You have heard that it was said, “You shall not commit adultery”, but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in this heart (Matthew 5:27,28).
In this final week of “women’s month” I feel the need to say something that is on my heart. It is all too easy for us to rail at the men for their concupiscence. Yes, we expect men to keep control of themselves and not harm women. But what part might women be playing in the loose moral attitudes of our day? I believe that we women have an obligation to dress modestly.
I make my appeal for modest dress for three reasons.
First, the Lord Jesus Christ made strong, serious statements about lust. He told men that just even thinking about women in a lustful way was the same as adultery, a crime that was punishable by death in those days. A popular saying today is, “Just because I am on a diet doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu.” Sorry, but men don’t get to look at the menu. Jesus didn’t stare at the menu. And women, we need to stop presenting a “menu” that is going to get men in trouble.
The corollary to what Jesus said is, “And every woman that entices a man by the way she is dressed is guilty of adultery also.” So, if you go out of the house with a revealing blouse on and five guys commit mental adultery with you, you have committed adultery five times that day.
Think about it. Adultery is not an act that is done alone. It is a sin between two people. You are the other half of that sin if you do not dress modestly.
Secondly, I believe that the extreme feminists of our day use the way they dress to make a statement. I’m talking about non-Christians who wouldn’t care what Jesus had to say about anything. It is a subtle form of power for some women to dress in an alluring way and then tell men “hands off.” She can control the guy’s eyes and his mind and feel the pleasure of his attention. Never a thought is given to the fact that he may be married and now he is committing adultery, betraying his wife. That doesn’t matter to the woman who wants to be in control.
It used to be true that if a man violated a woman and it came out that she was dressed like a streetwalker, the judge at the trial would have some sympathy for the man. Now, of course, men should not harm women no matter how they are dressed. There is such a thing as running the other way! (“Resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7)).
But we have swung the pendulum completely to the opposite extreme where men are always guilty and women have no guilt whatsoever. That is how a godless society acts; not a Christian society. “You adulteresses, do you not know that friendship with the world is hostility toward God?” (James 4:4a). Ladies, don’t follow the world’s pattern in how you dress if it is not modest. You will actually be playing into the hands of those who want to control you. Think for yourself. Don’t play by their rules; or you make yourself “an enemy of God” (James 4:4b).
Well, some say, there have been times in history when showing your “décolletage” was the style. It’s ok if everybody dresses like that. First of all, not everybody dressed like that; it was only the style among the decadent rich. Secondly, even if “everyone else is doing it”, that will not be a good enough excuse when you must face God with your behavior. No matter what your situation is, as a woman you are called to model femininity in your modest dress, respect for others, and gentle spirit. We are called to think about others and that includes those weak men out there. Yes, they are to have self-control, but why would you deliberately put temptation in front of them? Would Jesus be happy with your selfish behavior?
Why does anyone think she has the “right” to dress however she wants? Much of the push for this comes from the pro-abortion group. After all, they are all about “controlling their own bodies”. This includes what they wear on those bodies. For some of these women it is about sexual license with no consequences. For others, the open blouses are the symbol of women’s freedom.
You need only look at what happened during the French Revolution and in Hitler’s Germany to see this. At their biggest celebrations women went topless. The French paraded around their new goddess on the shoulders of a rebellious group. They went to a cathedral and proceeded to desecrate that holy place with a huge orgy.
In more recent times, in Germany there exists today some video footage of one of the Nazi parades featuring topless women riding around on the floats. How did these women get talked into this godless behavior? They believed that this was an ultimate expression of their freedom. But what does God say about it? Is it freedom, or is it license?
Thirdly, ladies we have every reason to dress modestly, if for nothing else to show the world that we are different. Do you desire to be a good witness for Christ? Show it in how you dress. If you dress modestly, your demeanor will follow. People will respect you. People do not respect hypocrites.
We often debate about the difference between preaching the Gospel and “lifestyle” evangelism. Both are important. You will get a chance to tell about Jesus and you will have more credibility if you are dressed modestly.
How do we know what is modest? I tell my daughters to imagine Jesus in the room. Would He blush at what you are wearing right now?
The problem is everywhere even in our churches. Please read a pamphlet entitled “Modesty Matters”, put out by Family Research Council. It is to our shame that Jesus would be embarrassed in some of our churches. We must get back to remembering that men and women are made in the image of God. We must respect that. Men should not do anything to harm a woman – an image-bearer of God. Likewise, women should remember that men – also image-bearers of God, are tempted through their eyes and do nothing that would cause them to sin. It is a problem that both men and women must work on.
Ladies, let’s do our part.