I recently saw the question, “Should women wear pants?” Who knew that someone was still questioning this?
Until the early 1900’s, many states had laws preventing women from wearing pants. This attire belonged to men.
By 1930, women had done to this law what many Muslim women have done to the burqa. Said goodbye.
Seriously, people are still making this an issue? Yes, some are.
In fairness, it does seem that our young women have few role models for modesty these days.
It’s no secret–girls spend lots of money on their appearance. How do they decide what to purchase and wear? Who is their most powerful influence? Some would say, 90% the latest female pop-idol and 10% other. (nagging parent)
Fashion, yesterday and today, is market and culture driven. Parents and youth often make decisions based upon peer acceptance and then weigh those decisions against what they know inside to be right.
And then there is the church and the bible. Someone is often sticking their nose in where it is not wanted.
While Sister Snootful is quick to condemn the “improperly dressed”, there is little in the new or old testaments that speaks to a matter of pants, dress, robe, etc.
BUT THERE ARE ABIDING PRINCIPALS WORTHY OF NOTE
I.–Read I Samuel 16:7 The context is not about modesty, but it does speak to a wonderful spiritual principal.
God cares about what resides in our hearts before what we wear on our bodies. “But the LORD said to Samuel, “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
Men and women who understand this will know what it means to welcome the Lord as their fashion designer. They have a higher motive for all that they do than mere self-satisfaction.
II.—Read Titus 2:1-8 “Tell the older women to behave as those who love the Lord should…each of the younger women must be sensible and kind…tell the older men to have self-control and to be serious and sensible…tell the young men to have self-control in everything.” (Titus 2:1-8)
Older women and wives have learned to set the following example for the younger girls.
“If you are a wife, you must put your husband first. Even if he opposes our message, you will win him over by what you do. No one else will have to say anything to him, 2 because he will see how you honor God and live a pure life. 3 Don’t depend on things like fancy hairdos or gold jewelry or expensive clothes to make you look beautiful. 4 Be beautiful in your heart by being gentle and quiet. This kind of beauty will last, and God considers it very special.” I Peter 3:1-4
III. -–Read Romans 14 There is plenty to remind women and men alike to live and dress in a manner that does not cause others to stumble. While the subject in this chapter had to do with food/laws/restrictions, we may understand the principal that knowingly offending someone purely based upon selfish freedom is to ignore Christian charity.
13“Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way.”
I am on a crusade to touch this issue at the ground level.
Our girls have entire industries telling them that they are not significant unless________________. These business machines want their money. They often have friends and even parents telling them the same. These friends and parents want them to become “successful and popular”. But at what cost? Some of these children believe the ruse because they have no one in their life to inform them otherwise.
The next time you compliment a child or adult on their appearance, here is my crusade one-liner.
I suggest; “You make that dress look beautiful”–instead of “isn’t that a beautiful dress.” Put the focus on the child, not their external appearance.
How many children, especially girls, have grown up believing that their only value (perceived through compliment) is found in external appearance–what they wear. It is no wonder that many children and teens who are bullied for not “looking” right enter depression or even steal to get what they feel they need to be accepted. It is no wonder that so many of these girls grow into women who are lost without their make-up and latest fashion, women (and men) who need the approval of others before they will accept themselves. This is how a form of slavery begins.
We rarely compliment their character and person and the world tells them that they have no value apart from wearing the correct ensemble and latest brands. How powerful is the cultures influence set against our silence of personal support? So strong that some will go through surgeries and injections for purely cosmetic reasons. So strong that teens who “don’t measure up” struggle to wade through this jungle of self-abasement and feelings of inadequacy. Isolation and a lack of support means children and teens at risk.
It has been well said that children believe about themselves the way the most significant person in their life believes of them.
That’s you, mom and dad. Mom and dad–the world will beat you up here if you are not passionate about supporting your child’s value apart from fashion and outward appearance.
The world and the greedy will use sex to sell their fashion and wares. Now, more than ever, our young girls and boys see this and are drawn in. Mom and dad, your example of modesty is the only thing more powerful than the media.
Your child needs you as a sensible role model; one of balance. “Each of the younger women must be sensible and kind…”
In this way we are agreeing with God that who we are on the inside matters most and that this Christ-like inner person will ultimately be the finest governor of our choices in apparel. What we wear on the outside reveals a great deal about who we are on the inside.
Anyone who intimately knows that they are loved by God just as they are will be much less likely to try and become “somebody” by using fabric, make-up and material possessions as their only or primary means of identity and importance.
A healthy self-image begins and ends with personal character, integrity, honor and sustained dignity. All of this is provided naturally to those who seek to please God with their lives and who endeavor to honor Christ first.
One thing is for certain–the law is powerless here. (people who insist that we wear this clothing or that) The inner Spirit of God is the only reliable resource for how we will choose to dress at home and out in the world. The inner Spirit of God lets us see the world for what it is–shallow and hollow.
IN CONTRAST OF CHRISTIANITY AND ISLAM
Many Muslim women follow the teachings in the Quran. Their written law has never stopped a man from lust and it is the woman’s responsibility to keep the men from “feeling sexual desire”.
“And say to the faithful women to lower their gazes, and to guard their private parts, and not to display their beauty except what is apparent of it, and to extend their scarves (khimars) to cover their bosoms (jaybs), and not to display their beauty except to their husbands, or their fathers, or their husband’s fathers, or their sons, or their husband’s sons, or their brothers, or their brothers’ sons, or their sisters’ sons, or their womenfolk, or what their right hands rule (slaves), or the followers from the men who do not feel sexual desire, or the small children to whom the nakedness of women is not apparent, and not to strike their feet (on the ground) so as to make known what they hide of their adornments. And turn in repentance to Allah together, O you the faithful, in order that you are successful”— Qur’an, Surah 24 AN-NUR, Verse 31
In Christianity, Christ teaches that no amount of dress or outer-covering can stop a man or woman from lust. There must be something else that causes men and women to respect one another with dignity.
“Let the Lord Jesus Christ be as near to you as the clothes you wear. Then you won’t try to satisfy your selfish desires.”
ROMANS 13:14 In fact, back up and get a running start into verse 14. Start at verse 11.
“You know what sort of times we live in, so you should live properly”… keep reading. It’s wonderful.
Now there’s a workable solution to modesty and improper dress that you won’t likely find in Cosmopolitan or Allure magazines.
In an authentic way,
I think Jesus speaks to this issue of pants for women.
(adapted from Matthew 15:1-20)
I imagine the modern-day Pharisees. They might ask Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples dress like we do?”
Jesus might respond, “The clothes that you put on your body don’t make you improper and unfit to worship God.
The bad words that come out of your mouth are what make you unacceptable.”
Jesus has a way of keeping the real issue up front and the fuss-about-nothin’ way back in the “no spin zone”.
Remember, a man may wear the pants in a relationship, but the woman will likely tell him which pair to put on.
Mothers, grandparents and dads–teach your young ladies how to listen to God just as He does for you. He will place his guiding Spirit within their hearts to let them know when their dress code is out of character with one belonging to Christ. We are all free to dress as we like but walking in Christ will prevent us from abusing this freedom. Those who belong to Christ will want to use their bodies for a noble purpose.
“18 Don’t be immoral in matters of sex. That is a sin against your own body in a way that no other sin is. 19 You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. 20 God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God.” I Corinthians 6:18-20
And if you are not a disciple—follower of Jesus Christ and His teachings, use whatever guide/clothing seems a best fit on/for you.