There was a day, nearly eight years ago, that I came to a startling realization: I no longer cared about being modest.
I was tired of trying to camouflage my body. I was tired of trying to be Miss Invisible. I wondered what the point of modesty was because it certainly hadn’t provided protection. No matter how plain I was dressed, there still were wandering eyes…and sometimes hands. The only logical explanation I could come up with was that the female body was inheritantly evil, and therefore, needed to be covered.
I shudder now. I was so close to throwing modesty out the window. Honestly, it’s only the mercy of God that kept me from doing so.
Though I am not sure how I got the idea, I grew up thinking that modesty was to protect me from evil. I thought that modesty was to, more or less, “keep men from lusting.” If something bad happened to me, it was my fault – I must have dressed provocatively.
Thank God, I was wrong.
I began looking into what the Bible says about modesty and lust, and what I found unnerved me. The verses that speak on modesty and sobriety say nothing about the need to do so because of a lustful eye. On the contrary, when Jesus spoke about lust, He said “that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28) Funny how the clothing of the woman (or lack thereof) is not mentioned.
Why is that?
It’s because lust is a matter of the heart. “What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man.” Mark 7:20-23
Because lust is a heart issue, my modesty does not solve a man’s lust problem.
The idea that modesty is the cure for lust degrades both men and women. Think about it: it gives the connotation that men are sexual beasts who have no control over themselves. That’s a very warped view of male sexuality.
Likewise, it portrays women as sexual objects, created for the pleasure of men and to be used at male discretion. How perverse! If the female body is the problem, why is the book of Song of Solomon in the Bible?
Please hear me clearly. Ladies, I am not suggesting that it’s okay for us to flaunt our bodies. Immodesty is always wrong.
However, I am suggesting we take a step back and ask ourselves why modesty is important to us.
I value modesty because God clearly commands it – not because it protects me or because it keeps a man from lusting after my body. I could wear a “tent” and there’d still be a few perverted-minded men who’d want what’s underneath. And while I strive to be modest, I now understand that my modesty doesn’t cure a lustful heart.
You see, the value I place on modesty hasn’t changed. But why I do it, has changed.
So, ask yourself: “Why is modesty important to me?”
Sometimes why you do what you do is just as important as what you do.