What is modesty? Modesty is a way to express purity, consideration and wisdom. Modesty protects ourselves and others from sinful thoughts and desires related to the body. Modesty honors God with our bodies in a world that was perfect and holy when God created it, but which has fallen into sin. Modesty helps preserve the joys that God intends for marriage until you are ready for marriage, while immodesty threatens those joys.
We’ll get to some specifics later, but we’re going to look at the background to modesty first. Without the background, modesty just becomes a set of rules that you’ll resent because you don’t see the point.
Why do we need modesty?
We need modesty because the romantic attraction between men and women, older guys and older girls, is very strong. God created romantic attraction, and it was perfectly good when he made it. But Adam and Eve rebelled against their good creator in the garden of Eden, and now all of us are born sinners. We don’t like doing things God’s way, and we often twist God’s good gifts by using them in sinful ways.
Because physical attraction is a very strong force, it can be a force for great good or for great harm. It can help form loving marriages and happy homes, or it can damage individuals and families very deeply.
Fire and what it’s good for
As the saying goes, “Fire is a good servant and a bad master.” You like fire in your fireplace or campfire. You do not like it destroying your home or the nearby state park. The same is true of physical attraction. It does good when it stays within the limits God has wisely appointed for it. It does harm outside of those limits.
The way we dress and act can help ourselves and others enjoy God’s good gift of romantic attraction in his time and his way, for our good and his glory-or our clothing and behavior can damage ourselves and others as fire destroys forests and homes.
We’ll look more next time at how modesty expresses purity, consideration, and wisdom. You could start to think about it, though, between now and then. Try to guess what I’m going to say!
By Katharine Birkett
Author, The Great Latin Adventure
Vintage “Waiting and Hoping” image courtesy of Karen’s Whimsy