For months, probably years, I have been watching blogs on the subject of modesty being posted and re-posted countless times. It’s amazing the feedback these types of subjects elicit! One thing for sure, writing on a subject such as modesty will bring countless strong reactions — both in the positive sense and in the negative sense. Interesting to me that it does bring such a strong reaction — compared to other subjects.
So, why am I jumping on the bandwagon over this discussion? Am I crazy?!!!
To tell you the truth, I have no desire to try to give details or definitions on modesty. Really, that is a personal issue between each individual and God. Before God, I know what I feel is right for me, but I recognize that my personal convictions may be different than someone else’. I accept that.
My purpose in writing about this subject is from a different stand-point. I see how so many people are reacting to those who try to establish some accountability for guys and girls over this subject. Some readers feel that by addressing the girls, it means all responsibility is being placed on the girl’s shoulders for the purity of guys. Some readers feel that purity should all be on the guys — that they just need to guard their eyes more and stop lusting.
I though propose that neither is correct –– not fully that is. No, I am not trying to point fingers or participate in the blame-game. Too much of that happens already.
Rather, I want to address the root issue here. The issue that has always been at the root of pretty much most sins. The root of selfishness and not taking personal responsibility for one’s own actions. The root of pride. This is what leads to the blame-game. This is what leads to dishonoring ourselves and those around us through our attitudes, actions, and thoughts.
The issue of modesty isn’t about definitions, measurements, rules, regulations, etc… It’s about a heart issue. It’s about understanding that I am created with dignity and honor. In light of that, I should treat my body with respect.
It is understanding that others have also been created with just as much dignity and honor so I should treat them with respect by the way I dress around them and by the way I treat them or view them.
It is understanding that with greater honor comes greater responsibility. I am responsible to God for the way I treat myself and others. It means I cannot blame others for problems that involve me. It means that I must take responsibility for my own actions or that which applies to me.
In other words, as a woman, I recognize my value and dress with value. I dress in a way that honors the guys around me and does not intentionally cause them to stumble. This does not mean I am responsible for how they react but for my own “message” that I am creating by the way I dress. Do I dress in a way that honors and shows respect for myself and those who view me?
As a man, this means I am to understand that I am created with honor and dignity and do not need to act like a “dog in heat.” I can guard my eyes and my thoughts. It may be extra challenging these days, but I am accountable for how I respond to temptations that come my way. It means that I must be “man enough” to own up to my own actions, attitudes, and thoughts. It also means that I treat the women around me with respect because of who they have been created to be.
This also means that out of a heart of love and respect, we understand the inherit weaknesses of the opposite gender.
Women want to be loved and seek it, though sometimes in the wrong ways. Their seeking attention, even sexual attention, is often out of a lack of self-worth and from a need to feel “loved.” Though their understanding of the meaning of “love” might be flawed; the motivation stems from a true and good need.
Men are hard-wired visually to be attracted to the opposite gender. Their raw reaction is to then pursue the one they find appealing. Of course, in a loving application of this, it means the guy is attracted to the girl, appropriately pursues her with respect, and then commits himself to her protection, provision, and the nurturing of her.
The weaknesses are demonstrated in a girl being vulnerable to seeking feelings of love and self-worth from the wrong sources. In a guy, they are demonstrated in his ability to find easy sexual gratification through visual stimulation without any commitment to the object(s) of his lust.
Thus, we have today’s moral challenge. How do we act in a way that is honoring of both genders and take responsibility for our own actions while walking in the freedom Christ has given us? In other words, legalism is not the answer here. It’s not about definitions or detailed descriptions of what is modest and what isn’t. It’s about a heart that asks humbly before God, in what areas am I possibly dishonoring myself and that of the opposite gender? It’s taking responsibility for my own actions, attitudes, and thoughts. It is then viewing the opposite gender with honor and with selflessness, recognizing that we each have a responsibility in this issue.
The dilemma of moral purity (modesty) doesn’t lie with one gender. It hinges on both.
The challenge is for both genders to take full responsibility in walking in honor towards themselves and towards each other. The question is, “Will you and I with courage accept the challenge?”