Modesty is Important
- Wednesday, June 05, 2002
"I've got a problem," she admitted restlessly. "I, uh, well. Ya know when you were talking about purity? Well, like, God was telling me something about myself then."
She paused as tears welled up in her eyes and then she tried once again to verbalize what was causing her pain.
"Well, now, I know that if I wear the right thing, they'll look. I can feel them watching me and ... well," she hesitated.
"You can feel them watching and what?" I prodded matter-of-factly.
"I like it," she blurted out as another tear began making its way to the rim of her eyelid.
"Then why are you crying?" I asked.
"Because I also hate it," she started as a free-fall of tears streamed down her cheeks. "I hate it because of the way it makes me feel but I love it because ... I can't explain it. It's like. Well ..."
I waited for her to find her feelings. I wasn't prepared for her wise discernment.
"It's like I've found this power," she stated confidently and sadly.
Modesty. Most parents recognize the need to address it, but many are at a loss as to how to do this. They fear creating a rebellious spirit or robbing the innocence of their daughters. At the end of many arguments, complacency quietly announces in the back of their mind, "It'll be OK. It's just fashion."
Is it just fashion? The Indianapolis News once wrote, "Those who minimize the correlation between immodesty and sexual promiscuity deceive themselves and others..." Support for such a statement is found in studies that analyze the risk of teen sexual activity. A girl who looks older than she actually is has a greater risk of sexual activity. These girls are made to look older by fashion and make-up, most of which hints at or blatantly advertises her sexuality. There is a strong case to argue that the end result of today's immodest fashion is sexual promiscuity.
It's time for parents to enter into the battle with no reservation. But how? I've discovered some powerful ideas that might help you deal with the subject effectively in your own home.
- 1. Help your daughter understand the power immodesty accesses. What happens when a person of any gender sees a woman walk by wearing a long, tight skirt with a slit all the way up the sides or a low-cut blouse? The viewer pauses or even does a double take because his or her brain wants to complete the picture. It's simple visual science. Imagine the powerful multiplication of this principle in the mind of a man who's been created to crave the beauty of a woman.
- 2. Explain the special weakness of men for a woman's beauty. Proverbs 5:18-19 says, "Rejoice in the wife of your youth, a loving doe, a graceful deer - may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated by her sex." I've changed the words in italics to better reflect the meaning of the text in Hebrew. The God of the universe looks down at woman and actually encourages man to be fully intoxicated by her sexuality. Wow!
Let me explain to you a little bit of what happens when a guy is "intoxicated." Many of our bodies' responses are activated by the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This system is not controlled by the will, but by the environment. Ever been in a fender-bender? Remember that sick feeling in your stomach and the rapid pulse? You felt physically different because of the environmental change. You cannot control these reactions by choice. The ANS forces the body to respond to the environment.
Sexual arousal works the same way. Things in the environment - what we see, what we hear, and what we smell - create a sexual response. This is particularly strong in a man since God created him to be visually stimulated. If he sees a woman walk by wearing revealing clothing, what happens in his body? He may notice the change in his pulse, his body temperature will rise and blood begins to pump rapidly through his body. For a man this is a very strong reaction and presents clear physical changes. Of course, this is beautiful and celebrated by the God of the universe when the woman who creates the arousal is the man's wife.
Sadly, the arousal isn't always created within the marriage union, but can be caused by the simple naive fashion choices of a young woman. While a man can choose how to respond to this arousal, he cannot control that it has occurred.
What does continual exposure to visual stimulants do to a godly man? You might as well hang a noose around the neck of his spiritual life. It's not "just" fashion, as our often-blatant casual attitude towards dress displays, but a constant source of spiritual failure for men.
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