Love Covers a Multitude of Immodesty
by: Shauna Wallace
Several days after an annual family gathering with my sister, her family, my dad and his wife, I received an email from my sister on the subject of modesty: mine. I really wanted to be offended, but for some reason, I couldn’t. The area of concern, my décolleté, otherwise known as the chest. She pointed out how revealing some of my shirts were, especially since I’m short, which sometimes gives those who are taller (which is the case for most people) a straight shot down. She went on to suggest that even small-chested women (like me) need to be careful with revealing too much of the décolleté.
I reflected on what I’d worn while we were together. A few selections came to mind, ones I wouldn’t have thought twice about. Until her email. One wasn’t terribly low, but its relaxed neckline easily exposed its contents with a bend of the waist or a glance from above. Another was a dress with a “V” neckline that plunged into the area where most women have cleavage. I simply have skin and bone. Nothing sexy about that! But on second thought, it was low.
I thank God for giving me a sister willing to speak truth in love. Willing to take a risk to protect the men in her life and me. And I thank God that something so simple as an undershirt can bring such a sense of security and rightness. And that’s all it took. A few different colors and styles, and I dress with no nagging doubts as to whether or not something is questionable. I feel Secure. Right. Free!
Paul writes, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being” (in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24). He continues, “Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God” (verse 31).
If all things are permissible, but not necessarily beneficial, the question becomes: How do we dress to the glory of God? Since the scriptures don’t offer specific measurements for hemlines and necklines, we must look at what the Bible says about how to conduct ourselves in principle.
We’ll find that how we dress is a matter of the heart. A matter of what is most important to us. Who or what we worship. The beauty we value: outside or inside.
First Timothy 2:9-10 is oft-quoted regarding modesty: “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works.”
For sure, we are to be modest, seemly, and well arranged, in the Greek, dressing in a way that does not draw attention to ourselves, is not extreme or excessive, but rather simple and reserved. But Paul goes on to say we should adorn ourselves with good works. What people see of us and therefore know of us shouldn’t be how cute we dress or great we look, but how we act and what our insides project on our outsides.
As 1 Peter 3:3-4 expounds, “Do not let your adornment be merely outward – arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel – rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.” I don’t interpret either passage to mean we shouldn’t style our hair, wear jewelry, or wear nice clothes. These things shouldn’t be our only adornment; rather, our utmost priority should beauty as defined by a gentle and quiet spirit.
Modesty is also a matter of loving our brethren. Romans 14:13 instructs us to “resolve this, not to put a stumbling block or a cause to fall in our brother’s way.” Whether it’s deliberate or not, when we dress in a manner that draws attention to our womanly features, or we allow our daughters to, we take the risk of causing men of all ages to stumble.
It is not breaking news that a man’s desire is stimulated by what he sees. It’s hard enough for men to remain pure in their thoughts when they’re visually assaulted with immodesty everywhere they go and every direction they look. We have the opportunity to guard their eyes and hearts by appropriately covering areas of our bodies that might stir desire. By making modest choices, we can refuse to be a stumbling block that causes men to fall.
With current fashions, it’s hard. And to be perfectly honest, the desire to be desired in a sexy sort of way is natural, in its biblical context: marriage. I can be sexy and desirable all I want, in the privacy of my relationship with my husband. It’s not a NO or a DON’T. It’s a YES! And an amen! For marriage. For your husband’s eyes only.
“Love will cover a multitude of sin” (I Peter 4:8). Our love for God and for our brethren covers a multitude of sins.
Lord, Help us to “put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts” (Romans 13:14) as we become wholly Yours in our fashion and dress.
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An inspirational writer, teacher, and speaker, Shauna Wallace burns with passion to see women experience the fullness of God’s grace, faithfulness, peace, joy, protection, and provision by becoming wholly His. Finding hope and life in God’s word motivates her to help other women discover God’s power to transform lives. Transparent and real, she opens her life and heart to encourage others. She and her husband, James, serve their church, community, and clients of their custom home building business. As a homeschooling stay-at-home mother of four, Shauna treasures the privilege of being James’ helpmate and training her children in the ways of the Lord.
Check Out Shauna’s Blog Here!