I’ve got a great post for you today. I asked a good friend of mine, Matt Boyer, to answer a few questions for us on the topic of modesty and he graciously consented to do so. Modesty is often addressed by women but this is a rare chance to hear a guy’s view on the issue. Matt does a wonderful job answering these questions while showing both a guy’s perspective and a biblical perspective! Enjoy!
Question #1: Do you think modesty is something women should be concerned about, or is it not really very important to consider when choosing clothing?
Answer: Indeed, it is. In fact, scripture specifically commands it: I Timothy 2:8-10, “I desire….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”. Considering that these instructions were given in the context of a local church, it would seem that the implication is that women should dress and behave in such a way as to avoid causing distraction when the Body gathers. Distraction could come from either (1) indecent clothing that would catch the attention of men and feed sexual desires (hence the reference to propriety), or (2) from very costly attire that could incite other, less prosperous women to jealousy (thus, moderation). Conversely, scripture has nothing positive to say about women who dress immodestly (see Prov. 7:10 which, while it addresses far more than the attire of the woman it refers to, does include her dress as one of the ways she entices men).
Question # 2: Do you believe modesty is only about clothing, or is it also a heart/attitude issue?
Answer: Modesty in attire and behavior is an outworking of a proper attitude of submission toward God and one’s husband (I Peter 3:1-6). It should not be seen as a way of earning favor with God or obtaining spiritual maturity; rather it should be a result of the Holy Spirit applying God’s Word to the heart of the believer. The more we learn of God, and the more mature we become, the more we will desire to obey his commands.
Question # 3: Do you believe modesty is only at the discretion of the woman wearing the clothing, or is it also the role/responsibility of another to ensure a woman is dressing modestly? If so, who has this main role/responsibility, and why?
Answer: I believe that the husband has the scriptural authority/responsibility to lead his wife in submitting to scripture in every area. Additionally, a woman who dresses immodestly exposes herself to greater danger from men around her who lack self-control, and it is clearly the husband’s job to protect her from harm. Therefore I think he should have enough concern for her spiritual and physical well-being that he would point out if something in her wardrobe is inappropriate. That is not to say that husbands have to choose their wife’s entire wardrobe (as this could result in major fashion problems), only that they should care enough to be involved-and their wives should heed their counsel.
As to other counselors/authority figures (for single ladies), I’m not sure I could give you a chapter and verse to back this up but I would think it would be very wise to address any modesty-related questions to parents/siblings (particularly fathers and brothers, as they would know first-hand what attracts inappropriate attention from guys).
Question # 4: Do you feel it can be modest and feminine for a woman to wear pants provided they are not too tight?
Answer: Yes; in fact, sometimes it is more modest, considering that there are some very inadequate skirts out there. Also, there are some activities for which pants are better suited.
Question # 5: If a woman dresses modestly is it easier for men to keep their mind focused on the Lord when speaking with her?
Answer: Yes. A man’s passions and desires are, largely, visually driven and it is therefore much easier to keep our focus right when in the presence of a well-dressed young lady.
Let me say at this point that I do not blame men’s struggles with lust entirely, or even mostly, on women’s attire or behavior. If a man stumbles (or dives) into sin he bears the blame for his own actions/thoughts. One can not be tempted to do something that he has no desire to do, and we often find objects for our desires whether or not they present themselves. Sin ultimately begins in the depraved heart, something which no one other than God has the power to change. That having been said, however, women certainly have the choice of whether to be a help or a hindrance to us in this battle. You can be a great encouragement, or a stumbling block depending on how you choose to dress and conduct yourself. I, for one, would like to express my appreciation to those of you who are concerned enough about this issue to even be reading about it, and much more so to be considering it as you make everyday decisions concerning your attire and conduct.
Matt Boyer, son of Rick and Marilyn from The Learning Parent, is a young man with a noticeable passion for Christ. I met Matt at our local church where he ministers to the body in song, as an usher and Small Groups leader. Some of his interests range from music, reading, politics and working with his hands.
I’ve been blessed by his excellent insights on a variety of topics including the one above.
Thank you so much Matt, for your willingness to share your thoughts with us. We so appreciate it!
Click here to view my post “Modesty: From the Heart”.