Selective Modesty

by Richard Mansel, managing editor
teengirls2.jpgNothing matters more to Sheila than catching Jerry’s eye. She spends hours before her mirror designing the perfect outfit. One that is skimpier than she wears to worship, but designed to show what she has.
Sheila feels awkward, dressed as she is, but she remembers her priorities and pushes her hesitancy out the window. The plunging neckline and short skirts will attract Jerry’s attentions, she is certain.
As she walks down the street to the gym, where Jerry awaits, boys notice Sheila and whistle at her. She yells at them and calls them pigs. She instead turns her mind back to luring Jerry into her web.
The irony escapes her.
Women need to avoid the trap that Satan lays for them. The world tells them that allure transcends character and propriety. Satan says that sexy matters more than substance and the flashy walk trumps faith. Standing against this tide may find you alone and useless, they say.
Women walk a fine and lonely line in this world. Yet, Christ walks with them all the way, as do her sisters in Christ (Hebrews 13:5; Ephesians 2:19). Women of God must possess the courage and vigor of the champions of faith. They must cling to one another for strength.
They must also possess wisdom and clarity. Situational ethics must not enter their minds. Realism must be their lens and righteousness, their landscape.
Situational modesty says that a woman can dictate the situation and control the eyes and minds of the male population./1 When she is on the prowl, only the person she wishes to snare can see her as sexy. All other eyes must close.
It says that she can wear barely any clothes when she goes to McDonalds on a late night run and since she has no intent to be sexy, no man should see her in that way. Her body can be uncovered at a beach, but since she is only there to swim, all men must ignore her, except for the handsome guys who are available.
Men must realize her intentions and see her as she desires, just because she says so. A man goes to a bank, withdraws $50,000 and goes to fast food restaurant. He goes to the table in the middle of the crowded room, loudly pours the money out on the table and counts it. However, no one else may lust after that money, because it isn’t theirs.
Hannah Colley has written about this mindset. She discusses how men do not see the issue of situation modesty as women do. All they see is the woman and her visual impact. Hormones do not care.
Hannah writes:

“To us, as women, there may be an enormous difference between exposing lots of skin at a public beach and exposing it at a church event. But try asking a guy this question: “Is the physical or psychological response different, say at a ball game or at the beach than in Sunday school?” They might laugh at you. For guys, attraction to the female body is a physical response; something God gave them to increase the pleasure of a marital relationship. To them, your location or circumstance has little to do with it. They don’t have a switch they can flip whenever they’re going to the beach or to a ball game where cheerleaders are present.” /2

Situational modesty is as silly and deceptive as situational ethics./3 God watches all the time and our Christian walk never takes a day off (Psalm 139:7-12; Ephesians 4:1). Since truth never changes, modesty does not, either, Satan is always at work and men are always watching and their souls matter, too.

6 thoughts on “Selective Modesty

  1. Richard, I agree entirely. Women and daughters especially need to listen to their Christian male relatives about this sensitive but vital matter. I consider immodest attire on women in public sexual harrassment. But many women just don’t know what effect they have on men.

  2. Great article, Richard, and teaching which is sorely needed. I’m so tired of seeing young girls come to worship in strapless dresses or spaghetti straps. I know it’s hard to find modest clothing, but it’s not *that hard. I remember a friend of my sons made a comment a few years ago when he was riding in the car with us. He said, “I wish the girls would not dress so provocatively.” I said, “Define provocatively.” The first thing he said was “short skirts.”
    Keep up the good work.

  3. One big example of situational modesty is women exposing themselves to male doctors. Here again, they are under the impression that the situation is “safe” because the doctor has seen it all before, and acceptable because the stated motivation changes the ethics in their minds. Husbands and fathers buy into this rationale as well.

  4. Excellent thoughts, Richard, and timely. We mothers and older women need to teach our daughters and younger women as instructed in Titus 2:1-5: “that they admonish the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be discreet, chaste, homemakers, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be blasphemed.” Discreet and chaste are not words that come to mind when I see many of the clothes that our young women wear today.

  5. Nice and solid, thank you! Wish we could hear this from the pulpit, rarely is this subject touched and when it is only with kit gloves.

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