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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Modesty in Dress: My Story

This is borrowed from a dear friend and sister Heather and I wanted to share it. Please keep in mind that neither of us are trying to condemn anyone, but rather to share from different perspectives the decisions in dress we make every day.

"My story begins at the home of a sweet sister in Christ. I arrived at her home in my “normal” summer attire, jean shorts and a matching T-shirt. At the very first glance at me, she pulled me aside and said, “I am glad my husband was not able to be here today to see your family because I would not feel comfortable for him to see you in what you are wearing.” The comment took me back for a moment, but I instantly knew what she was saying. I was inappropriately dressed. However, I was not offended…I was rather embarrassed at the choice that I had made that day.

I had never been accused of being immodest, but I knew instantly what she was saying. We discussed her views of clothing a bit further in the house, and from that moment on, I was changed.

I would never want to knowingly offend a sweet sister in Christ, nor would I want to lure her husband’s eyes away from her beauty. She kindly accepted my apologies, and with it gave me a tape on the Purity of Clothing. As I listened to the tape, I became more and more convicted of how I should be dressing.

Clothing began to have new meaning to me, it became a covering. No longer did I desire to wear “what was in style” but what covered my body appropriately. For we are commanded to wear modest* apparel in 1 Timothy 2: 9 -10 which says: “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.”

*Modest: 1. having or showing a moderate or humble opinion of one’s own value, abilities, etc.; not vain. 2. not forward; shy or reserved. 3. decorous; chaste; decent; now, esp., not displaying one’s body. 4. not extreme or excessive: as a modest request. 5. quiet and humble in appearance, style, etc.

My husband was in agreement with me when I chose to wear dresses only. In fact, covering my figure daily from him has actually made me more attractive to him. I love to dress in beautiful feminine clothing every day and I would encourage all women and young ladies to do so as well.

Some of the main reasons I dress in dresses only, especially in public, is so that I am not a stumbling block to other men. For Scripture says, “Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” Romans 14:13. I am NOT responsible for other husband’s actions, but I am responsible for my own. And if I am knowingly wearing indecent form-fitting clothing that displays my shape, I could cause other women’s husbands to stumble.

It is especially important to wear modest clothing when we are in a place of worship. We don’t go to church to show the congregation the latest trend in clothing, we are not at a fashion show, we are not in the comfort of our own homes, we are there solely to worship our Heavenly Father. I was always taught to wear my “Sunday Best” to church… no, it’s not “scriptural,” but it makes sense. Wearing modest dresses and modest skirts to church naturally “covers” the shape of the body, and in a sense, sets the mood for the worship service. If you are praying, your focus can be on the prayer, not on the person’s backside in front of you. Is this too bold for you?

Consider these questions:

1. Are you a jealous wife? Are you jealous enough to want your husband to be attracted to you and only you?

2. If you answered “Yes” to question one, Are you dressing modestly so as to not attract other women’s husband to your figure?

3. Do you want your sons and daughters to dress immodestly? If you are dressing immodestly, they will follow in your footsteps in most cases.

4. Do you want your teenage daughter’s immodestly attired shape to attract the eyes of grown men?

5. What is the first thing you look at when you see a woman in pants or tight fitting jeans?

6. What is the first thing you look at when you see a woman wearing a tight fitting, low cut top?

7. What would you wear if you had Jesus over for dinner?

These are just a few questions to consider, but they are intended to make you think. Think about how you want to be viewed. I am not judging you if you wear jeans, you must be convicted to wear dresses all the time. But, please, please be mindful of others when you dress for church. Please, please be mindful of others when you go out in public.

I am a jealous wife! I want my husband to think that I am the most beautiful woman on this earth (in his eyes). I don’t want your husband looking at me lustfully, I would hope that you (as a sister in Christ) would do the same for me. If you only do it in public, fine! What you wear in private is YOUR business.

However, your clothing is a testimony of your faith in Christ Jesus. How do you want to be viewed? Are you of this world? Are you going to do everything the world is doing to be accepted? Is that what Christ wants us to do? Prayerfully consider these things. Nobody can change who you are, only God.

Your Friend in Christ,

Heather"

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

I do appreciate this from Heather and yourself. However, I have found that my husband is MORE attracted to women in DRESSES than when they are in pants! Perhaps it is because our femininity is more 'attuned' in them as ladies. For our long union, his ardor and attraction to me has not been influenced (this has been what he's expressed to me) by other's choice of wear; yet, as with most christian men, he is happy I do not dress to 'attract' the attentions of another. Dresses flow and are very lovely. Sounds funny, possibly, but they can be a lure as well! I believe it is the 'modesty' of our hearts and manifest behaviour, coupled with dressing modestly that I adhere to. Mrs. K

runningtothecross said...

Hi Mrs. K,

I really want to understand your position more, so I have a few questions for you. You said, and I quote, "I have found that my husband is MORE attracted to women in DRESSES than when they are in pants!" Does this include ALL women...like Amish and Mennonite women? (I am completely serious here, I am not trying to poke fun...their dresses don't necessarily "flow," are very modest, and yet flattering & modest for any figure. I actually wear Mennonite dresses from time to time.)

You also said, and I quote, "he is happy I do not dress to 'attract' the attentions of another." What exactly do you mean by that, are you referring to tight clothing or dresses? Most of my dresses are lose fitting, come in at the waist, and oftentimes display very little skin as they are floor length; the only thing you really see is my arms.

Also, in Deuteronomy it says,
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." Deuteronomy 22:5 What exactly does this mean if both you and your husband are wearing pants? What clothing "pertaineth" unto a woman?


1 Timothy 2: 9 -10
"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works." What does "modest apparel" mean to you in this scripture?

I am intrigued by you openness and I appreciate the way in which you are presenting your side. I also want you to know that I receive Blair Catalogs regularly, so I know the pants in which you speak of. I have seen very little in the Blair catalog that is what we see in today's trend (low cut, tight fitting...you get the picture). However, I still feel that pants, in general, define the figure (especially the backside) and can attract the attention of men. Your husband may be attracted to women in dresses, but other men are lured away by the figure that "stands out" in pants. In a skirt, you cannot see the shape of ones legs or seat, whereas in a pair of pants you can.

I do have friends & family that wear pants, etc. I have explained my position to them but I still love and accept them as who they are...so, I am not trying to "judge" you...just trying to understand better.

Blessings to you!
In Christ Alone,
Heather

Anonymous said...

Hello Heather (o:, (and the blog author here!): The dresses you speak of are certainly fine. I wasn't bringing up what I did for argument's sake (I'm sure you know that!). However, it is not to say my husband has no self-control; rather, we'd been 'witnessed to' (or rather, I was) by a woman from our church who would be so passionate for women to were DRESSES all the time, and as we were friends with both she and her husband, my husband basically, in a very gentle way, stated that even in modest dress, the woman needs to know her 'character' or way she is in behaviour is just as important. The reason is, for those we have known (not that there've been more than 4 or 5) passionate in wearing dresses only; while claiming grace, the 'air' of judgement on those not convicted to dresses only....seemed to be common. Not wearing cape dresses; but the feeling that mine and other women's spiritual walk was actually deficient because of the lack of wearing pants. In the bible days, both men and women wore long flowing garments (I'm sure you know this); it was what was under them and even HOW they were worn that factored into differentiating men from women. Our friend (the outspoken one we were friends with) even admitted a woman could pose a problem covered head-to-toe if her heart was not right with God. She offered the same 'grace'; however, when I showed up to church in dresses or skirts, she was much warmer towards me and that was unfortunate. My dresses and skirts (and blouses) were always modest. My husband just wanted to make a point that it is 'how' a woman (personality; outward behaviour, etc) wears her clothing that can either a) make it safe (for her hubby and the brothers) or b) cause a problem. Hope I cleared that up for you ;o). With my husband's attractiveness confession to gals in dresses; it wasn't perverse; it was that he'd love to see femininity of 'character' as well. And, being totally honest, a long, even nice-fitting dress is just plain attractive! I don't particularly judge the cape dresses, but I'd just as soon wear a flour sack (forgive me on this one ;o)). I've seen them and understand the heart of the women wearing them; God bless them.

runningtothecross said...

Hi again, Mrs. K.

I have enjoyed this discussion and will have to agree to disagree here (I am sure you will agree to disagree as well). As I have said before, you HAVE to be convicted by God to dress in dresses (& skirts) only.

Modesty of the heart (& behavior) does go along with the outward display of modesty.

And I am not judging you (I hope you know that, it is not my place to judge). I accept you for the person you are...I may not completely understand your view, but I accept you for who you are. (O;

I would still have to lean toward the view that a long full skirt covers me better that a pair of pants (even loose fitting) because my shape is hidden from other's eyes. (I also wear a petticoat so the fabric cannot be seen through.)

My clothing is my covering, so that I can hide my shape from others...like the robes they wore in Biblical times.

Blessings!
Heather

Thirdtimemomma said...

In response to runningtothecross
"Also, in Deuteronomy it says,
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God." Deuteronomy 22:5 What exactly does this mean if both you and your husband are wearing pants? What clothing "pertaineth" unto a woman?"

Isnt it true that in the day "dresses" or "flowing garments" were worn by both sexes? Likewise pants are worn in our day by both sexes. My point is that there are certain garments, a great example would be undergarments, that are extremely gender specific while others say bottoms with two legs that arent. I dont think its about weather or not your bottom attire has one hole or two but rather weather or not you are cross dressing (transvestite) which is rooted in perversion and a dissatisfaction with the way one is created. Which was a problem in theworld around the Isrealites at the time of the decree.

And the 2 Timothy "modest apparel" if one is going to focus on this verse wouldnt one leave their hair unbraided? Not wear gold? Not usually because people know that Paul was dealing with a group of haughty women who looked the same as the whores on the street. It was a call to be in and not o the world.

Its all about context for me. But for my husbands sake, he wishes women would wear choir robes. :)

All this in the spirit of discussion,
Vicki

Amy said...

Although I do not agree with some of your views on marriage, I think you are an awesome person for adopting and fostering children. God bless you!! And now my response to you and others views on submission in marriage: I used to agree with what you and some others on the site are saying about submission (a wife will want to submit to a husband that is loving, a wife chooses to submit..the husband should not demand it, etc etc). I have since realized that it does not make logical sense. I believe that God communicates with woman just as much as he does with men (if he didn't, what would that mean for a single womans relationship with God?). Also, research can proove that men do not have an IQ that is on average higher than a womans. There is no reason that two married people should have to make the man a "leader" in order to make the marriage succesful. I am a woman and I own a business with my brother. We are both equal partners. Neither of us has the "final say". We are both mature adults and are able to respectfuly and rationaly discuss issues and either agree on something, or come to a fair compromise. If my brother and I can do this... a husband and wife should be able to. In fact... if a husband and wife are not able to be in a 50/50 partnership in which they can come to an agreement without one having to be the "head"... they shouldn't be married in the first place. I know this comment may not be approved since I am thinking outside of the chrisitan box. Just remember... God does not live inside the box that many christians think in.

motherofmany said...

Amy,

Great name by the way! God does not live in a box, but He does live in HIs word. In His word, he instructs women to submit to their husbands, and he also says not to take away from His words, so you either have to decide to follow Him or not. Taking some of what He says and leaving the rest will amwek you lukewarm, and that is a dnagerous place to be (Revelations 3:15-16). Christian submission has nothing to do with being unequal.

Blessings!
Amy