Modesty….A Loaded Word

I’ve been thinking about modesty A LOT lately.  Of course I find that being sick and forced to stay home gives you plenty of time to consider many subjects.  I’ve been chewing on this particular topic due to some popular Facebook articles.  The main focus of them have been that Christian women should not wear leggings as they lead men to think lustful thoughts.  There are a couple of these articles and they have been shared, liked and commented on by many of my friends and women in my church.  So, I’ve sat at home reading these articles and comments and frankly they disturb me a bit.

I suppose I should start be explaining that my personal views on modesty might surprise most people.  Those who actually know me well, know me as what one might call a “liberal christian”.  Although I do hate that term.  My opinions and views are not very popular and I tend to have a much more live and let live attitude than most.  However, my personal standards and beliefs on modesty are extremely conservative.  Many of the christian women I know and love wear things that I would never wear. I have somewhat strict views not only on showing skin but also displays of wealth (with regards to overly expensive name brand items that only serve to showcase your money). But these are MY views.  They do not belong to anyone else so I don’t put those views on others.  What you wear is between you and God and perhaps your spouse.  It is not my concern.  In fact the only time you will hear me say a word is if you are trying to hold others to a standard that you yourself are not willing to live up to.  I wont sit by quietly while you shame a woman for showing cleavage while your butt is hanging out of your shorts.  Live your convictions or stay quiet about them.

Modesty is a relative term.  To the Mennonite modesty means wearing dresses and head coverings. To the muslim in means a burka.  To some christian women it means cardigans and khakis.  And to some women it is nothing but an antiquated word that holds no place in this world.  Again in the end it is you that is held accountable for your actions, not me.  So, do what you please as long is it is not hurting others.

My issues with these articles actually have little do with modesty and more to do with motivation.  Christian women shouldn’t wear leggings BECAUSE they lead men to think lustful thoughts.  NOT because she has a personal conviction given to her by God. NOT because she read the scriptures and has determined this is what they mean to her. NOT because she desires to keep certain aspects of her body private for only her husband out of respect. NOT because she feels more comfortable in a certain amount of covering. But because her clothing will cause men to sin.  I don’t buy that.  Men cause themselves to sin.  They can just as easily fantasize about a women in a pair of jeans as they can a women in leggings.  The sin is not caused by the women’s clothing.  The sin is caused by the man’s heart.

For some reason in this day and time we have decided to give men a free pass on their thoughts and many of their actions. I can’t tell you how many times I have been told that: they can not help it, its in their nature, or they have no control over where their mind goes when they see a scantily dressed woman.  On that I call BS.  They “can not help it” because we have told them it is acceptable behavior.  We have told them it comes with the territory of being a man.  In fact it is an unavoidable sign that you are male and the only way that it can be prevented it by covering women up.  This line of thinking is what leads to this:

burka

This is the line of thinking that leads colleges to teach classes and seminars on what women should do to avoid being raped instead of teaching men not to rape. It places responsibility on victims instead of predators.

Even within the our christian community we have taken the responsibility for sin off of men and placed in on women.  I have heard mothers talk about how they avoid taking their sons to pools or beaches because it’s too much to ask of them to see all the woman in bathing suits and not have lustful thoughts.  It is too much to ask of them because we don’t even bother asking them.  Instead of teaching them how to guard their minds with scripture, prayer and strength from the Lord we tell them it is impossible and they shouldn’t even try.  With these actions we tell them that this is normal behavior and there is nothing they can do about it.  THAT IS A LIE.  The scripture tells us that all things are possible to those who trust God.  It also tells us that God gives us the strength to control the things, that on our own, we can not (such as our eyes, thoughts and tongue).  Why are we giving them a free pass to sin????

I am a mother.  It is a defining aspect of who I am.  I like to think of it as a noun, verb and adjective (can you tell where we are at in English right now lol). It is simply who I am, it is what I do and it perfectly describes me (not all of me but that is a completely different post). As a mother I take my responsibilities to my children very seriously.  Their education, joy, character, and spiritual walk are my top priority.  I posted something on Facebook today that perfectly sums up where I am:

“My goal: yes, teach my daughter about modesty but more so, teach my son that women are more than just meat to be consumed with his eyes.”

This is where I am.  I am teaching my daughter about modesty.  I’m sharing my beliefs and why I believe them.  I am helping her begin to define modesty for herself and giving a her a bit of freedom to so.  Which means sometimes she wears things I wouldn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, there are some set rules.  There are things I believe the scriptures tell us and Mike and I don’t waver there.  But there are some things that are more a personal belief and that is where we allow freedom.  I am having heart to hearts with her about this area of life and what it means.

But more so we are praying, working with and explaining things to our son.  My desire is to raise a man who respects women and holds himself to a higher standard than others.  A man who doesn’t give himself a free pass to think all sorts of vile things about women because it can not be helped and is in his nature.  A man who brings a whole new level of respect and honor to his future spouse.

Mothers, we hold the future in our hands.  Crazy to think, isn’t it? We are raising the future leaders of this country (whether men or women).  If you are tired of cat calls, being thought of as less than, being paid less and being treated as eye candy for any strange man you encounter….than change it.  You hold that power! Raise your sons to be different.  Bring up a better generation of men!! Prepare your sons for the world, don’t hide them from what they will be unable to avoid.

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints               ~Ephesians 6:10-18

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