Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Titus Twosday! Modesty 2010 part 2

This Titus Twosday is all about modesty in 2010. Some of you read my previous post on this topic.  This time I really want to hear from you!  So if you have read this much of this post you have to comment!  DEAL! Okay I am going to ask some questions and you can answer any one of them or all of them.  That is your choice.  Here we go!!!

1.  What is most disturbing to you about people dressed immodest?
2.  How does immodesty effect you as a believer?  Do you have to pay special attention to guard your heart?  What are the specific ways in which you do that?
3.  Is there a general standard for everyone, or is there room for "if you got it flaunt it"?
4.  Do you think most people dressed immodestly are aware of their possible offense and disturbance...or more importantly that they may be lead another into sin?
5.  is there a limit to one individuals responsibility to..."not cause a brother to stumble"?  Example...someone in your church says it causes them to sin when you wear green.  You are completely covered but they are lead to sin because of some childhood deal.  What is your responsibility as a believer to help that other believer in their sin?

Okay I think that is enough for now.....

Here is a sneak peak at what we will be talking about in the next few weeks.
Can a woman be a missionary (outside the home) and have a family?  What is a woman's role in the command to go and make disciples? 

Excited to hear from you all!



Amanda said...

#1 - I'm in Norway. The new way to beat the heat is just to ditch the clothes all together. I've seen many lovely bras lately - climbing mountains and at the beach. The worst offender was the old man in a thong today (bleck!) It has been interesting to observe the European mindset. Generally speaking, I don't think they care much about exposed skin or sex but they are adamantly against violence (it is illegal to spank your children in this country). I don't want to cause my brother to stumble (!) but I've wondered lately how much of it is cultural.

Nicolle said...

Amanda I think you have a point. America is so different from other countries in how they view nudity. I may save some of these thought for another post because I think I am full of them. However at any rate we need to be aware of how we can make another stumble.

joven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Amy said...

1. What is most disturbing to you about people dressed immodest?

I'm not really disturbed by people that aren't believers being immodest. I'm most disturbed when believers dress immodest. The immodesty among Christians can be astounding. You'd think going to church would be a safe place, but in reality it can be one of the most dangerous places for igniting lust among our brothers.

2. a) How does immodesty effect you as a believer? b) Do you have to pay special attention to guard your heart? c) What are the specific ways in which you do that?

a) I am committed to modesty. I'm not actively looking for immodesty so that I can point it out, it typically blatantly "pops up" in my face. When I see immodesty among other Christian women I don't really know how to approach it. Some people shove it off as being legalistic. We have freedom in Christ, yes, but we absolutely do not have the freedom to wear what we please. That is just selfish: "You are not your own, for you were bought with a price." 1 Corinthians 6:20.

b/c) I have my husband look over everything I buy and I want his honest opinion. If there is any hint of immodesty it is returned without question. I am thankful for his scrutiny and am supremely grateful that I have a husband who will not let me leave the house with something questionable on. What an act of love to protect so many hearts!

Modesty is a heart issue. You can be covered head to toe and still be immodest.
Flirty? You're being immodest! It's not a personality trait! God doesn't call us to "flirt" with anyone, except our husbands. I've heard Christian ladies describe themselves as flirts and I have had to pick my jaw up off the ground. A flirt is defined as:
*talk or behave amorously, without serious intentions.
*a seductive woman who uses her sex appeal to exploit men.
*behave carelessly or indifferently
*playful behavior intended to arouse sexual interest
*Flirting is a common form of social interaction whereby one person obliquely indicates a romantic or sexual interest towards another. It can consist of conversation, body language, or brief physical contact.
Women of God! We are not called to do that! Absolutely not!!

Another aspect of immodesty are your eyes! Believe it or not, just like body language, your eyes can say so much without your mouth ever speaking a word. As can your walk and your conduct* (*manner of acting or controlling yourself).

Loud, boisterous? 1 Peter 3:4 says "You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God." (NLT). Nothing wrong with being out-going or adventurous, we are each created with unique personalities, but should keep those within the realms of pleasing God.

Carefully think out your actions, guard your hearts ladies! Let your heart be for no other than for your own husband and for Christ Jesus!

Amy said...

3. Is there a general standard for everyone, or is there room for "if you got it flaunt it"?
Definitely not cool with "if you got it flaunt it". Thighs, boobs, tight pants/shirts...call me legalistic, but I've read lots of articles, listened to several different programs, and straight up asked my husband "how much is too much?" and there should be very tight (no pun intended) boundaries. Personally I cannot wear a top that shows even the tops of my boobs. If they're peaking out they're teasing someone and I don't even want to know what thoughts would occur if I bent down. By covering up my most private places it's protecting me, my husband, other men, their wives, and it's giving glory to God! What Christian woman doesn't want that?
It's just flat out disrespectful too. You certainly wouldn't want your man looking at another woman. It would grieve me to know I had been making another woman's husband stumble. And it makes me sad for my husband and friends when they cause him to stumble. Respect and protection...now that is God glorifying and loving!

4. Do you think most people dressed immodestly are aware of their possible offense and disturbance...or more importantly that they may be lead another into sin?

5. Is there a limit to one individuals responsibility to..."not cause a brother to stumble"?

I'm combining these two questions into one big answer.
I think a lot of immodesty in believers is from pure ignorance. I think we use the "culture" as a guideline instead of the Word of God. I think lots of woman take the side of "It's not my problem that he can't control himself." Let me tell you something, it absolutely is your problem!

Amy said...

The remaining answer is an excerpt from Nancy Leigh DeMoss' "Modesty: Does God Really Care What I Wear?: Mixed Messages". Please take the time to read it. It's a good, easy read and so enlightening! *The bold font is her emphasis, not mine*

"We used the word picture that I got from Richard Baxter who was a pastor during the 1600s who said that "we as women need to walk in this world as if we were holding a candle walking into a room filled with straw or gunpowder."

We need to be so careful that we don't by our carelessness or our suggestiveness or anything about our appearance or our behavior, that we don't light a match to fuel fleshly or sinful lust on the part of men. And that this is part of our responsibility as women.

I tell you one of the reasons is that we are a family. In the Scripture, particularly in the New Testament, you see this concept of believers as being part of a family. We have relationships with one another, and we have to take care of each other and look after each other.

I'm thinking of the verse in 1 Timothy 5 that says, "Treat younger men like brothers, and older women like mothers, younger women like sisters, in [all] purity" (verses 1-2, NIV). You see, in the family of God, we are a family. That means we have to take care of each other, to think in terms of others and not just ourselves.

Amy said...

So we come today to another principle or a set of principles that relate to this matter of modesty that affect the way that we dress. Let's just put it under the umbrella calling it: the principle of edification.

The principle of edification. To edify means “to build up, to encourage, to strengthen.” In the Scripture we're told that we have a responsibility in the family of God to build one another up, to help each other, not just to live for ourselves. Hebrews chapter 10 tells us in verse 24, "Let us consider [think about] how to stir up one another to love and good works."

When we as women go into our churches or to the workplace, you go into your school, do you go thinking, “ How can I encourage these men to be more godly?” I’m a candle walking into that room. I have a lot of power, a lot of influence. And if I use that candle in the wrong way, I may cause a fire. I may cause an explosion.

The principle of edification says, "I'm willing to live according to the law of love." What is the law of love? It says, "I have a commitment to do what is best for others rather than wanting to live my life selfishly, just doing what pleases me." Romans 13 tells us that "Love does no wrong to a neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (verse 10).

You see, if you have rightly loved the men around you, the men in the Body of Christ, then you have fulfilled the law of God. The law of love says, "I don't want to defraud the men who are in my life, the men that God puts around me.

Now, what does it mean to defraud. That’s kind of an old-fashioned word that may not be familiar to everybody. It’s a word that means “to deceive, to lead someone on.” It means “to create an expectation that you cannot righteously fulfill; one who dresses in such a way that teases or tantalizes or tempts the men around her."

So as a woman dresses or walks or conducts herself in such a way that says, "I'm available; here's my body. Here's an invitation; come to my party," and then she says, "I don't really want you at my party. I didn't mean it. Oh, I don’t want to do that! I don't want to get sexually involved; I just wanted to dress in such a way that I was sending you an invitation." Then he says, "I'm accepting your invitation. I'm coming to your party."

She says, "Oh, no, no, that's not what I had in mind." You know what she just did. She defrauded that man. She created an expectation that she could not righteously fulfill Most Christian women I think don't realize when they're sending an invitation. They don't set out to defraud for the most part.

Now there are some women who do it intentionally and consciously, but I think most Christian women are kind of clueless when it comes to some of these things. We're just fitting in; we're just doing what everyone else does. We're doing what comes naturally and don't realize that we are defrauding.

You see, we are a part of a family, and we are responsible for those in our family who are weak. In many cases, that relates to the men. Now that doesn't make them stupid or foolish. It doesn't mean that we aren't weak; we're just weak in different areas as men and women.

Romans 15, verse 1 tells us: "We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves." Ladies, I don’t know how else to say it except to say, “If you’re in the family of God, if you’re a child of God, you have an obligation not to live for yourself.”

So in answer to the question, "Why should I have to change my clothing just because the guys around me can't handle it?" The answer to that is that we're family. We have an obligation to bear with the failings of weak and not to please ourselves.

Amy said...

So Romans 15 goes on, verse 2 "Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up." There's that word to edify him. "For even Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, 'The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me'” (verse 3).

You see, some men in this world and some men even in our churches are wicked. They have wicked hearts, wicked intentions, and they will lust after women regardless of what you can do to prevent it. So in the case of those men, why would you want to help them sin? Why you would want to put further temptation in their path? (Italization mine, I never considered this!)

But then there's a whole other category of men. I think there are a lot of these men in our churches. Men who are not wicked men. They have a heart for God; they want to be godly men; they're not wicked. But as one writer says, "Your brethren in Christ may be weak." Just weak.

I think David is an illustration of that. The Scripture says "He was a man after God's own heart" (see Acts 13:22). He was a man who wanted to please the Lord. He didn't get up that morning and say, "I think I'm going to lust after a woman. I think I'm going to commit adultery. I think I'm going to kill this man so I can have his wife." He didn't have wicked intent initially, but he was weak. He was particularly weak in the presence of an undressed woman, and most men would be.

I read a powerful article; it's anonymous, by a man. The article was called “ The Sin of Bathsheba,” and let me read to you a portion of what he says in that article. He says,

Your brethren in Christ may be weak, and the devil does all he can do to weaken them further. They're forced to live in a world where they are continually bombarded with sights, which are designed by the enemy of their souls to weaken their morals and destroy their purity of heart, and must Christian women help the devil to do his work? Must they make themselves a temptation to their brethren, even in the congregation of God?

Oh that you women could understand the fierce and bitter conflict in the souls of your brethren when you arouse their desires by the careless display of your feminine beauty. Never again would you plead for your right to dress as you please.

The fact is you have no such right. You have no right to destroy by your careless dress, the brother for whom Christ died. “You were bought with a price and are not your own” (see 1 Corinthians 6:20).
You are duty bound to glorify God in your body, to clothe that body not as you will but as God wills, and a little love for the souls of your brethren would remove forever from your heart the desire to dress as you please.

As Jesus said to us in Luke chapter 17, verse 1, "It's inevitable that stumbling blocks should come [there's going to be women in this world who dress sensually], but woe to those through whom they come!" (NASB).

Don’t think that you have to look like one of the models in Cosmopolitan magazine to be sexually stimulating to guys. In fact, in an upcoming session we’re going to talk about the specifics of things that many Christian women wear that are often sexually stimulating to men." (This is the end of the excerpt).

I encourage you all to listen to this series.

Again, absolutely no condemnation, no finger-pointing. There is no one in particular that I am speaking too. It's in my heart to send this to you all and I hope you can receive it with grace and take something from it.

In Christ,
Amy DiGiacomo

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Nicolle said...

Thanks Amy for all you insight!