“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Matthew 5:27-28 (NKJV)
“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” James 1:14-15 (NKJV)
A little over two months ago, my director at work sent an e-mail to our department reminding us that we were to dress professionally and appropriately at all times. It seems members of my department had gotten a bit lax in their attire, wearing clothing that did not represent the hospital well.
Fast forward to last week as we were driving into the parking lot at church. As we pulled in, we saw a young couple–mid-twenties I would suppose–walking hand in hand towards the front door. The young woman was dressed in spike heels and a very short skirt in which you could ascertain she was wearing rather “racy” underwear. It was my daughter who first commented about this attire and its inappropriateness for a Sunday morning, but my husband also noticed, making a similar statement.
Now, Hannah and I have had multiple conversations regarding proper attire for young ladies. She was brought up to wear modest clothing, as were her friends, so this is not an issue that I have ever had to discipline her about. I am well aware that within the Christian community there is often wide disagreement over what is considered sufficiently modest attire. I don’t intend to get too specific here, but I do want to address something that continually bothers me in the church at large:
Why aren’t we teaching women, at home and at church, what is an appropriate way to dress in order to honor Jesus Christ?
I know that you see this in your church as I do every Sunday: women and girls wearing clothing that is too low, too tight, too short, too revealing. Six inch spike heels that were once the domain of “street walkers” are now considered fashionable. We dress our little girls in clothing that, on an adult, would be considered enticing.
What are we thinking?
Are we thinking at all?
There is only one reason to dress this way. It is to secure the attention of men, and secure their attention sexually. Men are visual creatures and highly susceptible to what they see. God made them that way. So, I would ask you, if you are dressing this way, what is it you hope to accomplish? Do you know that what you are telling a man is that you believe this is the most important aspect of yourself you have to offer? Are you drawing the type of man you hope to attract? And when you get his attention, how will you keep him if this is what he desires most out of a relationship?
We live in a highly sexualized culture. There is no getting around that. The temptations for men and women are everywhere. Those temptations should not also be in the church. We shouldn’t be “trolling” every Sunday morning. We are there to lift the name of Jesus Christ in worship. We are there to grow spiritually; to mature in our relationship with Christ. How can a man do this if he is constantly (or worse yet, not even bothering) fighting the visual temptation that is all around him?
You don’t have to go very far to read about the latest example of sexual sin in the church. It is rampant. Not only do we have pastors engaging in behavior that is definitely not Christ-like, but there are committed Christian couples engaging in a physical relationship, and some even openly living together, before marriage. Why do we no longer consider this to be sin in our churches? Is it because we don’t want anyone messing with our “fun?”
Women have to set the example, otherwise, men will have a (reasonable) expectation that what we are “advertising” is also “for sale.” We shouldn’t then be surprised when they try to “buy” it.
It is time to draw a line in the sand.
Copyright © 2012 by Susan E. Johnson
All rights reserved
Excellant blog with related material on this subject by Linda Liebert: Heart to Heart Talks