere he can and is annoyed that he isn’t getting the same buzz from you. A man that is fighting hard will not want you to be as inconsiderate and unloving as all the women he has to put up with all day. But a man who’s wallowing in other women’s immodesty will want to pull you down into the pit with him with absolutely no regard for how many men you cause to stumble along the way. If your husband doesn’t care if other men are lusting after you, it is a huge red flag that he is probably lusting after everyone else.
7. Are you saying that if a man is lusting after a woman, that it’s her fault?!
Nope. Not even close. Lust is a sin. And if a man is committing it, God holds him and him alone accountable. I’m not advocating the Islamic stereotype “blame the woman for her own rape” kind of mentality that says that men are not responsible for themselves in the presence of a beautiful woman.
But we can help our brothers. Being immodest is like throwing a party for a bunch of recovering alcoholics and deciding to have an open bar. If your guests got totally smashed it would, of course, be their fault, but no one is going to think for a minute that you really loved them or cared about their struggles.
6. But my husband never has any trouble at all with immodest women.
Apparently, there really are a few men out there who are totally oblivious. I don’t personally know any of them, but I’ve gotten enough comments from wives insisting that their husbands are in this category that I’m willing to acknowledge the possibility. However, just like I am taking your word for it that your husband has no difficulty, you might want to consider taking my word for it that a lot of other men do.
5. If Christians look like freaks no one will want to be a Christian.
People who don’t want to be Christians don’t want to because the Gospel sounds outlandish, or because they firmly believe something else, or even sometimes because they don’t understand their own sinfulness and what they need to be saved from. That “Christians are too weird” is just an excuse, as evidenced by the “Christians are no different from anyone else” excuse that we hear equally often. God frequently asks His people to do things that make us look weird (turning the other cheek, not lying, esteeming others as better than ourselves, for example). We need to be concerned with what’s right, not what’s normal.
4. But I want to dress like my friends.
Sure, but somebody has to be a leader. Imagine how much easier it would be for your friends to be considerate in their dress if you were already doing it.
3. I want to look cute and stylish.
This is a hard one. Probably every woman really wants to have everyone think she’s beautiful, but at what cost? Is following fashion so important that it’s worth placing a stumbling block in your brother’s path? Now someone’s going to jump in right about now and say that we can be cute and stylish and modest, and, of course, that’s lovely when we can achieve it. But modesty needs to be the first priority. So often it’s the other way around, and “cute and stylish” trumps modest. When we decide that our own sense of style matters more than helping men avoid lust, fundamentally, it is just selfishness on our part.
2. Guys won’t pay attention to me if I’m dressed in a sack.
Yeah, a lot of them probably won’t. But you have to ask yourself what kind of attention you really want. Are you looking for a godly husband or a long trail of panting, drooling puppies who will abandon you in a heartbeat just as soon as another piece of meat strolls by? Quality men want virtuous women. The problem is that the world is mostly populated by non-quality men, so virtuous women necessarily get less attention. This isn’t really a problem when you consider that drooling puppies make lousy husbands (assuming they ever quit playing video games long enough get around to marrying you). You’re wasting your time if you’re trying to appeal to them.
1. But I don’t see any men lusting after me!
Ha! Yes, there are a few creepy guys out there who ogle women openly, but 99.9% of the men out there are much more subtle. They know that it’s socially unacceptable to stare, so they don’t. In fact, most men will not look at your body when you are looking at them. If your attention is on them, they’ll look at your face, nod politely, play the gentlemen. But turn around to talk to your friends, and they’re watching you out of the corners of their eyes, and it is not your face they’re looking at this time. You have no idea how many surreptitious second (and third and fourth…) looks are being stolen. You also have no idea how many of your brothers in Christ are fighting hard not to take those second looks and are feeling really beaten up by how aware they are of your body.
Our brothers’ fight deserves much more than a yawn. Be modest yourself. Share the truth with your sisters. Let’s wake up and help each other out.
<blockquote>And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works –Hebrews 10:24</blockquote>