It is no secret that the culture today is pressing onto men and women a certain look— and that look is not one of inner beauty, but it is an appeal to the carnal desires of the world. God made men and women to be appealing to one another to look upon– for obvious reasons. But ever since the fall, there have had to be barriers put into place to protect us from inappropriate desires and to lead to sexual thoughts and sin.
Indeed, for as long as there has been modest clothing, there has been immodest clothing. If we take a chance to look back through history we will find that prostitutes (no, it’s not the world’s oldest profession, since Adam could be considered a farmer or engaged in husbandry even before there was a woman on the face of a planet) were identifiable. Why these women chose to do this is a discussion for another time, my point is that they dressed in a way to advertise what they were selling, and it was clear what they were doing.
Down through the centuries we see that there is always this difference in literature and history. We see women that portrayed chastity, virginity, modesty, etc. and those that did not. But! We also see that, over time, what was considered risqué has steadily seeped into the chaste woman’s wardrobe. I don’t think that we could place a finger on when it happened or the first instance of this cross over, but I’m certain that as long as there has been lacy frilly under things there has been a certain desire to appeal to the baser desires of the opposite sex– which is all fine and good when it comes to husband and wife, but wrong when used otherwise.
I’m certain that as Sodom and Gomorrah moved down the path to the sinful, sexual corruption that lead up to its destruction, we would see that path paved with a blurring of the lines between acceptable and unacceptable fashion. Why? Because fashion affects the mind and influences it. In the case of America, we are also blurring these lines as we celebrate more and more skin being displayed.
What is a woman advertising or drawing attention to when she wears a shirt that exposes her midrift? She’s drawing attention to my curves, and attention to her womanly features. What’s the problem here? Nothing, if you’re trying to say “I have the morals of an alley cat!” or “Guys! Look here! Don’t I look nice?” I am told that a man’s attention is like a powerful narcotic, and that is part of the reason for the explosion of exhibitionism on the web and in the mall.
You see, we are now constantly focused on exposing the previously unexposed. We’re drawing attention to things that used to be personal. We’re removing the surprise and mystery out of things that used to be saved for spouses, and instead broadcasting them from the mountaintops.
The funny thing is, in our culture’s effort to forge new frontiers of shock, we have resulted in showing off things that used to be mocked! For example– the belly that hangs out. I’ve seen a lot of this and it’s just disgusting, even though it’s “the style.” It is now the style to wear clothing that doesn’t fit. Before people would have made fun of a person for not having clothes that fit, now it’s cool. And it draws attention to ones midsection like the midriff baring shirts– but it doesn’t show the belly button. That has to make it better right? Pair this with a tight pair of jeans, and there’s little left to the imagination.
It’s interesting that in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus chose to emphasize and intensify two sins. In choosing the two He did he got to the heart of sins that people may not have been practicing on the outside, but had been poisoning their hearts on the inside. In the case of adultery, Jesus told those present that it wasn’t enough to just not commit adultery, but if a man looked upon a woman to lust on her, then he was committing sin.
Any Christian woman can guess the next step. That short skirt and plunging neckline should be avoided at the very least because it may cause a brother to stumble. I’ve tried to be very careful with this post and the images used to depict my points, but even then I wonder if I may have ventured too far. The net can be a dangerous place simply because people– both men and women– have allowed pictures to be taken (and things to be worn) that cross the line, but they excuse it in the name of fashion.
It’s gotten to the point that we need to have serious discussions about not only how we dress and how we let our children dress, but the effect of how others dress at the beach or in the mall on us and our children. There may come a time where we have to avoid certain places because of what they display. That time may be sooner than we think.
Keep in mind, with all of this, that I’m not saying that a woman should not wear makeup. I’m not saying that she shouldn’t look her best. I’m even not saying that a woman shouldn’t dress to wow her husband or that some of these things may not be appropriate in his presence. What I am saying is that people should be defined by their insides, not by what they wear. We should all stop and ask ourselves these questions:
- What am I selling by wearing this?
- Who am I selling it to?
- Does what I wear glorify God?
- Can I cause a brother/sister to stumble by wearing this?