1. The quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
2. Regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
3. Simplicity, moderation
Modesty is a widely discussed and debated topic among Christians; especially among women. There are extremes on both sides of the spectrum, and it's our duty to think carefully in regards to how we should dress.
As I was discussing this post, with my mother, and how I should go about writing it, she suggested that I research what the word "modesty" even means! I didn't expect it would be what it was, to say the least.
When Christian women think of modesty, they think of a way of dress that covers one's body in all the places that should remain private. However, it's actually much more than that. Only briefly in the definition of the word is the term "dress" mentioned. What, then, does this mean? How are we to be truly modest?
I believe that modesty is not only a covering of our bodies, but it is also a mindset. Thinking and praying about this post for a while, I have even had a change of heart in what I believe about fashion, as well!
Modest dress should not be shocking or flashy.
1 Timothy 2:9
"Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control."
If we look at the definition of modesty and this verse combined, the word "self-control" really points out what many pass over. As modest women, should strive for, as the dictionary states, simplicity and moderation. Does this mean we can't wear something fun and different and colorful? Absolutely not!
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things."
"How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and edo not seek the glory that comes from fthe only God?
So the key, here, is to examine our hearts. Are we wearing these clothes on our backs to seek attention, or are we wearing them because we truly find them to be pure, lovely, commendable, and excellent?
This is where the extremes come into play. There are many Christian women that believe in only wearing long skirts and long sleeved shirts, and other than this code they do not believe in any sort of care for our outer appearance.
I fully agree with these women in that the inner beauty is far more important. However, these outfits can actually be, in a sense, immodest! When a non-Christian sees one of these women, it draws attention. My mom made an excellent point in saying that when these women go to the beach in their long-sleeved swim suits, they draw far more attention to themselves than a girl in a simple one-piece!
In that sense, dressing in a way so far distant from the culture can in itself be immodest. Now, there's another extreme. A lot of Christians today have so separated themselves from those women that they wear what they like, so long as they don't look cheap and so long as they don't show too much skin. This idea can be acceptable if done correctly, but it's dangerous. A girl could be covering up her body in purple sweatpants, but if they have "Juicy Couture" emblazoned across the behind, that's also a form of immodesty. It draws attention to a part of the body that should not be put on display.
Modesty cannot be a set of laws. Rules such as "skirts can only be so short so that they reach tip of the middle finger" or "shirt straps have to be at least 3/4 in. thickness" really do not get to the heart of the matter. Certainly, covering our bodies is important! But when it becomes distracting to be so entirely covered that we separate from the world a very great distance, it is simply another form of immodesty, and can actually prevent us from bringing our message of the Gospel to the world.
In conclusion, my main points are that we must cover our bodies in a way that prevents others, especially boys, from falling into the trap of temptation. We must do so, however, in a way that does not make us so different from the world that we call attention to ourselves, because that, in and of itself, can be a form of pride. We must strive to ensure that we are dressing in clothing that is lovely and excellent, but that also displays self-control.
I do hope that this post was something that made you think, and I ask that you please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts on the issue. Have a great day!