WHEN YOU’RE A modesty cop, you must always be ready to notice and call out any offender! Normally it goes something like this…
I will be at a youth event and look up from my yummy, greasy pizza to see my friend laughing and talking. Little does she know that every time she leans down you can see right down her shirt. I have to alert her immediately!
Then she gets up to get a drink and her bra strap is showing!! Oh no! There are all of these young men in our youth group here and she is walking around dressed like that?! Didn’t she do the modest check before she left the house? Doesn’t she know you bend down and do a couple jumping jacks to make sure your outfit covers all the risky spots? Didn’t her mother teach her that showing too much skin is basically the 8th deadly sin?
Well, apparently not and now it’s come to this. I, her loyal friend, must discreetly catch her attention and remind her to fix her shirt. I really want to buy her a turtle neck and Bible too asap but… Okay, here she comes back. Now is the time…
“Psst! Hey!” I whisper across the table. Never mind the two guys now looking at me wondering why I’m whispering to someone clear across the table.
She looks at me so confused. I awkwardly point to my collar bone which just confuses her more. Then I pull up my shirt to my neck. Then she gets it. She laughs and readjusts her shirt back to a modest position.
“Thanks, modesty cop!” she says in a sarcastic manner.
Another scenario I find myself frequently in is this:
My friends and I will be walking around some camp ground or conference at a youth camp of somewhere like IHC or Youth Challenge. To my horror, I will see a girl whose skirt is just too far above her knees. Why on earth would she ever wear that to a holiness conference? Maybe I should go suggest some good reading material about dressing modest… has she heard of Wonderfully Odd? (shameless self plug)
So if you couldn’t tell, those examples were a bit sarcastic, but loosely based on real life situations that have happened. Now you know what it’s like to be a modesty cop, but here are some real life confessions…
- I don’t understand immodesty. I’m not sure why but I don’t struggle with modesty. I never really have. Yes, I may find an occasional shirt that’s too low and really want to wear it or a skirt that’s too tight and want it because it’s so cute, but even then I can remind myself about the standards my parents have taught me to uphold and the convictions God has placed on my heart. (Please do not take this as me saying I’m perfect! I am far from it and have many shortcomings and faults, one of which I’m about to confess… so keep reading). Because I don’t struggle in this area, it’s hard for me to understand why others do. I can’t understand why anyone could throw away their holiness conservative heritage and dress in a way that looks so provocative and worldly. How can you say you’re a Christian and dress like that?
- Sometimes I forget that it’s a heart issue. Amidst a generation that just drifts further and further from holding conservative standards, I am beginning to understand the whole point behind being modest in the first place and most of all, I’m learning what it means to have a modest heart. (Ashley wrote a great article about your heart’s closet last week). Modesty is more than just what you wear. Actually the definition of modesty isn’t really about clothes…
noun mod·es·ty ˈmä-də-stē
the quality of not being too proud or confident about yourself or your abilities
So there you have it, true modesty is really humility. I think we could add to that definition and say that it is giving the glory to God. Any person, male or female, who has a humble spirit, and strives to give God the glory, is modest. I believe that with a modest spirit comes modest dress.
- Sometimes, I am too judgmental. It’s so hard to not judge people’s hemlines, but it’s even harder to love them even though they are doing something you disagree with. When I read the Bible, I see over and over how Jesus didn’t point out a person’s faults without offering a solution.
I’m learning that like Jesus, I need to be merciful too. Just because I don’t agree with the way someone is dressed doesn’t mean I have the right to judge them.
He told the woman at the well of her many past husband’s and even revealed the sin of her current relationship, but then he offered her living water. Jesus told Peter that he would deny Him three times, but after Peter did that, Jesus was still merciful and forgave him. And I’m learning that like Jesus, I need to be merciful too. Just because I don’t agree with the way someone is dressed doesn’t mean I have the right to judge them. Who knows where they are at in their walk with Christ. They may be struggling to understand God and His love and mercy. The last thing they need is for me to come and tell them how to dress. What they do need is someone to be their friend. Everyone needs someone that will just love them where they are, but not leave them there. Putting people in modesty jail or writing them tickets isn’t going to end the issue of immodesty. The way to solve this problem is to take the hand of our sisters in Christ, help them and love them as they draw closer to God. I’m learning that love and mercy goes farther than judgment. Jesus said, “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?” (Matthew 7:3 KJV) It’s so easy to look at others and say how can they even be a Christian and dress like that? It can be harder sometimes to ask ourselves: Does my clothing honor and glorify God? Furthermore to ask ourselves, “Do I have a modest attitude?”
- I’m quitting my job. Well, this last confession is more of a statement. I am done being a modesty cop! I want to point people to Jesus. Help them see their problem, not by judgment, but by loving them to Jesus. I don’t want to turn my sirens on and pull people over and tell them what they are doing wrong, because that’s God’s job. I hope that when people meet me they think, “Wow! She loves Jesus, and I know she loves me too.” I hope they don’t think that only because of how I dress, but because of how I treat them. One of my favorite quotes is this: “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”
So are you a modesty cop? Or do you find yourself in modesty jail? Either way, God has grace to meet you where you are and help you be where He wants you to be.