Important burdens?

I have often wondered why some of the topics that are least mentioned in the bible are some of the most controversial topics among churches. The one I was considering is clothing. Everyone has opinions on that one. I wonder though how much is opinions and how much is actually God’s ideas.

Recently a video went around the web, speaking on the topic of modesty, talking to women. It seemed to have some excellent points on what men think of women’s clothing and went to explain that women need to consider what they are wearing. I felt like there was some valid points in said video, I had a big problem with it. It was very one sided. Most of the people posting it, were women, of course, doing a great job or spreading the video as was intended. I was gratified to see that many women were interested in this topic. But I felt it really fell short!

Before any of my few readers, attack me for some of my views…..let me explain.

Any video on modesty or article on this topic is not complete until you address the male and female parties of the world. Any man who addresses one without the other, has begun to fall into a trap of one sided blame.

There are women who do not dress modestly. There are men who struggle with this. These are facts.

My question or point is….there is always going to be things in this life that will stumble women and men. If we seek to go out and stop all others from stumbling us, well, we are fighting a losing battle. Everyone has different views, different things that “stumble” them. One man does not eat meat, another enjoys a good steak. One woman thinks bikini’s are modest, another one does not….

This is where we need to look within ourselves and see “Why are we stumbled? ” What are we doing to prevent sin ourselves?

I hear a variety of comments on modesty that vary to the extreme. I would challenge each of us to make sure that we, as we go through life, are not becoming Pharisees about this issue. Are you looking at other women and judging them for their choices of clothing?

I was reading in the bible and realized that Jesus did not talk about clothing very much. I wonder if it was such a important issue, wouldn’t He have addressed it more? I wonder why He did not stand and look disapprovingly at Simon Peter fishing naked, or at least reprimand him.

I found two places where Jesus spoke about clothing.

This is one:

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,” Matthew 23:4, 5, KJV.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.” Matthew 23:23, 24, KJV.

I wonder, are we straining at a gnat, and swallowing a camel?

The other reference…..

And he said unto his disciples, Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat; neither for the body, what ye shall put on. The life is more than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?” Luke 12:22-24, KJV.

 

This one, He straight out tells us not to worry about our food or clothes.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am not a nudist, or someone who does not believe we should dress modestly. But I think that on this topic, we have gone too far. We have taken something that is simply everyday life, and we have taken it to the point where we make it a discussion that separates families, churches and others.

We have the Amish and half their religion based on types of clothing to be worn, we have the people who left the Amish who make sure they are not wearing anything that could classify them as half Amish still. We have  the different churches and religions -Mennonites, Hutterites, German Baptist, Fundamental baptist, Latter Day Saints,  SDA, Unitarian, and others who all share different beliefs and argue about the types of clothing to wear. I wonder if we have lost so much of our faith in God and the power of  a relationship in Jesus, because we are arguing about types of clothing?

I wonder if you  have known a time in your life when you were in love with someone?  If you are in love with your dearest love, do you notice the other women or men around you all the time? You are thinking about your love and when you will see him/her again, what you will do and how much you care about them.

Are you in love in God?  When your relationship is the way it should be with God, you will find it much harder to notice the immodesty of others around you. You will find yourself more focused on your relationship with God, with others, and  instead of looking at how you wish others would change to stop stumbling you, you will be making sure you are not stumbling others.

My point of this blog post is not to identify one dress style over another as modest or another as immodest, but my thought is to look within ourselves and  when we get dressed in the mirror can you look at yourself and know that God will be pleased with what you are wearing, you are pleased with what you are wearing and  you are neat and clean.  I like to remember  that God created us to be women, and that it is a good thing to make sure we are not walking around in gunny sacks trying to hide that fact. I bet someone would be stumbled by that too….probably the fact that they have no sleeves. (Just kidding = )

I am not disregarding any of the verses on not stumbling, just hoping that you stop and take another look.

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21 Comments

Filed under Daily Happenings

21 responses to “Important burdens?

  1. Dacia

    I agree with you. I think we need to be modest, but how we dress isn’t really a salvation issue. This is coming up a lot (at least on my FB wall) with the Soul Surfer movie and the bikinis that are in it. I think a lot of these issues should be solved by simple common sense on each Christian’s part. (THINKING with your God given brain, and PRAYING to God that you would be pleasing to HIM in all your ways.)

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  2. I live on the beach and it is HOT here. I dress in sundresses, shorts and tank-tops. I never wear shoes. That does not make me a person without morals. My Muslim neighbors in the apartment opposite (doors look into each other’s home) are great friends and accept me as I am. They don’t try to avoid me, although I try to make sure not to offend them. For instance, I am sitting here in shorts and a bra right now, but my door is closed. My opinion? If God wanted us to be modest – he would’ve given Adam and Eve burqas.

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  3. Nice article. I think common sense must apply even taking religion out of the equation.

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  4. Good thoughts, Martha. I agree totally. I go to a very liberal church, where clothing is very inconsequential, as long as you are wearing something. 😉 Jesus seemed very unconcerned with a person’s worldly trappings, including clothing, choosing instead to focus on heart issues.

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  5. Ailene

    Agreed! I do think ppl put too much focus on clothing and their definition of modesty. I do love skirts but I dont wear them to prove something or to show off how modest I am. Great post Martha! It makes someone really think! 🙂

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  6. Kathy

    Well said! Much to think about here, thank you!

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  7. Kristen

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I’ve run into this so much and it is so frustrating! We do try to dress modestly but still maintain some style. But I’ve found that if there is anything stylish or attractive in an outfit, it is deemed “immodest” by certain people! There is just no pleasing people – especially when they’ve made up there own legalistic standards. It really is a heart issue, and only God can see our hearts. (And is pride somehow less of a sin than a tight shirt???) If one feels that there is something not right with another’s heart, then perhaps prayer and love would be the best approach. Condemnation usually doesn’t work for spiritual growth!

    I’ve also noticed that an over attempt at “modesty” draws attention – and not necessarily positive. One interaction that comes to mind was going to a pool with another family that had (how do I say this tactfully??) “higher” standards of “modesty” than ours. . . . While my pre-teen was in a halter swim top and board shorts, the other was in full-length leggings and a swim “dress” with long arms. My daughter was subjected to a very haughty attitude from the other girl, who informed my daughter that she was “immodest”. As they exited the pool and the “swim” material clung to the other girl for a long time as it dried, I can guarantee that no one was noticing my daughter, in her normal but (what we deem) modest swim attire. The one who was supposedly “modest” was attracting A LOT of looks, however!!! And I really struggled with how we were subjected to their judgment as being outside of God’s will. (Ironically, all my boys and my husband wear rash guard tops, but their teen son bared his chest. I wonder how many of these super “modest” families hold a double standard for males and females.)

    Anyway, standards like this are certainly a personal conviction and one should follow it – but not make personal convictions essentially a stumbling block in another’s walk with the Lord. People are going to hell, and our greatest concern should be for salvation for others, not personal standards being applied to friends

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  8. I also agree with this post. I purposefully did not post that video anywhere. Not because I disagreed necessarily, but because I wanted my dh to watch it first to tell me if HE agreed with the video. I haven’t had the time to ask him to watch it. I also agree it’s very one sided, and therefore doesn’t portray an accurate picture.

    Great post, Martha!

    Let us examine ourselves, and not pick at other people because they are not doing what *you* (not you, Martha, just a generic ‘you’) think THEY should be doing.

    Blessings, Christy

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  9. MommyScott

    Thank you for the great post!

    I’d like to also add the parallel passage to the one you quoted from Luke. Matthew 6:25-34, in particular 33-34 which say:

    “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

    It confirms what you were saying, that if we are about the business of God, “seeking first the kind of heaven”, that these other things become quite trivial and someone else’s clothing (or lack of it) will be much less of a stumbling block for us.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  10. Manya

    I disagree about your ideas of what the Amish faith is about. Because someone wears a particular, notable type of clothing doesn’t mean that 1/2 of their faith is about the clothes.
    I do like your other thoughts, though.

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    • Manya….interesting name! Is your name Maria?
      I don’t think because someone dresses very different that 1/2 their faith is about clothing, but much of the experience I have had with Amish, growing up in the middle of an Amish community, attending their school, and working in their store, taught me that many of them were not believers, but only followers of the rules of the church and most of them had no idea why they dressed that way! I have many good friends who used to be Amish and some that still are, and some of them are wonderful Christians, but the Amish are not what many people think.

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  11. Dani

    I really liked your comment that if we were more in love with Chirst, we would see less of this world. I find that true.

    I do struggle with what my daughter and I should wear. But I don’t want to spend more time thinking about that then things that the Bible really values.

    I also agree that blaming women for men’s lust is wrong. Something may be very tempting, but still they can chose to not sin. Women should be aware of the temptation they can be if not dressed modestly, but I have read things that totally take the blame off the poor, helpless man and put it on the woman. This is exactly the kind of thing you read about in extreme muslim cultures. We need to teach our boys some self control as much as we teach our girls to cover up a bit.

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  12. hsmominmo

    Nicely put, Martha. It can be a difficult thing, when we make choices about how we dress or don’t dress, based on strong convicitons or beliefs – it is easy to bind those convictions on others. Thank you for pointing us to Christ’s words.
    My goal is to encourage my children (both daughters AND sons) to THINK about their choices, not to follow along ‘just because’. Great topic of conversation around the dinner table!

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  13. BrandyLynn

    The Greek Lexicon states Katastole as a long, flowing garment. (I Tim. 2:9-10). While my family believes that modesty *is* an important issue, we also try to remember to show grace to others who do not see things the same way. However, this does not mean that if we were to host a beach party at our home that we must subject our family to seeing women walk around in bikinis or tube tops-for the sake of everyone having their own beliefs about modesty. Clothing CAN be a problem for others. The teens in our old church would wear skin tight pants, shirts that showed underclothes or even a lot of cleavage. And, I *know* first hand the distraction it can cause. I *do* think the Lord *is* concerned with what we wear, as it is something which can either bring Glory to Him, or it can detract Glory from Him.

    With that said, I do agree with you that it (the issue of modesty) has become, or can become an issue where it unnecessarily divides, rather than brings together, the body of Christ. Our focus DOES need to be on the love for the Lord, and in the striving to please Him. But that love for Him should exude itself in ALL areas of our lives. Whether in the way we dress, speak, act, or minister to others.

    I just cannot agree to the idea of what we wear as being a moot point to believers. While Christ himself may never have said anything specific about clothing choices, when you look into ALL of Scriptures, there is clear teaching that we ARE to hold certain standards. (And I’m not saying you have to be skirts only to meet that standard, but there should be a noticeable difference in dress between a Follower of Christ and someone who is “of the world”.

    Just my two cents. I really love your blog, and hope to have time later to really peruse it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and heart with us!

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    • BrandyLynn

      Also wanted to add— we don’t have double standards, I should have stated that if we were to host a beach party we also would ask the men not to come shirtless or in short shorts!

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    • Thanks, Brandy for sharing your thoughts! I think that it is a wonderful thing to have good beliefs on this as our family, I just don’t see that biblically I can take what I believe and say this is absolutely biblical for all believers to dress this way as it is just not in there (an exact formula). I could discuss what I think I should wear, but I think I would let my pictures speak for themselves = )

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      • BrandyLynn

        Thanks Martha. I am not one that believes that EVERYONE has to have the same model of modesty as our family does. I hope I did not come across that way.

        However, while I don’t subscribe to a certain “dress code”, I also do not believe the Bible is silent on the subject. The Lord covered Adam and Eve’s nakedness after the fall. The fig leaf covering they made for themselves were not good enough coverings. He covered them with cloaks of animal skin. In Isaiah 47 it speaks of the visibility of the thigh being shameful. Scriptures use the shame of nakedness to foretell the shame which would come to Babylon. As does Rev. 3 mentions the shamefulness of nakedness. If you tie that in with the writings I mentioned in my previous post, you’ll see that while the Lord never said “wear x,y,z”, He has given us Scripture to guide us which pertains to Believers in all the ages. (II Tim. 3:16) Nakedness (and in several passages, this includes the showing of the thigh) is shameful.

        You are right, there is no “exact formula”, as in Christ never said “Thou shalt wear black clothing which covers from the head to the toe”… but we ARE given the principles of modest dress and nakedness. I don’t believe men must wear pants and women wear ankle length skirts. However, I do not see how one can argue that there is no “formula” in Scriptures on dress code. As believers in Christ, we are not to show our nakedness. When there is direct reference to the thighs as being nakedness and shameful, how then can we as believers say that wearing certain things is glorifying to the Lord???

        Just my thoughts… I just wanted to be sure that you understood where I was coming from, and that I *DO* believe that there are principles which are put forth in Scriptures- which help form my belief on modesty… and it’s not just a “personal preference”.

        With that said, I never give unsolicited advice to others on what they should wear or what is modest. But if the topic comes up, and they are looking for my belief in modest, and what I believe the Scriptures teach, I will share. I am NOT trying to argue with you, and I will not reply further. I DO agree with much of the heart of your post and understand what you are trying to convey. I just don’t necessarily agree with the conclusion. Blessings,

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      • BrandyLynn

        I thought I should mention that I have always felt the same way as I do now. I once was the one who wore as little as possible and thought nothing of it. When it came to others’ judgment of me, I justified my actions by saying that the Bible doesn’t say I *have* to wear “xyz”… but then I began to study it. So perhaps my beliefs on this issue are borne of circumstances which make me more passionate about this all. I hope and pray I am not coming across in a manner of judgment or hostility in sharing my heart. I intend for it to come across in a manner of love.

        (You don’t need to post this unless you want to… I just thought I would give you insight as from where I was coming from… perhaps it will better help you understand what I am trying to say. )

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      • BrandyLynn

        *Ugh* I meant that I have NOT always felt the way I do now… guess I need to do a better job of editing before replying. LOL!

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  14. Rachael

    I really love this post. 🙂

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