Yes, it is that time of the year again. It is getting warmer outside. The flowers have been in full bloom for some time and I have heard that some have already began kicking on their air conditioners a couple of times this year already. One thing that always happens as the temperatures rise is the amount of skin seen also rises. For instance, this past Monday as I returning from a quick errand (I had to pick up Ms. Piggy, the children’s guinea pig), I was driving by the college and noticed several co-eds that were wearing shorter shirts and shorts than they had when I last drove by the college. One particular coed had me puzzled. She was wearing clothing that clearly looked a size or two too small. She was revealing way too much leg as her shorts would have barely covered her unmentionables. As I drove by I also noticed that she was tugging her shirt back down because it kept creeping up and exposing her lower back.. I was puzzled because hear was a young woman that realized that certain things ought not be exposed (her lower back). All the while he shirt was so tight and low cut and her shorts were so short and tight that I have seen swim suits at Wal-mart with more coverage. Brethren, I know that the topic of modesty tends to upset some because many are convinced that the bible does not give a direct explanation for what is modest and what is not modest. That is, nowhere in the scriptures does it say, “Thou shall not wear shorts that do not touch the knee” or “Thou shall not wear shirts that expose thy midriff.” I understand that completely. Those that make such claims are accurate. They do not. However, the bible does give some guidelines for proper apparel. Proper study of the scriptures will not only reveal them for what they are, but they also provide for us a proper attitude towards our apparel that is necessary as well.
Paul wrote in I Tim. 2:9-10 that there is indeed a dress code. “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becomes women professing godliness) with good works (ITim 2:9-10).” The word modest here literally means “orderly or well arranged.” While it can seem to mean arranged in such a way to cover that which should not be exposed, the context does not seem to imply this. It seems to imply that a woman’s dress ought to be according to God’s order, as opposed to man’s. This would mean that we do not have the right to judge our level of modesty according to the standard the world uses. That is, just because the world walks around with less clothing on that you does not necessarily mean that you are modest. For instance, if the world saw nothing wrong with walking around nude and you had an a bathing suit, that does not mean that you have put on modest apparel. But what is God’s standard? It is of interesting note that in Ex. 28:42 that covering a person’s thighs was synonymous with covering their nakedness. Furthermore, when Adam and Eve has sinned they made for themselves loin coverings because they knew that they were naked, but they continued to hide themselves because they thought that they were still naked. A loin cloth covers about as much as most bathing suits cover today. God then made for them coats of animal skins. The Hebrew term used was used to describe a garment that covered the chest, the mid-section, and the thighs. (Think of an old fashioned sack dress). It seems to me God gave the exact outfit that was needed to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve. If it was good enough for them, it ought to be good enough for the Christian living in the 21st century.
Now, Paul also mentioned that a person ought to be dressed with a since of shamefacedness. To dress with shamefacedness is to dress with bashfulness. I recall one year at Florida College that there was a young lady there that provided the perfect example for the difference between modest apparel and dressing with shamefacedness. At a Friends concert, she was a singer for the Florida College Friends group, each of the female singers wore matching gowns. They were really nice dresses. They were long, elegant and covered more than the sack dress I discussed earlier. However, on this one particular young lady it was form fitting. In fact, even though everything was covered, it still left little to the imagination. She should have said, “I would be embarrassed to wear this in public. Instead,. Many in the audience were embarrassed to see her wear it as we blushed.
To dress with sobriety is to dress with soundness of mind. This too is something that is lacking in today’s society. Too many have claimed that it is not my fault if someone lusts after me. While no one will be held accountable for another’s sins; “The soul that sins, it shall die (Eze. 18:20),” that does not mean that a person that lays the stumbling block will not be held accountable for their sin. “Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother (Rom. 14:13).” You need to be aware of what your clothes may cause another to do. If you are unsure of how others might react to your apparel ask your father or ask your husband. Chances are, they know more about the male libido than you do. If they think it is questionable, wear something else. -WTK
Grinnell church of Christ
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Volume 3 Issue 24 May 13, 2012