My husband and I are glad that the church is finally talking about the problem of pornography and purity in the Body of Christ, and helping men address this issue. But why do we never hear about purity for women in the way they dress? I’m talking about women who profess to be Christ-followers. They become a stumbling block to their brothers when they dress seductively or dress to be sexy as the world has deemed fashionable. Please address the issue of modesty.
That is a great question, and it’s very problematic. When I was a youth pastor, many years ago, we had a problem with swimsuits — a problem that is much worse today for church youth groups because of the change in fashions. The way girls wore their two-piece swimsuits, and even many one-pieces, showed so much. You have young men on a church retreat who are looking at these girls—their sisters in Christ—and thinking what young men think and being led into temptation.
I’m not justifying the way men think. It is a problem, but it is also true—as the person indicates who asks this question—that there’s a responsibility here for girls, and certainly for their dads and moms, to seriously consider this.
As for the part of the question asking why this is not being addressed like it should be in churches, I believe the answer is fear.
I think there are many pastors and church leaders, who, like many husbands and fathers, are afraid to speak up for fear of offending women who are fashion-conscious. Some women think that to be fashionable, they have to wear outfits that are sexy—including the split skirts, the very tight skirts and pants, and low-cut tops.
It’s a difficult topic, but it’s an issue which I believe male leaders of the home and church need to courageously and directly address.
We also need godly women (especially godly women who can be fashionable and attractive in the right sense of attractive—not sexually attractive) who will lovingly challenge other women and let them know they are sending a wrong message. We need open, clear discussions so women can become aware and understand the issue.
As I share in my book The Purity Principle, parents need to screen their children’s clothing. Men are responsible to help their wives and daughters understand why this is so important. Women, please believe us—when we say a prom dress, shorts, top or swimsuit is inappropriate, we know exactly what we’re talking about.
When my daughter Karina addressed this topic several years ago, she wrote:
Modesty is not… just an issue for young women, although that is a time when women often develop their habits and lifestyles. Unfortunately, there are so many moms and even grandmas who don’t seem to have a grasp on the issue. The sad thing is that according to Titus 2:3-5, one of the things the older women are to teach the younger women is how to be pure (or chaste) so that the word of God will not be blasphemed. And 1 Peter 3:3-5 reminds us that as women our beauty should not come from outward adornment, but rather of character that is honoring to God. This doesn’t mean that we should be sloppy and not take care of our appearance, but that our appearance should not be our primary attractive quality.
The Bible says our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. That compels us to honor God in all we do and say. I do believe modesty is something which families need to take a very close, careful, prayerful look at. We need to not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
For parents looking for resources, Nancy Leigh DeMoss has excellent material on modesty and purity. She has a wonderful booklet titled The Look: Does God Really Care What I Wear? as well as several resources about the freedom of modesty at her ministry’s website. Also check out this article from Mary Kassian.
Randy Alcorn, Eternal Perspective Ministries