Isn't Modesty the Guy's Problem?
When I was a young woman, I often dressed immodestly. I wasn't driven by a desire to draw attention to myself. In my case, my clothes were immodest because I was clueless.
Throughout high school and college I didn't understand that being modest meant more than covering up your belly button. More importantly, I didn't understand why modesty mattered because I didn't have a firm grasp of how my immodest clothing was impacting my Christian brothers.
If you're a little like me—you don't understand why modesty matters, you don't know for sure if your clothing is modest or not, and you don't fully grasp why what you wear matters to the guys your around—consider this a wake-up call. After reading this post, you will have to face the fact that what you wear matters and that immodesty is truly everyone's problem.
Sometimes when I speak or write about modesty, girls feed me this line: "I can't help it if a guy pays attention to me or my body. If my clothes make him stumble, that's his problem, not mine." If only it were that easy. The reality is God has connected us to our Christian brothers through the body of Christ. In His Word He makes it very clear that if you are doing something that trips up the people around you, you are in the wrong and the responsibility for their struggle rests on your shoulders.
In Romans, Paul offers important advice about how we should relate to each other. He was specifically writing to address the topic of food, but the principles certainly apply to modesty. To help you apply the meat of these passages, I have replaced references to food with references to fashion. Pay close attention to Paul's words. Ask yourself what these passages reveal about why modesty matters so much.
"Make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you [wear], you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your [clothing] destroy someone for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of [what you wear], but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
"Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of [fashion]. All [clothing] is clean, but it is wrong for a person to [wear] anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to [dress to impress others] or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall" (Rom. 14:13–21).
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