The Soul Surfer movie has brought up some discussion on various Christian forums in regards to modesty and has sparked a discussion between my husband and myself.
I know there are different levels of what some women and men consider to be modest. Some feel it is only modest to be in a tunic covered head to toe with the eyes showing only, then there is the other extreme where you can talk to a sixteen year old girl brought up and raised in the church feeling she is being modest practically living in a bikini or the French women who thinks she is perfectly modest on the topless beach.
Due to the fact that cultures are different and we depend on the Holy Spirit to convict our hearts and others on various issues of sin in our lives I cannot define modesty on an amount of skin that you cover or do not cover.
After reading so many comments that we cannot allow our men to lust after these women by seeing them dressed in such a way, my husband and I have pondered and discussed this thought process especially considering the fact we are raising two boys.
It is my feeling that way too much emphasis is put on the amount of skin that is shown… The thing is, no matter how much I try to shelter my boys from seeing to much skin they will see it at some point or another. They will go to a beach and see women in bikinis (not their mom, but others), they will walk on the streets of certain cities full of Spanish people (of certain cultures) and see clothes that fit like spandex. Depending on what country we are in (we do missions) they might see a whole lot more within tribes… I have personally been with unreached people groups in South America and hope to take my entire family at some point and of course I will let my boys minister with these tribes even though the men wear a thong and the women may just wear something to cover their bottom half.
I also define lust as… a man truly imagining doing things with you and entertaining that imagination or sinful act, outside of a marriage covenant. I have been dressed head to toe, missionary style skirts and tops, and still had men look at me in a way like they are “undressing you”. So is the answer for women to put on more clothes?
What about teaching our boys that every woman they see is a mom, daughter, sister… That she is a precious jewel created by God that He has given to a particular man to cherish, protect and honor. My husband and I have chosen to teach our sons to respect women in this way. We are also teaching them how to “Cast out all un-Godly thoughts” and to adhere to Romans 8:9: “You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you… ”
We are focusing on teaching them what is sin, why it is sin and how to repent. We know it is not just a women’s job to not lead a man into temptation by the way she dresses, it is also the man’s responsibility to control his thoughts and not allow his thoughts to develop into such a sin as lust. It is about finding and maintaining Purity Of Heart.
God has given us a gift of being attracted to the opposite sex, this is not sin, however it can be if one allows the initial attraction to go further in your mind that causes sin to develop. So for us it is about equipping our children with the tools they need to not allow the wonderful gift of attraction that God has given to them to develop into sin. To basically be “keyed into” the Holy Spirit.
Internet porn is a horrible thing and I would like to protect my boys from it as well as my husband, but I cannot all the time. My husband repairs computers for a living and there have been several times where the operating system repairs he is making was due to the fact that someone has gone to a porn site and had a virus or multiple viruses infect the computer. During the repair images may flash while trying to get the pop-ups to shutdown… I used to be paranoid he was lusting and it did cause some very open discussions within our marriage. After praying about it and asking the Holy Spirit to help me I learned that I was the one who had the problem. I had just had our first baby and I was insecure with what I looked like. I was afraid I was not good enough….
In time as I have become more secure in who I am in Christ those worries have dissolved. Interestingly I do not think he has had any of those repairs to do in over a year. Not that I want my husband to accidentally view anything but I am secure and confident if it happened my husband knows how to put any thought and perversion down to God’s feet. I am also confident that through God we have been given specific tools that we know how to use which will prevent us from having more temptation than we could bear.
I know these are random thoughts paragraphed together but I do hope they make some sense and that I have not been offensive.
By the way as far as individual women being modest, I believe they should respond to the Holy Spirit in their own lives. We also need to examine our thoughts in the message we are trying to send. Obviously in a tribe the woman is not trying to send a sexual, sensual message with the way she carries herself. I think in America we have a lot of women living in denial with the reason they dress the way they do. Many want and desire to draw sexual attention to themselves.
I have seen women on the beach in a certain two piece that I think is dumb but they are just in a bathing suit because that is their bathing suit and they “went to a beach”. On the other side I have seen other women who are fully clothed purposely walking in a certain way to do everything they can to draw attention to themselves.
In conclusion I just feel, as with most things, the Holy Spirit examines and knows our heart. We must allow the Holy Spirit to do so not only for our own health and peace but also so that we may be a light for those around us.