If you know me, you know I don’t believe in dress codes for the church…… buuuut the subject of what we wear in public is not quite so simple as to be dismissed in the name of being against a dress code.
Judging from passages that mention it (1st Timothy 2:9 & 1st Peter 3:3 for example), modesty in the first century and before seemed to be a matter of avoiding ostentation, that is the wearing or displaying of wealth on one’s person by way of fancy clothing, jewelry and even hairdos.
Today, with the abundance of suitable (no pun intended) clothing available to us, modesty has become more of a matter of keeping ourselves covered. Think about it; when you hear of someone being immodestly dressed, do you envision a person overdressed or underdressed?
Out of curiosity, I googled images of cheerleaders just to check something. Turns out, based on the huge preponderance of images, the female cheerleaders are often very scantily dressed while their male counterparts are fully clothed. You see a lot of legs, tummies, backs & shoulders displayed, but only those of the girls.
Whoa! Hold on, this is not a diatribe against cheerleaders or cheerleading. I am just trying to think through this thing about showing a certain amount of skin that even sports fans understand to be…. well…. provocative. But to what are we being provoked?
Shouldn’t we wonder…. why aren’t the male cheerleaders scantily clad like the girls? This has nothing to do with all men being dirty minded. If that were the problem, surely no young lady would ever dress like that in front of them.
Jesus warned men that looking on a woman to lust was adultery (Matthew 5:27-30). And yes, men, rather than women, tend to be the ones who struggle against lust. Is it a bit out of balance, however, to warn men about lusting, but then encourage young ladies to dress in a revealing manner?
I really like what someone very wisely wrote:
“When a woman veils her body in modest clothing, she is not hiding herself from
men. On the contrary, she is revealing her dignity to them”
What is modesty anyway, but the decision to behave in such a way so as not to call attention to ourselves. Modesty displays our desire to live together in peace and godliness while respecting both our own dignity, and that of others. May such modesty always be a part of who we are as God’s people.