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Modesty: A Dude’s Perspective

July 12th 2013 No comments yet  


Step into my personal time machine for a moment, back to a simpler time when I was a fifth grade regular at this church instead of being employed here. On one of the rare occasions my Sunday school teachers were able to corral and silence us, I distinctly remember a specific lesson. It was the dreaded “end of the school year purity talk” that I would become very familiar with by the time I was done with junior high, and my fifth grade leaders were nice enough to give us a preview of how awkward those years would be.

“Girls,” the lady leader said, “As you grow and change, you need to dress modestly so that you don’t cause your Christian brothers to stumble.”

Being young and not well-versed in “Christian speak” yet, I had no idea what this woman was saying. Dress modestly? Did she think these girls weren’t dressed well or something? And even so, why would I care what a girl wears? I’ve got way too much on my plate Pokémon-wise to worry about women’s trends and my classmates’ apparently poor outfit choices.

Walking into the youth group in sixth grade, I saw one of my female friends for the first time in a while, and it hit me like a bag of bricks. “Oh hey Hannah……….OH.”

I’m betting my story isn’t too different from a lot of guys. People in church try to prepare boys for it, but you just can’t. Your hormones hit you like a J.J. Watt blindside while church and culture simultaneously put a bullhorn on each ear to scream how you should feel about how girls look. We don’t know what to think, and it only gets worse.

The most frustrating aspect as we get older is, come to find out, it’s perfectly natural for us to appreciate how you’re put together. We should just refrain from it. Girls, that’s like someone telling you, “Sure you can watch the Bachelorette finale on this 90 inch television. Just don’t.” Then imagine they covered the television, but every once in a while, they would only cover 75 percent of it. Or they took it to the beach and only covered 30 percent of it. Meanwhile, you have to sit there and pretend like Desiree isn’t about to give the rose to the wrong guy right in front of your face. This is what it’s like for men to deal with lust, only it’s much more difficult than a partly covered television with an awful reality show on it.

1 Corinthians 6:18 states “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” I find this verse interesting for two reasons. First, because I’ve always wanted to scream bloody murder while I sprinted away from an inappropriately dressed woman in church and later claim it as a biblical command.

The other reason it intrigues me is because when a man looks at a woman inappropriately, I’ve always just assumed it was more of a sin against the woman. While it may be from a standpoint of being disrespectful, the perpetrator of the sin is harming himself more than anyone. Not only is it a seemingly impossible task, but every time you fail you’re only hurting yourself. Encouraging.

I don’t write this to suggest women should take up wearing shapeless burlap sacks in an effort to keep us men pure because we will undoubtedly start thinking to ourselves “Man, she can really pull off that burlap” at some point. I think I’m only half kidding.

No, I write this as a plea for understanding and a plea for help. Ladies, we are fighting a battle with our eyes every waking second of the day. It is hard to resist, it is extremely frustrating, and we fail often. There won’t be a day when every woman is dressed to protect Christian men, but your effort to do so means more than you realize.


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