In this lesson we look at dressing decently with modesty
Dressing with modesty
Is there a girl who does not like to be attractive and dress fashionably? It is not wrong to be attractive. The godly woman of Proverbs 31 dressed well. Sarah was attractive, and so were many other saints in the Bible. In this lesson, we will stress that you do not have to dress indecently to be attractive.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in ___________ apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; 1Timothy 2:9
The word ‘apparel’ comes from a Greek word ‘katastole’, meaning ‘let down’, and refers to a long and flowing garment. Whether you dress in western clothes or Indian ones like a sari, dhaavini, or salwar kameez, the basic rule is the same. Dress modestly, avoiding figure-hugging clothes that leave little to the imagination. You can wear a sari in a decent way and you can wear the same sari indecently.
Modesty differs slightly from culture to culture. In Western countries, where skirts are worn, they must cover the knees. Mini skirts and tight jeans must not be worn. Tops with sleeves are usually nicer than sleeveless ones even in western places.
In India , skirts need to be even longer and sleeveless tops are rarely suitable. The necks of all your clothes must be sufficiently high. When you wear sarees, do not let the latest fashions fool you into wearing skimpy blouses that have hardly any material at the back. The saree is sometimes worn too low, showing off the navel. Today, you can see western clothes being worn in the same way. Princesses need not copy the ways of common people.
You must understand that men (and boys after the age of thirteen and fourteen) are sexually stimulated by what they see. They are different from you in this respect.
Let us look at some of Jesus’ words to men:
- If your ______________ causes you to stumble, pluck it out and throw it from you. It is better for you to enter life with one eye, than to have two eyes and be cast into the fiery hell. Matt 18:9
- But I say unto you, That whosoever ________________ on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. Matt 5: 28
So you see that it is hard for a man to see an immodestly dressed woman and keep his thoughts pure. This does not mean that they have a license to lust just because a girl is not properly dressed. However badly a girl may dress, a Christian man must keep his thoughts pure. I am just pointing out that it is difficult for a man to keep his thoughts pure when a girl who is dressed indecently stands before him.
By the world’s standards, a woman can dress as she pleases, and a man can lust to his heart’s content in his mind. Decency, by the world’s standards does not allow a man to say anything offensive to the girl or touch her. But he can think whatever he likes, he can fantasize in his mind with lust. But our Christian brothers are not permitted to even lust in their hearts after a woman. Theirs is a difficult calling, and you must never make matters more difficult for them.
The Lord Jesus also said: But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to ____________, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Matt 18:6. Make sure that you are not responsible for sinful thoughts passing through the minds of others, for God will ask you to account for your actions that causes another to sin.
We read in the Bible about how various men struggled with this problem of temptation when they saw women who were not dressed properly.
- David sinned when he saw Bathsheba in a state of undress.
- Joseph fled when the wife of Potiphar made sexual advances.
- Job, even before he was tempted, made a contract—a contract with his eyes! Did you know that the Bible says that Job made an agreement with his eyes? I made a ____________ with my eyes, how then should I look lustfully at a young woman? Job 31:1. Job made an agreement to himself that he would not look at women in a way that would make him lust.
It is a struggle for men to be pure in their thoughts. Do not, by careless dressing, make it harder for them.
- Some girls dress immodestly because they are ignorant about how men are visually stimulated. They may truly be ignorant of the fact that their actions may cause others to sin.
- Some girls may dress immodestly because of carelessness. They do not bother if a piece of clothing has become tight for them or if something that they are wearing is torn. Do look in the mirror carefully and critically after you dress up.
Let the Bible set the standard. Tomorrow, nakedness itself may be accepted as it is in some clubs in some countries. Are we going to change our dress sense in keeping with these trends. Rather let the Bible be our standard.
You can dress modestly and still be attractive. The inner beauty of a godly girl shines through powerfully.
(Nahomi Dhinakar; Published in Youth Column of Dhyanamlar January 2007) Click here for other Youth Column articles