I went to a volunteers’ meeting at our local homeless shelter and the volunteer coordinator shared with us that we do have to watch what we wear. Women she said, must not show cleavage and wear short shorts. She was saddened that she actually had to bring that up because some of volunteers in the men’s section did wear just that . . . short shorts and showing much cleavage!
This is a Christian organization and they make it plain in orientation that they are Christ-centered and many of their male recipients are dealing with issues concerning sex and women. The sexes are mostly separated but when there are volunteer shortages, they do ask for the women to help in the cafeteria and it was these women that had worn their short shorts and revealing tops.
What this coordinator didn’t hear from me (yet) but probably already knows is that even in our churches, women are not thinking when it comes to dressing. I attend the largest church in San Diego, the Rock Church, and in some of our ministries the men have complained that they have a hard enough time dealing with way women dress outside of the church let alone IN the church! They come and end up having to deal with the same issues they deal with on a daily basis outside of the church – skimpily/sexily dressed women!
Laid back dress codes in churches = many abusers
The problem with churches that have an easy going dress code as our church does (the reason I sought this type of church coming from a Black Baptist Church background where decked out is the norm) is that for many, they will dress according to the temp outside. Sunny San Diego means less clothes where shorts, t-shirts and flip flops are allowed. Unfortunately, we have to deal with the spiritually immature who have not yet gained the spiritual sensibility to be dressed modestly.
Well, as an “older woman” of the church that’s why I’ve chosen to write this article to let the younger women know to “PUT SOME DANG CLOTHES ON!” Okay, that’s they way I would want to say it before praying about it, but I’ll be a little kinder and say it another way. First I’ll let the scriptures speak:
1 Timothy 2:9-10
in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.
Here’s an explanation about these verses from Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary:
“Women who profess the Christian religion, must be modest in apparel, not affecting gaudiness, gaiety, or costliness. Good works are the best ornament; these are, in the sight of God, of great price. Modesty and neatness are more to be consulted in garments than elegance and fashion. And it would be well if the professors of serious godliness were wholly free from vanity in dress. They should spend more time and money in relieving the sick and distressed, than in decorating themselves and their children. To do this in a manner unsuitable to their rank in life, and their profession of godliness, is sinful.”
Ladies, this is simply saying that being modest is more important to God than us being fashionable. Some of us are so wrapped up into ourselves, that we don’t even give it a second thought of helping those in need. How much money do we really need to dress? Are those $20,000 Gucci bags really necessary? How about the really expensive shoes and top of the line hairstylists? It’s quite fashionable in our day to sport the expensive jewelry, clothes, and purses. Modesty means not being so showy as well as sexy!
Here’s an article from the Council of Biblical Manhood and Womanhood that explains the problem with the hairstyles in the culture of that time: Hairstyle and Roman Culture. Certain hairstyles pointed to imitations of women of questionable character. Some of our hairstyles do likewise – imitations of ungodly stars – and we must be careful of how we’re being associated.
Entertainment/Sports Industry No Excuse!
Christian women who are in the entertainment or sports industry sometimes use that as an excuse to dress scantily and end up looking no different than unsaved women. No Christian woman should be caught living in a manner that will cause anyone to question her love for the Lord. If a woman feels that she can’t dress any other way for that industry – then GET OUT OF IT! A Christian woman must ask herself “is this God’s will or my will?”
Self-Examination/Will others be offended?
Christian women, we must do a quick and thorough self-examination of the way we dress and ask ourselves constantly, “is the way I’m dressing causing others to lust after me?” Of course, there are some who are going to lust no matter how you dress, but if you are modest, at least you can say “I didn’t cause this person to stumble.” What is “stumbling” and should we even care? According to God’s word, we should!
1 Corinthians 8:12-13
But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never again eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.
Just replace food here with “skimpy clothes.” This is about offense as much as it’s about modesty. Food is not a sin, but for some they have a problem with certain types. When my relatives who don’t eat pork are around, we don’t fix them pork even though we know that it’s okay for most to eat. Clothing in itself is not sin, but how you wear it is. Men do have the responsibility of not lusting after that which is not theirs (their wives) but again, we have to give them some help and do our part in dressing decently. The scriptures are very strong in causing a person’s conscious to be bothered.
The Lust Factor
Here’s a scripture to keep in mind about lust (click on “lust” link for scriptures from Proverbs to Revelations):
1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.
The lust of the eyes and flesh – wanting that what is not ours – is very much a sin. This is to show that we should never take too lightly something that God considers very important. To dress in a manner which can cause a man to lust, a woman is just as guilty as the man is! So let’s keep in mind the “lust” factor when we slip our clothes on!
So, what shall we do? Take inventory of our clothing that we KNOW will cause a man to go “um, um, um!”
No short shorts
No cleavage showing tops
No body hugging dresses
No tight shirts
No tight pants if we have big butts (long shirt covering the butt is ok)
Geesh, what do you have left? Believe it or not, there are some nice clothes that can show our outward “beauty” in a modest way. We just have to shop accordingly!
Church Doors Open to All
Should churches be strict in their dress codes? No, the doors to the church should be open to all and we’d rather have someone in church who didn’t know anything at all than not show up. It would be the responsibility of us women in church on Sundays to help the women who come and may not be dressed decently and guide them from that point.
But ladies, the bottom line is where we’re at spiritually. Grow in the Lord, become sensitive to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit, and watch your wardrobe change before your eyes – for the better! You’ll be dressing decently no matter where you go!