The Big Question …

Actually .. I’m not sure if it is the big question but at least it is a big question!

There are many different ideas about what modesty means and everyone’s standards are usually a little bit different than others’.  Many women believe in being modest because they feel that a lack of modesty can present temptation to men and they want to be careful about not causing others to stumble and lust “… but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.” Romans 14:13b

So the question is this: if you knew that a certain outfit that belonged to you caused one to struggle with temptation, would you continue to wear it?

This is something that I have considered for awhile and I know what I would like to be able to answer but I still hesitate!  I can hear you now … “What? Hesitate? If you knew that you were putting a stumbling block in front of someone, you would hesitate to change?”

But think about this for a minute.  Think about your favorite outfit … an outfit that you feel is very modest and appropriate.  Would you really be willing to never wear it again if you knew that it was causing a brother to stumble?

I want to hear your thoughts!  This is a question that has puzzled me for awhile and I would love to see some discussion on it.

the big question

20 thoughts on “The Big Question …

  1. If I knew for certain that it was a problem, like if my dad told me he didn’t consider it proper, then yes, I would stop wearing it. Or try changing something, like adding a sweater, undershirt, or something. I’ve done that plenty of times to favorite outfits. But if it was another young lady or telling me it was immodest because it didn’t meet her family’s standards or something like that, I probably would keep wearing it. I guess the question would lie in knowing for sure that it was truly a problem and temptation for a brother in Christ. A word of advice to other young ladies: run your clothes past a dad or brother before you even take the tags off, and then it won’t be your favorite outfit that he suddenly tells you is problematic.

    1. Good point about your father … it’s a blessing to have a spiritual authority figure who can help keep us on the right track and also exercise discernment. When my father read this post earlier, he reminded me of a man we knew who had very strict and conservative standards, and he tried to put them on everyone else instead of allowing each family to make their own decisions in certain areas. When dealing with someone like that, I don’t think it is necessary to “submit” to their whims … I was thinking more along the lines of someone who was genuinely struggling. I guess that’s where the discernment comes in 🙂

  2. No I would not wear it again because that is what happend when I use to wear pants. I was told by my friend one afternoon that someone she knew well had been told by his friend that he did not like me intill he saw by bottem in that pair of white jeans I was wearing. Since that day I think about if what I am wearing is going to cause someone else to not have proper thoughts. This factored in along with God working in my heart to now wear skirts only in a school has less than a handfull that do the same and be able to tell my friends and other students when a piece of clothing is causing the wrong looks. I hope that you talking about this will help others notice when someing might be just a little to short.

  3. That’s a really good question! As the other ladies have brought up, I think it definitely depends on the source the correction is coming from. I hope that if it was genuinely causing a brother a problem, I would be sensitive to that and make the necessary changes. My husband is wonderful for things like this, as is a father or brother, like you mentioned. 🙂

  4. I would say what most woman should want to say- yes! I can only remember once someone telling me that something was inappropriate and getting mad about it- I was told by my dad.Our family was going through alot at the time so I was not paying too much attention to my outer appearance. As we all hope to do- I strive to make the right decision even in this area- I pray that if the time ever does come for someone to correct me again, that I will not turn to malice over it!

  5. Our daughter came to live with us for a year and became immersed in our spiritual lifestyle. While she was here, she began getting rid of clothing that were too snug, too short, too low-cut, etc., and buying modest clothes. When she returned home, one of the first thing she did was go through her closet and get rid of the things she used to wear that she no longer felt were appropriate. I have learned over the years that men are “visual” when it comes to sex. Unfortunately, this sinful world encourages this to the point it is almost unnatural in its extremity. If I am wearing something that I am not sure about, I will ask my husband to critique it from a man’s viewpoint. Young stay-at-home ladies can ask their Moms or Dads. When Tia was staying with us, she would sometimes ask my opinion on what she planned to wear, and I would tell her if I thought it was inappropriate, and so she learned from my example and from reading SSM (which she loves!). So it all boils down to this: even if you LOVE a certain outfit but you know it may cause someone to stumble, it is better to think of that person’s spiritual welfare than to cling to the outfit.

  6. I am very careful to make sure I dress modestly at all times, it’s important to me so I definitely would never wear an outfit that I thought was not proper and there is no way I would ever wear it even more so I thought it would tempt another.

  7. Contrary to the modest opinion, a man can have thoughts on anything a woman wears, including a floor length skirt. There are men who lust after those women too!

    So, I will stick to wearing what I feel to be modest, it may not be modest to yiu, but your opinion isn’t the one I’m concerned about, it’s God’s and he knows my heart, and modest begins in th heart.

    And modesty isn’t abiut being covered from neck to toe, modesty is about not standing out in a crowd, and sadly when you are covered from neck to toe, you stand out. More men will look at you, and isn’t that the point you try and make, to not have men look at you?

    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Interestingly enough, I wasn’t talking about my opinion of what is modest so I’m not sure where you got that from! Many people want to talk about how modesty is a heart matter but in reality, when the Bible talks about modesty, it’s talking about clothing … not your heart condition. So while I agree that we need to have modest attitudes/hearts, it seems like too often the tendency is to think, “if my heart is modest, it doesn’t matter what I wear.”

      I have found that people often want to deal with hypotheticals, you know … “Muslim women are covered from head to toe and they still get raped …” I don’t deny that there are evil-minded men who think evil thoughts regardless of what a woman is wearing, but that’s not what I’m dealing with in this post. I am talking about if a man communicates to you (either directly or through another party) that he is having a hard time keeping his thoughts in the right place because of the outfit you are wearing … how would you respond?

      It seems to be a common belief that modesty is about not standing out in a crowd, but where does Scripture say that? Modesty is about being seemly and appropriate. And no, the point is not “to not have men look at you” … it is to inspire respect and appreciation in the hearts of the men who do look at you, not tempt them to think of you in an inappropriate manner.

    2. Shalom Danielle,

      I do thank you for your comment because it brings up a very good point. Who are you dressing for…..yourself…..or your god? YHWH, the God of the Bible, desires us to live by love and service to others. Yeshua gave us this example by His life. He made it very clear when he washed His disciples feet, and then laid down His life.

      Do you know how many men have thanked us for the way we dress (long, loose, not low at the neck)? Do you know if we categorized the men by age, what age group are the most vocal and gracious in thanking us? It would be men from 15 to 25 years of age. I encourage you Danielle to make your decisions in life from a “dying to self” motive…..as you are led by the Heavenly Father……and see how this brings glory to Him.

    3. I must disagree with you about what modesty means. It does not mean you do or don’t stand out in a crowd. It means you do not flaunt your flesh, be it through tight-fitting, too short,or low-cut clothing. Modesty has nothing to do with anyone’s opinion, but has all to do with our Creator’s opinion. If He has said in His Word to do nothing to cause a brother to stumble, then it is our responsibility to see to it that we obey Him. God’s daughters should dress so as not to cause men to lust after us. We should not dress only to please ourselves, but to also please the God Whom we serve and represent. You are right, Danielle. God does know our heart and Jeremiah tells us in chapter 17, verse 9 that it is “deceitful above all things and desperately wicked: who can know it?” We cannot go by what our heart tells us, only by what truth tells us, and the only truth is God and His Word.

  8. If I knew that a specific outfit was causing someone to stumble, I would hope that I would not wear it any more. I would like to think that I care more for my brother than for myself, as the scripture teaches. If I did struggle with the issue, I would definitely pray about it and ask God to change my heart.

    I found you through the Modest Monday link up and enjoyed reading your post.
    Blessings,
    Rashel

  9. Over the years what I have viewed as “modest” has changed. There are things that I used to wear that I no longer feel comfortable in. Why? I’ve learned, as a previous poster said, that men are “visual”. They remember images of things, even if they don’t really want to. Because of this, I have to thinks of others, as well as myself, when I choose how to dress.

    There are other things I do now, that I wish I had done when I was younger. Things such as wearing a (thin) t-shirt or tank top under other shirts that may pull up when I move or bend over, so that if there is any gap between my shirt and pants no skin will show. (I had never heard this tip till I was in my early 20’s.)

    I too went through a stage where I was dressing “modest”, according to the standards of others. I had no conviction about it, but thought it made me better in some ways. Even though I enjoy dressing that way, I realized I was doing it for the wrong reasons and had to step back to reevaluate myself. (My husband also didn’t prefer me dressing that way, though he didn’t mind every so often. I think he knew I was doing it for the wrong reasons.)

    When I lived with my parents, their standards were mine. As a grown woman, I had to find out for myself what my standards were – turns out they were more conservative than my parents, though I never made an issue of it with them. As a married woman, my husband’s opinion plays a large role, both as to what is appropriate and what he thinks is going too far.

    So, would I not wear an outfit because someone thought it wasn’t modest ?… that depends on the person and the situation. If my husband said so, then I would no longer wear it. Growing up if my dad said so, then I would no longer wear it. If a friend (male or female) said so, then I would step back to evaluate why they felt that way and see if it lined up with what the Bible says. Then I might or might not, but it wouldn’t be just because they said so. (This has actually happened, from a close male friend before I was married – we didn’t share the same opinion, so I just didn’t wear it around him. The outfit really wasn’t that bad.) As someone else said, even floor length skirts are too much for some.

    Side Note – Living in an area that has a large Amish/Mennonite population, as well as other beliefs, I do sometimes alter my dress if I know I’ll be around a group that believes one way. This may mean no tank tops or having sleeves that go down further than others; making sure my shirts are high enough around the neck line, especially when a kid goes to pull on it (I don’t wear low cut shirts to begin with, but a kid pulling on a shirt can make even a high necked shirt a lot lower); wearing a skirt or even not wearing a skirt; limited or no jewelry; making sure I remember an undershirt, etc. I view this more as having manners and respecting others than anything else.

  10. It very much depends on the outfit and the opinion of my husband. I dress very modestly, and cannot imagine any of my outfits would be a problem to anyone, but if my husband thought they were, I would change them.

    I have a friend who was raised in a Moslem culture, and tells me that he finds a Burqa very alluring. Should Moslem women then put something on OVER their Burqa?

    There was a sect of Pharisees in the first century that walked everywhere with their eyes closed so that they wouldn’t see any women. They walked into a lot of walls & were called something like “the bruised ones” It is not our body (our physical eyes) that make us sin, but our hearts.

    In the final analysis, each of us is responsible to God for the lu*st in our hearts – and we cannot blame that on another person even if that person has no cl0thing on at all! And, we cannot fully control the lu*sts of others by covering up, no matter how hard we try.

    I do my best to be modest, but I cannot control others.

    1. Well said, Anna! So much of the talk of modesty borders on and crosses into legalism. I also do my best to be modest and would certainly change if my husband asked me to do so.

    2. I can see your point about we women not being responsible for what is in another person’s heart. You are right, we cannot take on that responsibility. Sadly, things in this fallen world will never be as they should be, no matter what we do or how hard we try, they just won’t. So we do the best we can and try to rightly represent our heavenly Father and His Kingdom.

      1. I agree that we are not responsible for what is other peoples’ hearts but ultimately this is my question – if a brother (or even a non-brother) is struggling and we are causing him to stumble, is it our responsibility to change or is it his responsibility to just deal with it? Obviously we can’t dress to fit everyone else’s standards and convictions but if we know that our attire is causing difficulties for someone else, are we responsible to change it?

        1. Yes, I believe so. As I said before, because of who we are and Who we represent, we must take into account the spiritual welfare of others. There will come a time when we must answer for certain things. And Romans 12:18 tells us that “if it be possible, as much as lieth in you [or as much as it depends on you], live peaceably with all men.” I looked up the word “peaceably” and it means “without private feuds and quarrels; without disturbance; quietly; without agitation”. If our mode of dress causes a ‘disturbance’ or ‘agitation’ in someone, then ‘as much as it depends on us’ we need to see to it that we are not the cause of the disturbance or agitation. Our brothers have a way to deal with it, if they will. Abba’s Word says that with the temptation, He provides a way of escape. If that means to avert his eyes (not close them and walk about blindly), or leave the room, whatever. That particular fight is his, and he must fight it. He must feed the “new man” with scripture and prayer, and starve the “old man” by purposely not giving in to the old nature. Non-brothers are another thing entirely, because spiritually they are without a means of escape, and because of their fallen nature, most don’t really want to escape. But we deal with them just as with a brother.

  11. I think, that if a guy was brave and honest enough to mention that the outfit was a stumbling block, I would certainly think hard about wearing it again!

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