A preaching friend of mine told me a true story about a little boy, and it was a story that stuck with me. He was saying that this young man–probably 5 or 6 years of age–was visiting someone else’s house and they were watching TV.
They noticed that the little boy would look down every once in awhile. He wasn’t playing on a phone or tablet. He didn’t have a book in his hands. He just looked down every so often.
Finally, they asked this little boy why he kept looking down and the young boy’s response shamed and woke up his friend’s family.
He pointed at the television and said, “She’s not dressed enough and momma always taught me to look away when a girl wasn’t dressed right so I wouldn’t embarrass her.”
We live in a society that is immodest to its core. You don’t even have to see clothes on people; just walk through the stores and notice what fashions are for sale these days. Mothers tell me all the time how difficult it is to find modest clothes for teen and preteen girls.
When the bikini was introduced, it was so scandalous that no fashion model would wear it. A local stripper had to be hired to model it in a fashion show. Now? Christian girls post pictures of themselves on social media proudly wearing their bikini.
There was a time when shorts were considered inappropriate at nearly all times. Now? Many stores are selling shorts that are so short that the pockets (the inside lining) actually is longer than the denim (or other material) that makes up the legs.
Messaging on clothes for even little girls has gone from pictures of a horse or something about being sweet to messages about how “hot” I am or even how “sexy.” And these are clothes for 8, 9, and 10-year old girls.
Many Christian men now struggle to attend high school football games (or other sports), or to sit in certain seats, because the cheerleading, dance team, and baton twirling outfits have become so indecently short and revealing they know they do not need to see them. And when we see pictures of older cheerleading outfits, what does our society do? We laugh at how “modest” and “outdated” they were.
And it’s not just the ladies. Men used to take care of their bodies but cover them in public. Now, men take selfies without shirts on or with very tight and short shirts to show off their sculpted bodies, and they plaster the pictures all over social media.
I just wonder how often Christians are being like that little boy, and looking away.
We have too many people who are just swimming in the culture and acting like it is no big deal. We have many others who even join in, adding pictures of their uncovered skin to social media or sending pictures in texts. We have tons of people who decide to be modest at home, but who go to the beach, amusement park, water park, or lake and shed more and more clothing in front of anyone who happens to be there.
And when we do, something dies.
What is it? Respect.
A little bit of respect for God dies. He created our bodies not to be flaunted and used to our own glory and pride, but in use to His glory.
A little bit of respect for our spouse (or future spouse) dies. Each time I allow someone else to “drink in” more of my body, I am taking away something that is very special to my spouse, or I am taking away something special from the one I am saving myself for in a future marriage.
A little bit of respect for children dies. When I show off more and more of myself in a sexualized way, I am teaching children that this is how to get attention and that it’s all okay. I’m making them think–at younger and younger ages–that your body and sexuality is all that really matters.
A little bit of respect for culture and society dies. With each small movement toward immodesty, our culture becomes more indecent, undermining the very fabric of civilization.
A little bit of respect for myself dies. While I may tell the world, “I’ve got it, so I flaunt it,” I know, deep down, that I am more than just a body. Still, I suppress that part of my thinking and just go on, plunging deeper into the world’s narrative and removing myself from honoring my soul.
I’m not trying to give a list of “how short” or “how tight” or “how little fabric.” Folks, we know. We know the first time we pick something up off the rack or the shelf and something inside of us asks, “Is this appropriate?” We know the first time we put something on and it’s a little tighter than we might like. And, we know when a child looks away like that little boy.
I never want to be the reason why anyone has to look away. I never want anyone in my family to be that reason, either.
And I never want any Christian to be that reason. So, for the sake not just of one little boy, but for the sake of God, our spouse, children, society, and ourselves, let’s clothe ourselves modestly, forgetting the ways of the world, and thinking as people who bear the image of God in our souls.
“You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
(1 Corinthians 6:19b-20)
AUTHOR: Adam Faughn