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The Respect Dare, Day 30 – Modesty and Respect

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Now that I have read and understand a lot more about how men think and how their minds and eyes work- I have a whole new understanding of the blessing of modesty both for the women who embrace the concept and for the men who benefit from women who choose to dress modestly.

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.  I Timothy 2:9-10

MEN ARE MORE “VISUAL”

What this means for many men, in real life, is that seeing provocatively dressed women can create huge temptation for them – this is quite a problem in our sex-saturated culture today.  Honestly, I didn’t “get” that until a few years ago when I began to study how men think.  Temptations bombard our men from every angle.  Some men struggle more with this than others – just like some women struggle more with having a chocolate cake on the counter in the kitchen more than others do (great illustration by Shaunti Feldhahn in “For Women Only.”)  But – from my understanding – it is practically a universal struggle among men to keep their thoughts pure when seeing beautiful women who are immodestly dressed whether in real life, in a magazine or on a screen.

One young Christian single man commented that the visual temptation he experiences is more like having a chocolate cake on every flat surface in the house – meaning, everywhere he looks, there is visual temptation to lust because many women are dressed provocatively, even in the church.  That breaks my heart!

As women, we are mostly not wired to be visual the way they are, we are more about words and romance (so we are much more tempted by romantic novels, chick flicks and love songs, although an increasing number of women are struggling with porn addiction, too).

WHAT?  ME?  IMMODEST?

A lot of us think we are just being fashionable with our clothing and don’t have any idea of the impact our clothes have on the men around us.  Or, we are just buying what is in the stores – and most of the clothing in the mall is just not very modest.  Especially for younger women in the teen sizes.  Many of us have never studied the subject of modesty – and it can be quite a surprise that visual temptations are such a huge issue for many men.  Let me clarify – there seems to be a continuum of level of temptation.  Teenage boys and men in their 20s may have a much greater struggle with visual  temptation than men in their 60s and 70s.  Testosterone levels can play a role here, too.   Your husband may not struggle much visually.  But there may be other men around you at work, in the store and at church who do struggle and battle all day every day and who long for a reprieve from being constantly bombarded visually from every angle. (You may want to check out The Modesty Survey results by Rebelution and read some of the guys’ comments when you have time.)

It is not that men are “cads” because they are visual – or that they are “worse sinners” than women. We have our own temptations and sinful tendencies that are just as offensive to God – our difficulty with forgiveness many times, our tendency to want to control our men or God, our own idols (things we put above Christ in our hearts), gossip, self-righteousness, contentiousness or clinging to bitterness (these are the kinds of sins I struggle with, at least!).   All men and women are sinful – no one is good but God alone (according to Jesus).  We have no room to look down on our husbands or brothers in Christ if we are not affected by visual temptation – we each have plenty of sin in our own lives to deal with.

I would like us as wives to be a place of safety and a haven where our husbands can share their struggles and temptations and where we can support them in prayer – just like we want them to support and pray for us in our struggles and temptations.

OUR GIFT TO OUR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS

I want to see God’s women do something about the visual temptations that are impacting our men!  They would appreciate our help. We are in a powerful position to either cause them to drown deeper in this snare or to give them the gift of our own modesty and our daughters’ modesty to give them some respite from this constant temptation and assault on their eyes.  They need our prayers first, our compassion and mercy, our understanding, and our obedience to God’s commands for us as women.

We are not responsible for other people’s sin – but we are responsible for not purposely presenting a stumbling block to others.  It is possible that some men could still lust after me even if I dress modestly – I am not responsible for that.  But I am responsible to God for respecting Him with my attitudes, actions, words and clothing.  I seek to show that I respect God, myself, my own sexuality, my husband and other men by the way I dress in public.

When the Bible talks about women dressing modestly- there are no specific “rules” given about what can and can’t be worn. (We are not to dress like prostitutes or have lavish hairstyles or expensive clothing.)  This is something that each woman must pray about and decide about between herself, her husband and God.

Modesty is an attitude of the heart that a woman wants her clothing to point to God and glorify Him instead of drawing the attention of men to her body.   Modesty is “humility in clothing.”

RESPECT DARE 30:

I would like to encourage you to go through your own closet and also your daughters’ closets and prayerfully consider each article of clothing.

  • Does it glorify and honor God?
  • Does it glorify my body or my daughter’s body?
  • Is this something to only wear for my husband?
  • Am I (or is my daughter) going to cause a brother to stumble if I (she) wear (s) this outfit?

Let’s be willing to ask

  • WHY do I want to wear this outfit?  What are my motives?

Some of the Christian college  guys in Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, For Women Only,  were so thankful when the girls around them would take the time and effort and care to dress modestly.  They described how a woman’s covering of her body made her more beautiful to them and also made it possible for the guys to focus on her face and her heart instead of focusing on her body and curves.

Yes – it can a pain to find modest clothing today.  But it is not impossible.   There are beautiful, feminine modest choices out there if you are willing to look.  Modesty does not have to be frumpy.  I believe our brothers in Christ are worth the trouble.  I also believe that Jesus is infinitely worthy of our obedience to Him in every way.

OTHER RESOURCES

What Christian Men Think about Modesty

Men, Testosterone and Temptation, Part 1

Men, Testosterone and Temptation, Part 2

My Youtube video about Modesty (15 minutes)

Do Men Really Objectify Scantily Clad Women?

A Wife Sees Some of Her Idols – People Pleasing and Beauty

Why I Wear Skirts Every Day Part 1 (my personal convictions)

Why I Wear Skirts Daily – Part 2 (resources to find modest clothing)

Avoiding Legalism

 

What Guys Think about the Importance of Modesty

disrespectedmen

I deeply appreciate the willingness of these Christian single guys to talk about this issue so candidly and clearly with us.  This is a critically important issue for our brothers in Christ.  They need our prayers, our understanding, our support, cooperation and consideration.

GUY #1:

It’s funny, the members of my church (soldiers) must be in uniform during Holiness Meetings (The Salvation Army church service) and it is not the most flattering uniform (and shouldn’t be). The uniform “enforces” modesty on women; and I will agree, their appearance is not a distraction in church. The attendees or non-soldiers can dress as they please.

When I see a woman from my church outside of church in her street clothing, sometimes it is “night and day”

I mean, a lot of today’s fashions on women….are well…a bit arousing; and to be fair I am not saying the woman is trying to be a “tease” or is actively trying to put a guy in this situation…but

Women, you have no idea what your God given body and image does to men. 

A woman who dresses modestly is not a prude or boring. It means she has CLASS. It means she respects herself, and knows what her body can do to a guy.

GUY #2

I really appreciate modesty. It’s really annoying to have a barely dressed woman pass by or sit next to me on the bus. Yet should we speak up, we get called controlling or perverts. It’s not like we can have absolute control over our reactions.
Can I control myself no matter what a woman’s wearing? Yes. Am I comfortable when women are immodest? Absolutely not.
Yes they can wear what they like but we pay a price for their choices.

GUY #3

I see the intense feeling a guy gets from an immodest woman as a warning that she does not respect him nor care about him. In nature the most beautiful creatures tend to be the most dangerous. Tree frogs for instance are very pretty but very toxic! Translating that too woman means the same in my opinion. Once a man accepts that immodest women are more likely to support his destruction such women don’t look very attractive because you can see their spiritual ugliness like a deadly contagious disease. If a man doesn’t want to catch he doesn’t look.

GUY #4

I think there are many women who really don’t know the effect their modesty or lack of modesty have had on men, and they are probably the ones who behave somewhat naively, but with good intent. They don’t want to mislead men, but they don’t know where to draw the line between “modest” and “immodest” in ways that honor men.  Or, they believe they are already as “modest” as they need to be, while still feeling beautiful or comfortable according to society’s standards.

These good-willed women often have different definitions and standards of beauty than men. They would be surprised with how simply and non-legalistically we view beauty, and how easy it is for them to be modest, comfortable, and amazingly beautiful to us all at the same time.

There are also many women who know very well the effect their clothing and behavior have on men (that is why they do it), and they have made decisions to dress and act in specific ways to elicit reactions from men whose person and arousal responses do not belong to them.

They may believe they are just flattering themselves, “building-up their confidence,” or “using what God gave them,” but

really they are stealing emotions from men they don’t care about, and have no intentions to satisfy the responses they stir-up. It is false advertising – a deceit – a lie!

A young Christian woman made the following quote about modesty: (paraphrased)
“Women should dress like a flower to be looked at, valued, and appreciated, not like a sandwich to be bitten.”

Are you ladies dressing in ways that make us want to value and appreciate the beauty God has given you, or in ways that make us want to “take a bite?”

I believe God wants women to save this powerful “come take a bite” attraction for their husbands alone, and many men would appreciate the reduced stress, temptations, and distractions that such a choice would have on them in public, at work, or at church.

I don’t think women need to work so hard to follow society’s definition of beauty to look or feel attractive. God has a much different idea of beauty and modesty than society has told women, and godly men want to see more women choose to reflect that type of beauty.

FROM PEACEFULWIFE

Godly beauty is described in I Peter 3:3-6.  It is a “gentle and peaceful/stilled/quiet/calm spirit… that does not give way to hysterical fear.”  That is what is of great worth in God’s sight – and that is what is beautiful to godly men, too.

God calls us to dress modestly – for good reason.

I pray we might desire to dress to show respect to our Lord, and to show respect for our own bodies, our sexuality, and the men around us.  This attitude of desiring to draw attention to God instead of to our bodies is very honoring to Him!

RELATED ARTICLES

http://lessonsofmercy.wordpress.com/2013/03/10/id-never-be-a/ (a post from my dear friend, Kayla, about the effects seeing a woman in a bikini can have on guys – and what we as believing women can do about it)

Is the Issue of Modesty Relevant in 2013?

Why I Wear Skirts Daily – Part 1

Why I Wear Skirts Daily – Part 2

Shaunti Feldhahn’s book “For Women Only” and for teenage girls “For Young Women Only” are great resources into the inner thought lives of men

The Issue of Modesty

Now that I have read and understand a lot more about how men think and how their minds and eyes work- I have a whole new understanding of the blessing of modesty both for the women who embrace the concept and for the men who benefit from women who choose to dress modestly.

I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.  I Timothy 2:9-10

MEN ARE MORE “VISUAL”

What this means for many men, in real life, is that seeing provocatively dressed women can create huge temptation for them – this is quite a problem in our sex-saturated culture today.  Temptations bombard our men from every angle.  Some men struggle more with this than others – just like some women struggle more with having a chocolate cake on the counter in the kitchen more than others do (great illustration by Shaunti Feldhahn in “For Women Only.”)  But – from my understanding – it is practically a universal struggle among men to keep their thoughts pure when seeing beautiful women who are immodestly dressed whether in real life, in a magazine or on a screen.

One young Christian single man commented that the visual temptation he experiences is more like having a chocolate cake on every flat surface in the house – meaning, everywhere he looks, there is visual temptation to lust because many women are dressed provocatively, even in the church.

As women, we are mostly not wired to be visual the way they are, we are more about words and romance (so we are much more tempted by romantic novels, chick flicks and love songs, although an increasing number of women are struggling with porn addiction, too).

WHAT?  ME?  IMMODEST?

A lot of us think we are just being fashionable with our clothing and don’t have any idea of the impact our clothes have on the men around us.  Many of us have never studied the subject of modesty – and it can be quite a surprise that visual temptations are such a huge issue for many men.  Let me clarify – there seems to be a continuum of level of temptation.  Teenage boys and men in their 20s may have a much greater struggle with visual  temptation than men in their 60s and 70s.  Testosterone levels can play a role here, too.   Your husband may not struggle much visually.  But there may be other men around you at work, in the store and at church who do struggle and battle all day every day and who long for a reprieve from being constantly bombarded visually from every angle.

It is not that men are “cads” because they are visual – or that they are “worse sinners” than women. We have our own temptations and sinful tendencies that are just as offensive to God – our difficulty with forgiveness many times, our tendency to want to control our men or God, our own idols (things we put above Christ in our hearts), gossip, self-righteousness, contentiousness or clinging to bitterness (these are the kinds of sins I struggle with, at least!).   All men and women are sinful – no one is good but God alone (according to Jesus).  We have no room to look down on our husbands or brothers in Christ if we are not affected by visual temptation – we each have plenty of sin in our own lives to deal with.

I would like us as wives to be a place of safety and a haven where our husbands can share their struggles and temptations and where we can support them in prayer – just like we want them to support and pray for us in our struggles and temptations.

OUR GIFT TO OUR CHRISTIAN BROTHERS

I want to see God’s women do something about the visual temptations that are impacting our men!  They need our help. We are in a powerful position to either cause them to drown deeper in this snare or to give them the gift of our own modesty and our daughters’ modesty to give them some respite from this constant temptation and assault on their eyes.  They need our prayers first, our compassion and mercy, our understanding, and our obedience to God’s commands for us as women.

We are not responsible for other people’s sin – but we are responsible for not purposely presenting a stumbling block to others.  It is possible that some men could still lust after me even if I dress modestly – I am not responsible for that.  But I am responsible to God for respecting Him with my attitudes, actions, words and clothing.  I seek to show that I respect God, myself, my own sexuality, my husband and other men by the way I dress in public.

When the Bible talks about women dressing modestly- there are no specific “rules” given about what can and can’t be worn. (We are not to dress like prostitutes or have lavish hairstyles or expensive clothing.)  This is something that each woman must pray about and decide about between herself, her husband and God.

Modesty is an attitude of the heart that a woman wants her clothing to point to God and glorify Him instead of drawing the attention of men to her body.   Modesty is “humility in clothing.”

ASSIGNMENT

I would like to encourage you to go through your own closet and also your daughters’ closets and prayerfully consider each article of clothing.

  • Does it glorify and honor God?
  • Does it glorify my body or my daughter’s body?
  • Is this something to only wear for my husband?
  • Am I (or is my daughter) going to cause a brother to stumble if I (she) wear (s) this outfit?

Some of the Christian college  guys in Shaunti Feldhahn’s book, For Women Only,  were so thankful when the girls around them would take the time and effort and care to dress modestly.  They described how a woman’s covering of her body made her more beautiful to them and also made it possible for the guys to focus on her face and her heart instead of focusing on her body and curves.

Yes – it is a pain to find modest clothing today.  But it is not impossible.   I believe our brothers in Christ are worth the trouble.

OTHER RESOURCES

What Christian Men Think about Modesty

Men, Testosterone and Temptation, Part 1

Men, Testosterone and Temptation, Part 2

My Youtube video about Modesty (15 minutes)

Do Men Really Objectify Scantily Clad Women?

A Wife Sees Some of Her Idols – People Pleasing and Beauty

Why I Wear Skirts Every Day

Avoiding Legalism

 

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