by Michelle Fitzpatrick Thomas
Controversy has been swirling the last couple of weeks about the Super Bowl half-dressed, I mean half-time, show. I didn’t watch the show live—I never do because it’s usually quite hedonistic and disgusting—but I’ve seen pictures that I wish I could wash off of my eyeballs.
I’m not sure what the NFL was thinking when they decided to feature skanky women shaking their behinds, grabbing their crotches, and dancing on a stripper pole in the half-time show of the biggest football game of the entire year. But as they say, “Sex sells,” so they were likely thinking about dollar signs as they were salivating over the “entertainment.”
When my husband Trevor and I married 22 years ago, he was a high school teacher in his 20s, surrounded by beautiful young things who often wore less than sufficient clothing, as teenagers are prone to do. I was often jealous and insecure and didn’t know how to deal with my feelings, and unfortunately, it became a vicious cycle of mistrust and fear and arguments and tears.
Eventually something clicked in my spirit, and I knew that I couldn’t go on the way I was. My fears and insecurities were out of control. I was miserable, and I was making life difficult for my young husband.
I got some help from Christian friends at work who had been married many years longer than I and who had struggled with some of the same issues, as I now know is common for women—likely because of the airbrushed “role models” to which we compare ourselves as teens and young women. God slowly began to heal my heart and deliver me from many of my insecurities. I’m thankful that after years of choosing to trust the Lord with my husband and praying Scripture over him, I rarely struggle with fear or insecurities in that area of my life any more. However, when too much flesh is on display in public, it can still make things difficult for both of us.
I’m sure this is common knowledge, but men are visually stimulated, much more so than are women. And even if females don’t know this intellectually—or refuse to admit it—they know well that it gets the attention of males when they fail to cover their bodies adequately.
There are various standards of modesty, even within the Christian community. Some believers think that women should wear only long dresses, while others are okay with Daisy Dukes and spaghetti straps and bikinis.
As part of the declining moral fiber of our nation, modesty is sadly going by the wayside. Maybe understanding the importance of modest dress will help to strengthen our resolve to honor the Lord with our bodies and to teach our daughters to do the same.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary defines modesty as “the quality of behaving and especially dressing in ways that do not attract sexual attention.” This doesn’t mean dressing like a frump or in out-of-date, unattractive clothing. It simply means covering our bodies sufficiently so as not to attract sexual attention. Modest dressers can be stylish and classy; they attract the right kinds of attention and show respect for themselves and others.
God gave clothing to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden after sin entered the picture because sin taints things. Their eyes were opened, and innocence was lost. We are to cover our bodies adequately because of sin.
When men (and teenage boys) see short shorts combined with long, tanned legs, they have a really hard time thinking godly thoughts. Add to that cleavage or skin-tight clothes that leave little to the imagination, and we’re talking about leading men—even godly men—down a slippery slope directly into sin. Jesus told us in Matthew 5:28 that “Anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
I don’t know many reputable women who want the guilt on our consciences of leading men into sin. Our Heavenly Father highly values pure thoughts (“Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8), and I have a strong suspicion that it displeases Him when His sons struggle with impure thoughts or worse because of females’ immodest dress.
Elisabeth Elliott once said, “The fact that I am a woman does not make me a different kind of Christian, but the fact that I am a Christian makes me a different kind of woman.” I love that. As Christians, we are to be in the world but not of it (1 John 2:15-17), so we certainly shouldn’t take our fashion cues from Hollywood harlots or our moral instructions from gyrating floozies.
My encouragement to my fellow females is let’s commit to dress like ladies. Let’s show respect for ourselves by covering our bodies, which will help our brothers in Christ to maintain godly thoughts when they are around us. And let’s dress our girls in clothing that teaches them the same. We are daughters of The King of Kings, so we should dress like the princesses that we are. I truly believe that a pure heart that manifests in modest dress pleases the Father.
And remember ladies, “Like a gold ring in a pig’s snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion” (Proverbs 11:22).