Show up with your personal standards and you are automatically deemed to be judging others who don’t share your conviction. And when you say, “I’m not judging others, this is my personal conviction,” you are automatically deemed to be judging others who don’t share your conviction.
Why? Because there is one value you can’t challenge in a society that has systematically removed God from the public square: No one has the right to oppose any opinion I may hold and any hint that you suggest otherwise threatens my truth.
It’s as if the 21st Century has turned everyone into Napoleon Dynamite.
“What are you going to do today, Napoleon?”
“Whatever I want! GOSH!”
There is a degree of logic, here. Without a moral law or restraint outside of myself, I can do whatever I want as long as you don’t have the power and will to stop me. Take God out of the picture and all bets are off.
And so it is with the body parts men and women put on public display by how they dress.
If someone wants to get his/her tee shirt and jeans from a can of paint and spray it on to maximize focus on physical attributes, whose business is that?
Follow the logic and it’s pretty easy to make an argument for no clothes, at all.
No, it isn’t.
If the basis of the position is, ‘I can dress how I want. I dress like this because it makes me feel good/sexy/comfortable/”hot”‘ who’s to say where the line is to be drawn? Which raises an interesting question: If Lady Godiva came riding naked into town on her horse, is she the one with the problem or is it all the men who won’t stop looking when a strong gust of wind blows her hair behind her back?
Men or women wearing skin-tight clothing? . . . no big deal, but you probably shouldn’t be naked in public, should you? There are still laws that prevent total nudity in public but it gets confusing if God’s not involved.
But God is involved.
He said in the Bible to dress modestly (1 Timothy 2:9). And everyone of us will give an account, one day, when we stand before Him, of how we dressed AND how we looked lustfully at others.
From God’s perspective, the responsibility for all aspects of this issue runs both directions.
Those who wish to argue walking down the street in your underwear is no big deal and it’s okay if Victoria doesn’t have any Secrets, plastering pictures of women in sexy bras all over their windows, will have to take it up with God. You’re argument about the particulars is with Him and you’ll definitely get your chance. (Hebrews 9:27)
A moment ago, it was said that God is involved but, He’s not the only one. Someone else is involved, too: My 12 year-old son.
A couple of months ago he came to me, distraught that from seemingly nowhere, he was suddenly struck with a deep sense of awareness and interest in girls . . . and not just girls, generally, but very (very) specifically, right down to the curves . . . all of them.
I listened as he poured out his heart in confusion, embarrassment, and anguish. Then, I immediately hugged him and told him how great it all was.
“Son, your awakened interest in girls is completely normal, natural, and good. God made you this way. You’re in the process of becoming a man and I think that’s awesome!”
Now, about those “particulars”, and the argument that it’s all on the guy, or on the girl, as the case may be, I ask a simple question: Should young boys coming of age in our society bear all the responsibility for the moral struggles they face?
Does any degree of responsibility lay elsewhere?
My son and I are having some deep conversations about lust, the enemy’s counterfeit of God’s best, the responsibility to exercise self-control, and averting our eyes at appropriate times. He is being taught his responsibility to walk uprightly. I’m teaching him how to do battle in a world that doesn’t care about purity, modesty, and self control. If I’m successful and any woman has an encounter with him, she will be respected and treated with dignity.
But I’m hoping that you, too, care about the impact you may be having on my young son . . . on all the young sons . . . who are becoming sexually aware young men. If you’ve not thought about modesty and how the way you dress affects a young boy coming of age, would you be willing to consider these things?
We live in community. I’m striving to do my part as his dad. Will you consider the positive part you can play when you get dressed in the morning? We may never know each other, personally, but that doesn’t mean my son won’t encounter you at the store, airport, or State Fair. Just because you don’t know him personally doesn’t mean you’re not having a major impact on a young boy somewhere.
No one is advocating burqas before breakfast but don’t buy into the spirit of the age that says however sexy you dress makes no difference because, friend, I can tell you, it matters a great deal to my 12 year-old son who is becoming a man and desires to be a loving, faithful, husband and father some day.
‘Thank you” to all the thoughtful women out there, for thinking of others and, in essence, for thinking of my son.
Matt Jacobson is the founder of FaithfulMan.com a biblical marriage, parenting, and discipleship ministry providing written and audio teaching, as well as couples marriage coaching. He is the co-host (with his wife, Lisa) of Faithful Life Podcast and is author of the bestseller, 100 Ways to Love Your Wife. Matt is pastor of Tumalo Bible Fellowship and is married to Lisa, founder of Club31Women.com (they have 8 kids!).