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The years teach much which the days never knew.
–Ralph Waldo Emerson


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“…that women would adorn themselves…”

…in modest apparel.”

I’ve been mulling this over (and over) and over. This morning I was browsing Facebook then the Drudge Report and the Seattle Times. And you know… there’s a common thread (pun unintentional — but I think there’s something to it) and a common appearance. It’s not just the blurring the lines between decency and indecency or masculinity and femininity (certainly not in the SeattleTimes). But it’s more than that — I’m not sure it’s driven by culture today or culture of thirty years ago or what. I’m not even touching on the mutilation by piercings and tattoos, by the way. But there’s a blurring of God’s creation. There’s a distortion of God’s creation. A mutilation of God’s creation. I see immodesty as a bit of all three — and that’s immodesty among men as well as among women. Immodesty infers that there is nothing sacred — nothing warranting covering and nothing warranting privacy and nothing warranting reverence. O— women need to get this matter right. I don’t mean that there’s a specific clothing style or code or uniform… but there is need to women to guard their bodies — guard the treasure of their body and not flaunt it. In addition to that, there’s such a need for women to guard womanhood — girlhood — femininity! What a blessing God created us male and female — we are different one from another. What a great gift this is. Immodesty destroys purity and unisex or gender-nonspecific clothing destroys God’s distinctive design.
What that says to me, therefore, is that immodesty is carelessness or disregard of God’s design and eternal purpose. Immodesty is arrogant. Immodesty is rude… it seeks its own way, it is easily provoked, it behaves unseemly. Immodesty isn’t kind, it puffs up, it exalts self and doesn’t seek the good of others – therefore, immodesty is not charitable… or is not loving. I used those analogies bcz in the end, it’s not love for the brethren if we’re immodest as believers. If, as believers, we dress immodestly, we’re sending not only mixed signals to the brethren, but mixed signals to the watching world as well. We’re saying outward appearance doesn’t matter… God’s special design and order is not all that important and outward appearance isn’t a “spiritual” matter. But I’d say that it is… the outward is simply revealing the inward.
So what is modesty? Modesty is moderation, decency — modesty is propriety, it’s not forward or arrogant. Modesty “… is synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle. unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of the female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honour.” [this definition, in part, from Noah Webster 1828]
Do we see very much fear (as in the sense of propriety and honour in dress and demeanor) in dress and behaviour today? No… not much fear at all. In fact, the “No Fear” slogan has sort of pervaded our culture, thought and behaviour and is totally contrary to God’s design. Immodesty is contrary to God’s design. “Gender-unspecific” is totally contrary to God’s design and yet is common — normal — but normal doesn’t necessarily mean right or appropriate.

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  • Vikki Goedmakers

    Pamela,
    once again right on target. I just had this conversation with my pastor and his wife on saturday. I had dropped my daughter off to her youth service and one of the young ladies in charge was dressed improperly. We are seeing this invade the church and we have to be concerned and stand up for what is right. I am trying to instill in my children my son included that we are called to be modest. One can be fashionable and still be modest I tell them and I believe this. I want to look nice for my husband yet I want to be modest and these are the conversations I have with my girls especially. I would suggest to your readers to look at the Generations of Virtue website. It has some wonderful resources.
    Have a blessed day,
    Vikki

  • Lanita

    Pam,
    Thank you for today and yesterday’s posts. They are both so bold and forthright, yet done in a loving manner. We don’t see enough of this today. I try so hard to teach my young daughters’ to dress modestly and discreetly, yet they are bombarded everywhere, including church, as you know, with immodest “role models”. Keep up the great writing. I enjoy reading and gleaning from you.

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