Well I guess this was a topic that people cared about. I have never gotten so much feedback from a blog. That was interesting to me, especially because I feel like I have said things that were much more controversial in my opinion. Anyways, I wanted to add a little more depth to some thoughts on the topic of modesty before I move away from this topic. A portion of these thoughts are for clarification. Some are responses to feedback I received. Others are pieces that just need to be said. Keep in mind that these 2 blog posts are aimed at Christians.
(I was reminded that I am writing to hundreds of people and so at different points, you are going to say, “no way.” But keep in mind, you just might be the exception to the norm in how you perceive something or what you can resist. We are talking generalities and that makes this tough.)
- The issue of the type of clothing a person should wear is not a black and white issue. There is no verse that says “thou shall not wear mini skirts” or “thou shall not wear real tiny bikinis.” This is an issue, like all “gray” issues, that is an issue of the heart. What is one’s motivation for wearing whatever? Why the low cut shirt? or bikini? or tattoo? or short skirt? or those expensive jeans? or those $400 shoes? Is your motivation one that gives glory to God? Does your motivation simply feed your ego by getting people to focus on you? Is your motivation insecurity or peer pressure? The big point here – what is your heart for why you are wearing whatever you are wearing?
- This was never really a blog post about bikinis. I called it that because I knew it would drive readers. I wanted to drive conversations and thoughts. I believe this has happened. For the record, I do not have a personal conviction that all bikinis are bad. I am not saying all Christians should never wear a bikini. My wife has worn one as recently as a cruise we took last month. The issues are hand are testimony and modesty. These two things are things Christians MUST be concerned about.
- Men are responsible for their eyes. They need to control themselves. Learn to bounce your eyes. Get away from places where temptation is real. I never intended to paint a picture where men are not responsible for what they look at and focus on. They need to figure this out and own their problem. Now for the record to those ladies reading this – visual lust and temptation is a struggle for most guys. (If you are a guy who does not have that struggle, great for you.) The pornography industry and strip clubs are built on the tendency of men to be visual creatures. Women, do not pretend that this is just few sick guys out there.
- There is an ethic in Christianity that drives much of the faith. That ethic is an others-focused life. The Bible is very clear in places like Philippians 2 that if you are a Christian, you are to consider the interest of others MORE than yourself. This means if you what you wear or what you are about to say or if having the beer will hinder or potentially hinder another you should think about it. Even if it is their problem. If you are with an alcoholic (his or her problem), you do not offer him or her a beer (your problem). Whether some ladies want to admit it or not, how you dress can definitely tempt men and can put them in a place where they are likely to fail. Yes, it is the man’s problem, but you have the responsibility to help those brothers out. It is part of the Christian ethic.
- Let’s be honest for a second about bikinis. There are bikinis and then there are “bikinis”. There are skirts and then there are “skirts”. There are more conservative bikinis that allow you to show off your well taken care of body and get that tan you are after, but yet do leave more to the imagination. Many have argued that aren’t all bathing suit crossing the boundary point of modesty. Not really. We are trained as man to think that some stuff is more sexy and seductive. On average, the thinner the thing the more tempting and sexual. This is the reason the Bond girls in the Bond movies do not come out of the water in a one piece, but rather in a small bikini. Sure the one piece shows more than a flannel night gown, but we are trained to not see the one piece as tempting. So be honest about the kind of bikini you are wanting to rock. Is it possible, there is a more modest version of what you are sporting?
- Restraint is a sign of maturity. When you can and you don’t for the sake of others, this is a sign of being mature. “Can” does not mean “should”. This is true with buying cars, drinking alcohol, over eating, and pretty much most of life. It is definitely true in the area of modesty. Do not confuse freedom in Christ, as permission to do whatever I want.
- The issue of modesty is not just about wearing it. But where and with who and to whom are you distributing the pictures. I am pretty sure that guys do not want their wives to be modest with their clothing choices in the bedroom. Or take another situation: two girls laying out at your house by your pool behind a fence. But when you wear the questionable thing and then post pictures across the social media world, it does not help one’s testimony. Hear me…I am not saying you are not a Christian or do want to follow God, but I am saying you could help your testimony by taking those pics down. Or consider that friends alone is different than public pool or on the boat with a bunch of guys. Place and company matter in this equation.