Reflections On: The Beauty of Modesty
What is Modesty?
“Modesty is dressing, acting, or speaking with propriety, respect, and moderation. Three words are important: propriety, which suggests regard for divine or social norms; respect, which means regard for others and one’s own conscience; and moderation, which is control for one’s disposition and habits.
On the contrary, what is immodesty? Immodesty can be defined as apparel, action, or speech which is ostentatious, vain, provocative or sensual; which thereby reveals a carnal, worldly or unsanctified heart.”
This explanation of what modesty and immodesty is, helped me to better understand that it’s more than clothes it’s how you act, dress, and speak to those around you. The Lord knows that although I was stuck in uniforms for 3 years, they were not stopping me from being immodest in how I acted, what I said, and how I said it.
“Modesty is a matter of the heart; it has to do with more than just clothes. External modesty or immodesty is a reflection of the inner disposition. A good question to ask yourself is: would someone be able to tell I’m a Christian by how I dress? What does my wardrobe say about my worldview? What is the message of my image? Or, is Christ Lord of my closet? The woman who “professes godliness”- that is, “devotion to God,” which is the heart attitude – is to act and dress in a manner that corresponds to her profession.”
Before I was saved, I didn’t fully understand the purpose of dressing modestly. I don’t even think I knew what the word meant. My thoughts were; I should be able to dress like I don’t know Christ and still be called a Christian. Now that I have Christ in my life I know that how I dress is like a first impression. I cannot try to explain to someone else why modesty is important if my jeans are so tight that you can see the dime in my back pocket. That’s hypocritical right? Just recently I have realized that: If you are running around in “skinny jeans” and shirts that leave nothing to the imagination then what makes you any different than girls out there in the world?
“Thus the alarming thing about immodesty in the church is what it reveals about the spiritual condition of so many Christian women. Judging by apparel alone, you would have to conclude that far too many women who “profess godliness” are, in fact, worldly at heart.”
On Saturday nights my mother, my sister, and I pick out what we are going to wear to church. We all show my father what we want to wear. Being that he is a man, he knows what articles of clothing can be a stumbling block for men and what are appropriate. With that in mind we present our outfits to him ready to hear what he may have to say. Don’t feel like you don’t need your husband or father’s approval of what you wear before you leave the house. Many don’t realize that if fathers would put their foot down on what their daughters wear we wouldn’t see half of the mini skirts and short shorts we see now. With that being said that brings us to the importance of modesty and the family.
Modesty and the Family
“The Home is the child’s most important moral influence.”
I am currently homeschooled and there are so many reasons why I am glad I am. One of those reasons is that I don’t have the influences of immature peers who don’t have my best interest at heart, and the peer pressure that adds to the weight of making bad decisions. However, now that I am at home, my parents build our education around Christ, and I know for a fact that they have my best interest at heart.
You may be wondering what schooling has to do with modesty. If you teach your children or future children on the solid Word of God you are bound to come across Scriptures such as
“…likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.”(1 Timothy 2:9-10 ESV)
“Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— 4 but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.” (1 Peter 3:3-4)
and then modesty becomes a spiritual, moral and practical life lesson.
Children are born sinners, they are not inherently good. Therefore they have to be trained to exhibit modesty. Children learn best by emulating what they see and hear their parents do.
No matter what you do or what you will do (for future parents) your children will be watching and they will imitate you. They can either imitate good habits and behaviors or bad habits and behaviors.
I know that for as long as I can remember my mother has almost always dressed modestly. Although my mother and I disagree on certain styles and fashions we both have the same mindset on modesty.
If you are a mom and you dress, act and speak modestly then most likely your daughters will do the same. If you have sons then most likely they look to you as a standard of beauty and what they should expect a wife to look like. So as a result, they will seek out a wife who resembles your style of dress and demeanor.
“In effect, the parents must monitor EVERYTHING (emphasis added) that their children view, read, or hear. This includes: TV, movies, videos, magazines, books, and the Internet. Any of these may potentially be a channel for impurity, like a serpent, to creep into the home.”
These very important things to monitor but, being a teenager myself, I feel that there are a few more things we can add to the list in the year of 2012. Such as: iPods, cell phones, and ALL social network accounts. In this day and age kids have access to almost everything so keep your eyes open OR make it easier for yourself and eliminate all potential outlets for your children to sin through the freedom of technology. My message to kids/teens is this; if Jesus asked to see your cell phone or iPod would you hesitate to give it to Him? If He asked for your Facebook or Twitter password would you freely give it to Him?
What does this have to do with modesty? Remember how modesty is more than clothes? If you post an inappropriate comment or picture on Facebook/Twitter, that would be considered immodest. Your actions, clothes and words are to be pleasing in the sight of the Lord; if not then your actions, clothes, and words would be classified as immodest. If you call yourself a Christian you are to be holy. “You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”(Leviticus 20:26 ESV)
Influences are very important; my elementary and middle school years, unfortunately, had a big role in making me who I am. Modesty can be applied to this area of your life also. If Amy is constantly hanging out with Jamie who dresses like she’s heading to the club, acts seductively towards men and says things that are not G-rated, how long will it be before Amy’s dressing, acting, and speaking the same way? Although during middle school I had to wear uniforms I made a way to fit in. If my skirt was too long then I made it short. If flirting with guys was cool I did it to. If using curse words was popular I did it to. Do you understand what I’m saying? Here it is again: “You shall be holy to me, for I the LORD am holy and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be mine.”(Leviticus 20:26 ESV) He separates us meaning we should be D-I-F-F-E-R-E-N-T!!! To all adults and especially teens in public schools, be different. You should not look like the world and then try to label yourself as a Christian. That’s hypocrisy! “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2) I was a hypocrite and a false convert when I was in school. Don’t make the same mistake because God is GOD he knows all, sees all, and hears all.
“I the LORD search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.”
(Jeremiah 17:10 ESV)
“By blending both love and authority, a godly father provides his child proper self esteem and also respect for others. A daughter who feels truly loved by her father will not need to disrobe for male attention. Moreover, our young men will be taught to honor others. As they are taught to honor virtue and modesty, they will also honor and respect women and not view them as sexual objects to be used, abused and discarded.”
Modesty is not just an issue for women only; it should be important to men and women, boys and girls. If fathers take a stand and fulfill the role they were called by God to do, girls wouldn’t dress in ways to attract men for the wrong reasons. When girls dress immodest they get immodest attention. When they get immodest attention, we get babies out of wedlock, abortions and fatherlessness and other sinful situations. Then the cycle begins all over again. Modesty is an issue of the family. Like most issues it starts at home. Having a healthy and loving relationship with your father is essential for girls and boys of all ages. I am assured of my fathers love. Therefore I feel no need to seek out male attention because it’s lacking at home.
“Most important, the child’s relationship to the father is the bridge for truth to travel from the father’s heart to the child’s. If he would teach his child virtue, then he must make his instruction palatable by being personal.”
All quotes taken from “The Beauty of Modesty,” by David and Diane Vaughan.
You have just read part one of a three part series called “Reflections On: The Beauty of Modesty.”
Series written by: Mekenna Earley 15 yrs old.
Coming soon: Part 2: Modesty and Women and Part 3: Modesty in the Church.