MODESTY: My Thoughts Part 1

7:09 AM

Photos via me and my camera 

Hola readers!

Modesty is one of those things I never liked diving into. The topic alone is tricky because Jesus never spoke about modesty in the Bible. He never used the word (to my knowledge), so when people in the church talk about modesty, then both Christians and nonbelievers tend to shy away.
What IS modesty? Is it important? And why are we even talking about it?

I did a post about a guy's POV of modesty here, and now I feel it's time to speak about my own views, because modesty is very important to me.

behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.

I don't see modesty as simply a clothing or action thing. I see modesty as a heart thing. I like asking the question, 'why?' instead of passing judgement. That little word can get you further than a 'no' ever could. 
Why do you choose to dress like that? Why did you choose those shorts? Why did you choose to flirt with every male in the vicinity?  Why do you cheat? Why do you take nude photographs? Why do you choose not to go to church?  Why do you go to church? Why do you cuss? Why do you wear/not wear makeup? Why do you self-harm? Why do you blog? Why do you choose to live? Why are you who you are? 


That word takes you places. 


That word means more than a thousand judgments passed. Why takes you to the heart and meaning. Why shows parts of you, you wouldn't normally expose - heart issues, heart conditions. Some reasons are good, some are bad. Sometimes our reasons for the seemingly innocent, the good, the pure, can be for not so innocent. 
Sometimes we choose to go to church because we want to be seen as holier, sometimes we cuss because it makes us feel stronger. Sometimes we blog to be seen, to feel good. Sometimes we flirt because we like the control. Sometimes we do things without even thinking why. 
Most of you may never think of the word modesty. When I was younger I thought of modesty as a girl in a skirt or long pants. I thought of Baptists (the cliche modest church). I thought of no makeup or no boyfriends. I thought of boring. 

But modesty isn't boring. 
Modesty is hard.

Because there are no set rules. 

Modesty is about  the Word of God. Modesty is about what Christ says and not what the world says. Modesty is about setting aside your principles and taking God's. That's where you will find real modesty. 

Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. 14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean //Romans 14:13-14

Sometimes modesty isn't about what's good and bad...but what's causing others to stumble. A good many of my friends don't watch TV simply because television is an area they feel they stumble. However, some of my friends love TV and can quote some of the most popular shows. A few of my friends wear skirts...I wear shorts. Some of my friends drink beer...I've only tried it once. Some of my friends listen to profanity in music...I rarely listen to the new secular music. Some of my friends wear leggings without a skirt..I never have. 
Who's right?
Who's wrong?
Is one more modest than the other?
I firmly believe that it isn't about the right and the wrong, but about the heart and about the why. And I believe it's about the, "are you being a stumbling block for others?" 

Some people watch more adult movies than I do. Some people love horror movies, but watching The Abominable Bride made me like a little girl again as I tiptoed into the bathroom that night, trying to convince myself that there was no mad gunmen behind the shower curtain. 

Never again, I said. Never again will I watch ANYTHING like that. 
Was the Abominable Bride a sin? Probably not.
 Some friends loved it...but I on the other hand needed comforting like a two year old hearing about monsters in the closet. I can't handle The Walking Dead or even some Merlin BBC episodes. Fear is my enemy, is one I fight everyday. And in that I have to be mindful of what my brain consumes. 
Sometimes our actions can cause others to stumble. I would ask that any of my horror loving friends would not turn on anything of the kind when I visit, simply out of common courteousy. Simply because it affects my need to trust in God. 
Some of my brothers struggle in cussing. Out of common courteousy my family doesn't watch movies with high levels of profanity, and we shy away from secular YA books. 
A friend of my family's struggles in alcohol and my dad use to be an alcoholic beer wrong? Not if used in moderation, but out of common courteousy my family chooses to not keep wine or beer in the house. 
Is certain clothes labeled wrong in the Bible? The Bible doesn't even mention clothes...not enough to help us today anyway. But it does focus on the beauty of following Christ. It focuses on loving one another, on not passing judgement and not being a stumbling block for others. And sometimes that means letting go of a pair of jeans that covered you perfectly but may tempt another to sin. 

Something so simple can mean so much to someone who truly wants to treat you like the jewel you are. 

And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin. Luke 17:1-2

I believe that as Christians we need to learn to be modest in both our actions and dress, to understand how other's think, and to take in consideration where you live and Whose you are. In a letter to the Church, Paul advises some of the Believers not to eat meat because some friends thought it was wrong. Eating meat was not a sin, but it was becoming a division in the church because some swore it was wrong and others thought it right. 
To keep the peace, Paul advises that they not eat meat and not become a stumbling block for other Christians. 
I find this true today, and though not in the realm of meat, I feel strongly that we should not argue over petty things like who is right and who is wrong, but take in account WHOSE we are. If you realize that those around you are struggling in an issue, feel free to address it, feel free to encourage, to be there for your friend, and to perhaps even give up something in being a friend and sister or brother in Christ. 

If that means giving up that beer, wearing a longer shirt, or skipping the horror movie, so be it. I'm learning that modesty goes far beyond clothing, far beyond anything the Church has addressed yet here in America. God sees modesty as something that goes far deeper, far more to the heart than we tend to think. 
Modesty is different for everyone. If I went to a Muslim county I would wear long skirts out of respect. If I visited a friend on the farm I would try to wear clothes that would be appropriate for the country and hard work. If I go to the beach I wear clothes appropriate for the beach. And if I visit the city I try my best to not look like the country bumpkin visiting...because adapting is what I like to do best. Adapting to where you are is a must, is a sign of respect and love to those you love. 

People are responsible for their sins. We in of ourselves are not the cause for what others choose to think because of how we dress or act. We need to spot blaming others for OUR sins. We need to stop laying blame on who we are. 
But out of respect for ourselves and those around us we need to be aware of how people see us, the impression we are giving others, regardless if what we are doing is right or wrong (like drinking beer at a party or flirting with the opposite sex). 

Be prepared to adapt. Be prepared to respect those around you. Give them the respect you yourself want. 
And respect yourself. Show others that you care, that you see yourself as a Child of God, that you mean something, that you care to show a modest spirit, a modest life. 


Allow that to be your daily question to yourself. Why. 

That can make all the difference, can change your life, can change your whole perspective. 

Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak.
1 Corinthians 8:9 

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6 of your thoughts

  1. I love this! So often people think of Christians as being very judgy, and oftentimes they are right! But the Bible doesn't really ever talk about a lot of the things that Christians are portrayed as being judgy about, and it really just does depend.

    1. You're so right Hanne! It does depend - it depends on where the person is at on life, the condition of their heart, who you are with, etc. God calls us to be the Light of Christ, and that means portraying His love in our actions and in our dress and just in daily life. <3 <3 <3

  2. Great post, Kara!
    We are not only modest for others but we should be modest for ourselves because we respect ourselves.
    Thanks for sharing this! :)

    1. Thanks so much Sarah!!!! Modesty is a sign of respect for everyone - including ourselves - and I wish Christians (and others!) would take that into consideration. Blessings!

  3. I love this post! I've found I love all of your posts actually. It's just a recurring thing I suppose.


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