Christian Women Should Not Eat Chocolate
I believe that there is an important topic that many in the body of Christ have neglected to address. It has to do with the whole issue of women eating chocolate. Now I know that our society seems to believe that we can eat whatever we want and flaunt it. The thing is, though, that we as believers are called to a different standard, and while it may seem to be a matter of personal freedom to you, you are causing others to stumble.
What you may not understand is that it is just a part of the way that God designed us. When we see chocolate, we are provoked to gluttony. That may or may not be your intent, but the truth is that when we see our sisters in Christ with chocolate, we are just wired to respond to it. We want it. So I am asking, as a godly woman, that you refrain from tempting us by eating chocolate. Will you, as a humble and sincere sister in the Lord, make a commitment to give up the chocolate that is causing us to stumble?
Can I get an “amen”? No?
I suspect that some of you would respond, gently and with love, that the issue really is not about condemning those who eat chocolate, but perhaps more about dealing with my own self-control. Some might even go as far as to point out that simply liking chocolate and wanting to eat it is not necessarily gluttony unless I refuse to control myself. Others would remind me that as a Christian, filled with the Holy Spirit, I can resist the temptation. And a few might be slightly confused why I am only addressing my sisters in Christ and wonder about whether men should be held to the same standards. These are good points.
What About Modesty?
I have read many appeals to Christian women on the issue of modesty and swimwear, particularly if you get into the debate on one-piece versus two-piece, that sound just like the condemnation against chocolate.
We talk a lot about modesty and causing our brothers to stumble, but are we in danger of actually trying to add to what the Bible teaches? Scripture verses about modesty are about humility and trying to flaunt wealth or draw attention to our appearance. In many places, wearing a bikini would attract far less attention than some of the “modest” ensembles I’ve seen suggested.
Causing our brothers to stumble? Well, that argument has been twisted by many to imply that it is the women’s responsibility to prevent men from lust. That is both ludicrous and unbiblical. I know many Christian men. They are not slavering beasts who are provoked to ungovernable lust by any glimpse of a woman’s shape or skin. They are capable of controlling themselves and turning away if necessary.
Is the Holy Spirit that weak? Is Christ’s work in their lives so puny and fragile that it will be destroyed by the mere sight of a woman? Is their spiritual state between them and God, or is it dependent on the dress code of nearby women? This is the kind of thinking that excuses rape because a woman was wearing a miniskirt, and is a grievous insult to both men and God.
Part of the modesty debate stems from a misunderstanding of lust.
Many consider it to be any sexual attraction. That is like saying gluttony is any desire for food. In looking at several dictionary definitions, I saw an important distinction. Lust was uncontrolled, unrestrained, or overwhelming sexual desire. Just like gluttony would be uncontrolled, unrestrained, or overwhelming desire for food. So having a sexual thought or desire is not wrong unless it is uncontrolled, unrestrained, or overwhelming–something that we purpose to fulfill even when it is morally wrong (or would if circumstances/consequences could be altered).
This, to me, fits in perfectly with Jesus’ warning against adultery in Matthew 5. It isn’t the same as temptation. It is when you have already given in to that temptation in your heart.
Heart Attitude vs. Legalism
I do believe that Christian women are called to modesty. God does not want us to try to provoke attention and admiration. We are not to try to stir up sexual attraction in anyone other than our husbands. But that is about a heart attitude, not about a legalistic regulation of attire. If a woman sins in this area, it is between her and God, just as it is if a man sins in lust. Some women are more comfortable in bikinis, whether it is simply appreciating the feel of the water or ease of function (ever try to use the bathroom in a one piece suit? Or help a potty-learning little one to do so? If so, you will likely appreciate the argument for a two piece!). Only God is qualified to judge their hearts and motives.
Often we forget how much our ideas are influenced by our culture. In Spain, topless beaches are common. You will see plenty of flabby grannies in their seventies and eighties going topless. Are they causing their brothers to stumble? No. They are immodest by USA standards, perhaps, but not by their own. Nor are they immodest, according to my understanding, by the Bible (when God clothed Eve, He gave her a loin cloth, not a bra). There are also cultures where a flash of ankle or even neck is considered seductive. We can be sensitive to our own cultures, but also recognize that modesty cannot be about clothing–it must be about the heart.
Regarding the men vs. women angle, the truth is that both men and women are attracted to each other’s appearance. Attraction does not equal lust. (As a side note, many of my female friends have commented on how particularly attractive they find a man in a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up a little, or without a shirt, or in a T-shirt and jeans, or several other possibilities. I never hear Christian leaders warn men about causing women to stumble if they are in a long sleeved shirt that has been cuffed once or twice.)
I want to teach my daughters and my son to be modest–to have a heart that is focused on God and that doesn’t seek status or admiration based on their appearance. I will teach my son and daughters that if they are tempted to lust, that the power of God within them is stronger. I will also remind them that if they are tempted to lust, that the responsibility to look away is their own. Just as I will teach them that spiritual food is more important than physical food. If they are tempted to overeat, I will encourage them to find healing and the power of God to control their appetites–not to blame a good cook.
So should a Christian woman wear a bikini? If it is appropriate to the occasion, if she enjoys it, then sure. Personally, everyone in my family finds rash guards and board shorts more comfortable and more functional. But to try to impose legalistic standards on others’ definition of modesty would be to degrade our brothers in Christ, show contempt to the power of God, and to place a burden on our sisters that Jesus never did.
And if you want to eat chocolate, I won’t condemn that either. In fact, I will likely join you.
Yes! And I might add (and will) that the way many women view modesty is most immodest. They behave as though they’re so astoundingly gorgeous that any glimpse of them might send a man into a frenzy. An obsessive focus on length of dress and thickness of material probably isn’t a very healthy approach to modesty, and we certainly shouldn’t be standing around whispering about what such-and-such wore while shopping Saturday.
However, I also believe that we are extremely naive if we believe that “culture” accounts for what is ok on some beaches. I’m pretty sure sin is a sin, even if old granny is hanging out on the beach with the young beauties and making it look incredibly mundane. And where is it in the Bible that Eve got a loin cloth? All I see is that God gave them clothing. To cover their nakedness. Which tells me that we most assuredly should be doing that, whether we’re in Europe or not.
“They behave as though they’re so astoundingly gorgeous that any glimpse of them might send a man into a frenzy.”
Thank you for writing this!
Tony M Robinson
Cindy, I’ve tweaked and added to the book. In addition, I have a hardcopy version almost finished. If you’ll send me your address, I can send the a hard copy The Naked Truth.
I do agree with you, women are not responsible for a man’s thought life. A man is responsible for whatever decisions he makes. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts in this article but it seems a little over reaching to make so many assumptions about men and their struggle with lust without having the input of men. It might be helpful to have your husband interview several Christian men on the topic and actually find out if 2 piece bathing suits make it difficult for them to keep their thought life pure. And if the answer is yes why wouldn’t we as Christian women want to do our part to dress modestly if it will push them closer to the throne of God. There is a research study from Princeton University that demonstrates how the male brain responds to women wearing revealing clothing. The part of the brain that has to do with tool use actually lights up when these men see women in 2 piece bathing suits or in revealing clothing. As the researcher explains, the men in this study are seeing these women as objects to be acted upon rather than human beings. King David commits adultery and murder all because he sees a woman’s unclothed body. Even Job, who is completely above reproach struggles with lust. He says, “I have made a solemn vow not to undress a women with my eyes.” If he had to make this vow it means there was a battle he was fighting. It seems to me that a woman’s unclothed or skimpily clothed body is designed by God to stir up passion. But her body is also sacred and should only be revealed in the presence of her husband. body When we enter into the body of Christ we enter into something that is much bigger than ourselves. All the parts of the body are to support one another. It seems to me that you are aware men do struggle with immodest clothing when you say they can just look away. But it doesn’t seem that you have any inclination to change your own behavior even if it could bless your brothers in Christ. Please consider Hebrews 3:13 as you think about the attire you wear.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” Let’s encourage our brothers in Christ and help them in their journey heavenward.
I agree that men are responsible for their own thoughts. I would like to say that I grew up in the Philippines and it was not unusual for single women to be without a blouse on. It was taboo for a man to see their thighs. It is really difficult for men to not be aroused when women wear skimpy bathing suits. I used to say that it did not bother me when I saw a women in a bikini but I was not being honest with myself. I have watched “Christian” men when they see a women in tight blouses, pants, shorts etc and see their expression of desire. They then are the ones that say It doesn’t bother me. I am not a Gothardite and for years I would have utterly stomped one of his top people if I saw them regardless if I went to jail. This man actually lied to me and my wife and so it has taken me years to forgive him. God will take care of what he has done with his lies causing our family so much grief. Thank God my wife and I have survived this hell because of his lies.
Right on, Cindy!
To the author of this blog, in the Song of Solomon, the breasts are definitely part of the pleasure in intimacy! They are sexual parts of a women’s body as well as functional. I believe that being modest in our attire in order to please the Lord with the way we dress honors Him and it wouldn’t hurt for more Christian ladies to think about this. Please be careful not to dismiss the heart attitude on the flip side of your point, either.
We’re all entitled to our opinions, and I appreciate the time and effort you’ve put into your post. I’m not going to quibble over sleeve length. But I did want to correct your interpretation of the Bible that when God clothed Eve He gave her a loin cloth. Genesis 3:7 tells us that Adam and Eve, when they realized they were naked, sewed fig leaves together as coverings. This is like an apron or, as artists like to interpret it, a loin cloth. However, Genesis 3:21 tells us that this was not enough to satisfy God. He made for them tunics of skin from the first animal sacrifice. (NKJV) I have heard that the word for what He made in the original is similar to coat. That’s a far cry from a loin cloth! We aren’t placing a burden on our sisters that Jesus never did, because God instituted quite a bit more than a bikini clear back in Genesis. The more we are influenced by our culture, the more we lose our faith. We are to be in the world but not of the world.
The comment about Genisus 3:21 holds an awful lot of personal interpretation. ALL Gen 3:21 says is that God made them some clothes. Even if it was a coat, that didn’t come with an order that we all wear coats! I suspect that God made them clothes/coats out of mercy. Because the world after the fall is harsh. It’s hard to be naked in this world. I’d imagine the Garden was exactly the right temperature, and generally free of pointy things that can hurt someone. Their bodies were covered so that they would be protected, I bet. Because God is a God of mercy. Not because a loincloth was immodest. 😉
In Genesis 3:11, God asks Adam, “Who told you you were naked?” Excuses follow; then God addresses the sin to both Adam & Eve, and then curses them and the serpent. Why would he do this if clothing were only a matter of physical protection? He was addressing SIN.
According to the Amplified Bible, which many believe to be the most accurate translation from the original language (though not quite as readable as some modern versions) “the Lord God made long coats (tunics) of skins, and clothed them.”
God then made the distinction that as a result of sin, Adam & Eve now know the difference between good & evil, blessing & calamity. Then he cast them out of His garden and forbade their return. Pretty harsh if physical protection from weather & thorns was the only or major thing God intended for clothing.
The point is, Adam & Eve disobeyed God. That is the tragedy. Their disobedience brought sin into their world which had to be dealt with. As part of the curse, man became depraved in body, mind, and spirit. Clothing was for protection in all three areas, but also for modesty in all three areas. Skins, as the word used, was not a light-weight, flimsy, see-through fabric. Nor were they loin cloths. They probably covered the body, as would a coat or tunic. Yes, some carry the finer points too far – the exact length of the hemline, how many inches below the dip in the throat the neckline must not exceed, etc.
Yes, it is man’s responsibility to halt his wandering eyes. But it is woman’s responsibility to give no cause for others to stumble in this area. Likewise, the same applies to immodestly dressed men; they should not give cause for others to stumble. When I know someone near me is dieting, I refrain from eating in front of that person. When I know someone is offended if they see me wearing pants (I’m a woman) in deference to them I try to wear a skirt in their presence. That isn’t legalism or hypocrisy. It is showing deference to another. The “culture” excuse leaves everything up to individual interpretation rather than getting to the heart of the matter – sin. How much skin exposure is too much? Sure there are cultural differences, but naked bodies are for the most part still considered lewd and obscene in the majority of places. There is a reason – man is depraved, can’t always control his mind, body, and spirit, so man’s laws must help him. And not all men have the Word of God and the Holy Spirit to guide them. The culture excuse is all part of the sexual revolution of the ’60s and ’70s. We see where we ended with that – teen pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases running rampant, abortion, and infanticide soon to be followed by euthanasia and genocide.
God designed our bodies. In the garden prior to sin, our bodies were considered beautiful and sacred. But sin changed the way we see the body. Use whatever excuse for immodesty you like. Bottom line is still, thus says the Lord.
It says they realized they were naked and were ashamed.
Wonderful, brave post, Dulce. I like the analogy. It is only recently that I have really allowed myself to ponder what “lust” and “modesty” really mean. Honestly, I think the Bible speaks very little to this issue, besides reminding us, as in all things, to honor others above ourselves. This will likely look different for different people and in various cultures.
Also, to a previous commenter: I don’t think most people doing biblical exegesis would in any way say that the way God dressed Adam and Eve should be prescriptive to us as believers. Trying to extrapolate how we should dress from one passing, non-directive mention is very likely to lead to legalism.
This has been a discussion between me and a few other women lately. Here’s what the Word of God says about it.
Gen 3:7,And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. Gen 3:10 And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Gen 3:11 And he said, Who told thee that thou wast naked? … Gen 3:21 Unto Adam also and to his wife did the LORD God make coats of skins, and clothed them. Several actions concerning nakedness (outside marriage where the bed is undefiled – Hebrews 13:4) are condemned in the Bible:
1. It is a shame and wrong to uncover your nakedness to others. The priests were warned to wear undergarments so that their nakedness would not be discovered when they went up the steps to the altar in their robes. Their undergarments (linen breeches) were to cover from their loins (waist) to their thighs (Exodus 28:42). When the children of Israel made and worshipped the golden calf, Aaron “made them naked unto their shame” (Exodus 32:25). Isaiah 47:3 speaks of the shame of having your nakedness uncovered.
2. It is a sin to uncover the nakedness of another. This is seen as leading to other sins (see Leviticus 18:6-18).
3. It is wrong to look on the nakedness of others. Ham’s son was cursed because Ham saw the nakedness of his father and went and talked about it (Genesis 9:22-23). Habakkuk 2:15 speaks of the wickedness of those who get someone drunk in order to “look on their nakedness.”
One important point I need to make concerns the biblical definition of nakedness. We sometimes get the idea that nakedness refers only to having no clothing at all. However, this is neither true in the Bible nor in the English dictionary. One of the definitions for “naked” in my English dictionary is “without conventional or usual clothing.” Many people do not know that the Bible often calls improper covering of the body nakedness. Most often it refers to the wearing of undergarments in public. This explains the nakedness of Saul (1Samuel 19:24), of David (2Samuel 6:14, 20; 1Chronicles 15:27), of Isaiah (Isaiah 20:2-4), and of Peter (John 21:7). It is interesting that Peter did not want Jesus to see him naked.
We understand this definition in practice as well. If a person had no clothing except for a 6-inch square piece of cloth taped to the middle of their back, we would still consider them to be naked. The Bible teaches that improperly covered bodies are still naked. This is interesting in an age when many outer garments do not cover as much as undergarments did a short time ago.
We do not and cannot have the innocence of children. Therefore, we are not to run around in our nakedness. To do so is shameful and to look on the nakedness of others is sinful. Certainly, in working with young children and in working with the sick and elderly, there are times when caretakers will see their nakedness and there is nothing wicked in this (though proper respect should be given and the eyes should be averted when possible). God also makes an exception for a husband and wife. In fact, this is part of the significance of them being made one flesh. However, to purposely uncover our bodies for others to see or to gaze upon the nakedness of others for any reason are both sins in the Bible. This rules out any sort of nudist camp and many other things that are practiced today. I hope this helps.
Great break down of what God has to say about this important topic, Donna!
Here are a few of my own thoughts along the same lines….
I think, perhaps, the greatest error in the article is that heart attitude trumps our actions. One thing the Bible makes abundantly clear is that our heart will be revealed in what we say and do. So, if my heart is “modest” and desirous of honoring God in all I do, then my actions will bear that out. That means my clothing will reflect a heart of submission to God who Himself will clothe us in robes when we reach heaven –a place where lust and grabbing attention will not be a problem. (I’ve never seen a robe like what is described in the Bible that would reveal as much skin as even a “modest” one-piece bathing suit….just saying.)
God’s righteousness does not change. God clothed Adam and Eve, he set standards of dress for the Israelites, and he prescribes guidelines in the New Testament through Peter and Paul’s letters—there isn’t a society or cultural “vote” that should preempt what God has shown to be pleasing to Him. I would hope that those who promote wearing a bikini or other worldly swimwear would not show up at church wearing such….but to be consistent, we should be able to be as honoring to God in what we wear at the pool or beach as we are when in His house. (That’s not to say that there isn’t a degree of formality that changes with situations, only that the level of coverage/modesty should be consistent.)
Not a single one of the verses you referenced say a thing about modesty choices. Many of them speak to it being sinful to forcibly make someone naked. Even if that means to forcibly take someone down to their underoos. Be it through getting them drunk and taking advantage or just going for it.
David danced naked in the streets, y’all. Man after God’s own heart.
These verses are being used in a prooftexting context with a lot of personal opinions attached.
Seeing the nakedness of a relative had to do with sexual relations, to be sure, but force is never mentioned. Marrying a relative was prohibited, rape was not the topic. The whole article (and many comments) are nothing BUT opinion. The examples mentioned in the comment that you are responding to were illustrative of a standard set by God, useful in determining what modesty is, what should be covered, etc. Does it really need to say, “thou shalt not let half thy boobs hang out of a bikini in public”?
II Samuel states that David danced before the Lord in a linen ephod…look it up.
I agree! While my sweet little muffin top will never see the light of day again, I can still dream. And sometimes when women go over the top to be “modest,” they are either incredibly frumpy and depressed looking, or they are perversely attracting men with odd sexual appetites, unknowingly. I always remember being a teen, performing at the Shakespeare festival, and a group of more wordly people you will never meet, than actors. They all had a discussion about what turned them on. A couple of the guys were talking about…well, I can’t paraphrase ungraphically enough…but let’s just say, there are just as many men out there who get a kick and some pretty elaborate fantasies about women in long skirts and repressed sexuality.
Okay, that was a weird soap box I just got on, but I’ve always remembered it.
I heard a pastor tell his congregation that women should cover up. He said, “I’ve never heard of a man lusting after an Amish woman.” Hmmmm, I’ll wager that Amish men have.
Lol…where does he think Amish babies come from? 🙂
You are absolutely right about the long dress thing,,, I have always gotten my motor humming by seeing a pretty gal in a long Victorian style dress w/ some puffy sleeves and some lace….
First, please show me what references you are referring to concerning, “Scripture verses about modesty are about humility and trying to flaunt wealth or draw attention to our appearance..”
Next, regarding the statement, “In many places, wearing a bikini would attract far less attention than some of the “modest” ensembles I’ve seen suggested.” What type of attraction are you referring to? Sometimes being attracted (not in a “sexy” or immoral way) to someone who is modest in a sea of immodesty can be a great thing. Let me explain: This type of person will stand out like a sore thumb, most likely. This can provide them with opportunities to be ambassadors and ministers of the gospel of Jesus Christ. By the fact that they are clothed differently they will most likely draw attention to themselves. May they use that for God’s glory and the good of others!
Regarding the statement, “Causing our brothers to stumble? Well, that argument has been twisted by many to imply that it is the women’s responsibility to prevent men from lust. That is both ludicrous and unbiblical.” I believe Scripturally it is both the responsibility of both men and women to not cause others to stumble. This goes beyond the sexual world to all matters of living.
Regarding the “misunderstanding of lust,” we must make sure we do not read our definitions of lust and temptations and make them God’s definitions for these things and how we are to respond to them. Man’s definitions change over time. God’s do not.
About your statements, “If a woman sins in this area, it is between her and God, just as it is if a man sins in lust. Some women are more comfortable in bikinis, whether it is simply appreciating the feel of the water or ease of function (ever try to use the bathroom in a one piece suit? Or help a potty-learning little one to do so?” God didn’t call his people to live comfortably. We are called to be examples, which is often not comfortable or convenient for us.
I agree it is about the heart, but let’s not patterned our way of thinking about purity, modesty and ‘swim’ and ‘sexy’ attire based on our cultural norms. Let’s take a hard look at God’s Word and read that into our context, not vice versa.
“As a side note, many of my female friends have commented on how particularly attractive they find a man in a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up a little, or without a shirt, or in a T-shirt and jeans, or several other possibilities.” In my opinion, it is sad that there are believers who think this way. I don’t condemn those who do, but want to ask, ‘Is there not a better way to look at people? Aren’t biblical Christians supposed to look at the heart, just as God does?’ Let’s get away from focusing on how ‘attractive’ someone is who is not our spouse and focus on who they are, who God made them to be, and what our part we can play in their spiritual journey to knowing God and following Him with their whole hearts.
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You make an interesting case, but you leave out the fact that men are biologically WIRED to respond to the sight of a woman’s body. Would you feel comfortable with knowing that your husband was aroused by the sight of that Christian woman in the bikini? We as women do not understand as much because we just do not work the same way. And as an older woman, I do not think I am going to be inspiring any lust from men, but it’s now my job to set an example for the younger women. Modesty for women is MORE important to God, hence the reason it is almost solely mentioned when referring to women. Sure, the Holy Spirit strengthens us against the temptation to do wrong…but what about that brother who is already feeling weak and defeated in his mind? Whenever there is doubt, we must choose a more modest garment.
If this is the way they are wired – to lust after every woman in a bikini they see – then it way the way God made them, and it is therefore GOOD. So, if we’re not comfortable with it, then *we* are the ones who need to rethink.
OTOH, if lust is not good (and Jesus says it isn’t), then it is not the way God made them/us and therefore we should trust God’s Spirit to be working in our husbands to help them. To put it another way, do you believe that Jesus would be overcome with lust if he saw a bikini-clad – or even a naked – woman? I don’t. But I do believe that Jesus was fully human, which means he was wired exactly the same way as every other man on the planet. Which means that lust is not ‘wired’ into a man 🙂
Here in Australia, the native people didn’t wear any clothes at all until about 200 years ago when white people turned up. And I promise you they weren’t in a continual state of lustful orgy. Conversely, my own DH, whose love language is quality time, is far more likely to struggle with inappropriate thoughts about the women in shapeless lab coats he works alongside all day, than about a random woman in a bikini on the beach.
I really appreciate Dulce’s point that these things are about heart attitudes on both sides.
1. Speak for yourself. I am personally “wired” to be very attracted visually to hot, shirtless men. Also, why do you think Magic Mike is even in existence? Or male strippers? C’mon, it’s just naiive to think that women are wired that way too just because you aren’t.
2. If it is true that men are visual, and women are more sexually attracted to personality, then why aren’t you advocating that men hide their amazing personalities so as not to be a stumbling block to women?
3. I have no problem with the idea that my husband is aroused by attractive females. That is natural and healthy. It’s how he *handles* that attraction that matters. I am not insecure in that way and he is a man of integrity and faithfulness and neither of us are bothered by the passing attraction of another human being. Being married doesn’t mean you stop noticing every other person in the world. Don’t shame men for something they are “wired” to be. Attraction and arousal doesn’t = lust. If you go around worried about what your husband is thinking, you have much bigger issues in your marriage that other females in bikinis.
Carey Jane Clark
Interesting perspective. You had me going on that chocolate thing! I wondered if you’d had a chance to read the recent Princeton Study on brain scans and bikinis, concluding that bikinis make men see women as objects. The story is at National Geographic’s website. I don’t know if your comments allow links. If Google doesn’t give up the link and you’re interested, drop me a line.
I hardly know where to start in my criticism of this article. Fortunately, others have very effectively illuminated the many flawed and erroneous statements. Frankly, it left me stunned and disturbed that such an opinion appeared within the pages of a home school magazine which up until now, I hadn’t realized might need to be filtered before letting my child flip through the pages.
“In many places, wearing a bikini would attract far less attention than some of the “modest” ensembles I’ve seen suggested.”
The author’s mocking attitude toward modesty is disturbing. I understand the temptation to use irony (Chesterton made it look like so much fun!). Tossing it about like fairy dust doesn’t make an argument any more clever or Biblical.
The idea that modest women think themselves irresistible to men is just laughable. The most modest women I know are genuinely modest. They don’t cover themselves to prevent men from going into uncontrollable passion spasms. They cover themselves because they take the Bible’s words to heart. They cover themselves because they believe it is the civilized, well-mannered thing to do. They cover themselves out of respect to others.
But, of course, how would I know this? I cannot see into their hearts, unlike the author who though she cannot see into the hearts of the unclothed masses, somehow can see the motives of the covered minority.
Actions, that is what I see. That is all we have to go on.
“Therefore, my beloved, fas you have always gobeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for hit is God who works in you, both to will and to work for ihis good pleasure.” (Phil 2:12-13) This is the verse that kept coming to mind when reading through the comments here. Just because you disagree with the author’s point of view does not mean that Home Educating Family’s Magazine is something you must hide under the rug. I too, agree, that bikini’s are not a wise decision, but I appreciate hearing another Christian’s point of view (which I do think that some points are valid) because it challenges me to think about the WHYs of what I believe. It gave me a chance to have a great discussion with my husband which was excellent to hear his point of view…him being a man and all. 😉 I do believe that it would be awesome to have a man write an honest piece about bikinis and modesty!!! There are very few woman who can actually understand and relate to what it means to be a man in a society so saturated with sex. We lived in Germany (we’re a military family) for 4 years and yes, the socital norms are very different than the US. There was a sex store right by a toy store. No lie…right next door! They just don’t really think much about it. There is no discussion about modesty because the society has given up on it. America is not there….yet. This is a good discussion to have and yes, though I disagree with the authors point of view I do respect her for bringing it up. The blessing for me was that I was reminded that it is a matter of the heart and that is what I want my almost 10 year old daughter to understand. She can walk around the beach at Lake Superior feeling SUPERIOR to others merely b/c she is wearing a one piece or she (and me!) can have an attitude of grace and humility which is what I want us all to be “clothed” in….no matter what it is that we are wearing on our physical bodies.
it is OK for this woman who homeschools to have different thoughts than others. It is OK for you to have different thoughts. It is when those thoughts are all EXACTLY the same that worries me…I start thinking CULT ALERT!!!
Oh, I agree with modesty, but you cannot judge a book by its covering. If this woman has thoughts that are different from other christians, it is because God gave her a brain and the ability to think. Is she right 100% of the time. No, none of us are. But the ability to make our own choices is part of the Christian life. I am sure she is not using her freedoms of choice and thinking to do drugs or illicit sex or murder. She is just having a free independent thought and following it through. C.S. Lewis was a great thinker and would spend hours in discussion and write whole chapters on one assertion.
I like the way she used chocolate and the eating of it as a possible sin to go into another avenue of Christian life, clothing that we choose to wear.
We as Christians, tend to think that if something is right for us, it had better be right for others or it is sin if they don’t. That is what has led to the formation of many cults and legalist sects.
God does not make cookie cutter Christians. He has a plan for each of our lives and every plan is different, kinda like those snowflakes we like to use to show the greatness of God’s creation.
Tony M Robinson
That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.
Yep, there’s a 2,000 year old cult a brewing. Actually, there is a mind set of confusion that can also be shared. Everyone has their opinion but few stop to think what their opinion would have sounded like in the midst of the Corinthian church as they read Paul’s letter aloud, telling them in specifics what form the woman’s clothing should be – something he considered to be a topic found under the heading of milk, not meat. Paul wanted them to all think alike on particular issues – and this is one of those issues. No, today’s confusion shares a lack of considering how they would appear to the original hearers. “I’m a Christian and I wear a bikini,” could have be mistaken as being a bad joke among Paul’s disciples, something to laugh at for its being preposterous – or it would be ascribed to outright rebellion against the Spirit. Uzzah had the best of intentions when God struck him dead – because he was in error despite his sincerely held good intentions. Good intentions are a poor substitute for well-informed obedience.
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Just to remind everyone, here is the note from the beginning of this post:
“The point of the Audience Soapbox is to give our readers a place to discuss both sides of issues. This is a place to discuss philosophies.”
The purpose of the article is to get people talking through ideas and thinking. Home Educating Family does not necessarily adhere to every idea in every article.
Thank you, Dulce! It is much easier to see the issue in perspective with the simple (and funny!) sub in of chocolate. 🙂 I do wear a bikini, and I am a Christian; those facts are not mutually exclusive. I see more deep cleavage on “modestly clothed” ladies who succumb to their chocolate lust in church than I do most days at the beach. I agree that attitude is everything.
Great post! Helpful perspective and good analogies. I would like to point out however that the loin clothes were Adam and Eve’s feeble attempts to cover themselves not God’s. (Gen. 3:7-8) God made for them “garments of skins” and clothed them. I think this is a picture of Salvation. Our efforts are not adequate, but Christ clothes us in His righteousness. I would like to share this post with friends but I am concerned that this one misinterpretation of Scripture may turn some people off.
*correction: “our efforts *are* inadequate.”
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to Lynn—you stated—“When I know someone is offended if they see me wearing pants (I’m a woman) in deference to them I try to wear a skirt in their presence.”
how about all the woman who do not know about that person offended by women wearing pants? Are those women sinning? Certainly this man goes out in public, where women wear pants and he sees them…does he spend his whole time in public on the streets and in stores being offended by every woman wearing pants who passes by him ? Or does he stay home so as not to be offended, knowing women will be wearing pants?
And when you go out in public in pants, how many men that you do not know are offended if you happen to be wearing pants? Or may be offended by something else you are wearing?
So goes legalism, the twists and turns of how to follow all those rules just never end …. Your thoughts and intentions may be pure, but like the Jews, who could not follow the law, and made many more man- made laws to explain them, got sucked up in the letter of the law. And the letter of the law killeth.
Here is what I have found. For a truth’principle/rule/law of God to be true, it has to be true every place in this world, no matter where humans live. Dress, food, cultures are often dependent on weather or foods available in a region. If a certain “rule” or “principle” cannot be followed due to weather, types of food, geography, then it is not a true rule of God.
I am so glad for grace. I wear pants all the time… much better for me than showing legs covered with scars from fire ant bites.
esbee, I love your perspective! “Here is what I have found. For a truth’principle/rule/law of God to be true, it has to be true every place in this world, no matter where humans live. Dress, food, cultures are often dependent on weather or foods available in a region.If a certain “rule” or “principle” cannot be followed due to weather, types of food, geography, then it is not a true rule of God. I am so glad for grace.”
“(when God clothed Eve, He gave her a loin cloth, not a bra)”– PLEASE Dulce!! Did you even open your Bible before you typed this?? Read this: http://v3.blueletterbible.org/lang/Lexicon/Lexicon.cfm?strongs=H3801&t=KJV
Otherwise, I completely agree with you. It’s about the heart, not dress codes or diets. But before you make public statements about what the Bible says, please be a Berean and do a little research!
I think the blue letter bible agrees that God didn’t give Eve a bra.
Misquoting the Bible is nothing short of a lie. Dulce, if you are going to share some food for thought, and you want to quote from the Bible, do not put your own twist on what is written to serve your views. As you relate a message from the Bible or from another individual, you must repeat the message word for word. Satan was a master at misquoting the Bible.
Also, grannies going topless on beaches in Spain is not what should set the standard for what is acceptable in “modest” attire. During the French revolution, there were women in the upper circles who would wear dresses that fully exposed their breasts; they also took part in sexual orgies. Such attire and actions were socially and culturally acceptable in their sphere of fellowship at that time. Those women and the men with them were doing what was right in their own eyes, fulfilling the lusts of the flesh. Even if it would have included all of France, it still would not make such attire and deeds right. As Christians, we do not live our lives according to what is culturally acceptable outside of what is considered right and proper in the Bible. For instance: It was once culturally acceptable in Egypt to worship many gods and to kill a person if they killed a cat even accidentally. It was once culturally acceptable in Greece to have temple prostitutes. It was once culturally acceptable among the pagan nations around Israel to sacrifice their children, as it was under King Manasseh’s reign in Israel. It was once culturally acceptable among the Vikings to burn a loyal slave along with the dead body of his master. It was once culturally acceptable in New Guinea to be a headhunter. It was once culturally acceptable in the US and throughout Europe to enslave another people. It was once culturally acceptable among some of the native tribes of America to wife-swap. It has been for hundreds of years culturally acceptable in India to suppress people into castes based on birth with no way to achieve a higher status in life. It is still culturally acceptable in Ethiopia to circumcise girls. It is now and for far too long been culturally acceptable in America to murder unborn babies. None of these culturally acceptable practices are acceptable with God. So, what the masses consider to be acceptable or not must line up with what our Lord deems to be so.
All that said, there is room for varied interpretation for what is considered modest. Some can be quite prudish in their modesty. While it is fine for them to be covered from head to foot, it is not right for them to impose that view of modesty on others as God’s law. On the flip side, it is highly improper and disrespectful for others to expose or draw attention to their body parts, be they attractive or not, that are a natural part of the attraction in love making. Women do not have to hide their figures, nor should they be flaunting what they have. There is a balance.
While men can be attracted to a woman fully-clothed, it does not negate the fact that women need to dress with respect for the opposite sex as well as themselves and other women. While men should do their part to avoid temptation, women should not be temptresses just so they can be flattered by all of the attention they receive. Nor should men try to draw attention to themselves in such flaunting ways. We need to honor one another. How we dress does reflect the heart.
Maybe this reply is late but I had to say it. I wear a two-piece swimsuit but it covers much more than a bikini ever will. And regarding that God didn’t give Eve a bra? A link has already been provided for you but consider this. The Hebrew word for the “aprons” Adam and Eve made for themselves is translated “girdle” (ie, they covered about as much as a bra). But God gave them “cloaks”, for which the Hebrew is also translated “robe” or a long shirt-like garment. Shirts cover the top half of the body on both men and women. This may be painfully obvious but it seems you have missed this.
Hey, this article is a hot topic over at recoveringgrace.org website.
Yes, Esbee. I stopped by earlier to thank them for sharing. Thanks for letting us know! 🙂
Just going off of what my husband says, men like boobs and seeing women’s boobs causes their minds to get off track. My husband tells me how he feels men view me if I wear something I probably shouldn’t. Not every man will tell you that. I also agree modesty is a heart issue, but lets be serious – men like to look at women’s bodies and wearing most (not all) bikinis leave little to the imagination – especially if you are bending over and moving a lot. You can use the Bible to say it is a heart issue but “men look on the outward appearance”. Honestly, it would be better if this was written by a man. If a man had told us that bikinis don’t cause him to get off of track then I could believe you.
This article (and many of the comments) illustrates beautifully the danger of making decisions based on human logic rather than God’s word. I have never seen an article like this that didn’t use legalism inappropriately and uses gossip and wrong, prideful attitudes to justify unscriptural actions. My girls have asked many questions regarding what is and isn’t acceptable. They will be reading this article so that they may see the foolishness of using human logic. One can be prideful about anything, but that doesn’t define whether the “thing” is wrong. God’s word does. There are several thoughtful, scriptural comments here that I will be adding to our study of this issue, but overall, I am disappointed that such a poorly researched article was even submitted.
Tony M Robinson
The author and many of the commenters to this article take a very shallow approach to this topic. There is such a thing as throwing the baby out with the bath water. So, let’s me see if I understand this: The Apostle Paul was the apostle specifically sent to be the apostle to the Gentiles to instruct them. He is the one that fought against legalism, even withstanding Peter publicly to the face over such. So when he writes to a Corinthian church that is comprised of former pagans living among pagans and gives terms that meant something specific to his audience regarding a standard for apparel, he is now a legalist? This begs the question, if it wasn’t important, why did the Holy Spirit move Paul to waste ink? Your shallow comments are sincerely based from a shallow and twisted understanding of the topic – one that most preachers aren’t helping on the matter. If you will go to http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/315320 and put in this coupon code, TZ42J , you can download my book The Naked Truth: Revealing Things We Hide Behind for FREE.
Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Proverbs 14:34
If this is what “Christian” women believe nowadays, it’s no wonder our nation is in decline. Go ahead and wear your bikinis and tell yourself it’s ok because it’s more convenient, but please don’t call yourself a Christian while you’re doing it.
No, it’s really not a heavy burden to be modest at the beach. I just did it yesterday and I left my home and returned with a clear conscience before God. And my kids and my parents and my brothers and sisters in law and my nieces and nephews saw me modestly dressed, laughing, and playing with them and having as much fun in my t shirt and long skirt as everyone else.
I see in your writing the same feminist philosophy that “liberated” women from their “oppression” years ago and gave us more burdens than ever before (now we are expected to take on roles meant for men). It’s very subtle, but basically you are trying to persuade Christian women to cast aside modesty as defined in the Bible. But really, you’re just echoing the serpent’s argument to Eve. No thanks.
be careful!…..you stated, “don’t call yourself Christian”……….there are MANY Christians whom we will see in heaven….the Christian woman who wears bikini’s….the Christian young man with long hair….the Christians who drink alcoholic beverages…….the Christian contemporary music singer….etc, etc,etc!!……your attitude is wrong……..focus on dressing the way you do for the LORD, not yourself…not to prove that you can do the same things anyone else can do…..that is pride
however, i am in no way agreeing with immodesty and maybe i interpreted you wrongly….i do not wear a bikini and i taught my girls modesty………..as my daughter pointed out to me…it’s like you probably shouldn’t be witnessing or passing out tracts in a bikini….what does that do for the name of Christ?….so you are right but we still need to be careful of judging and i include myself because i probably judged you…..so i’m sorry…….see my comment down below for my first thoughts…..
Who said anything about “the Christian young man with long hair….the Christians who drink alcoholic beverages…….the Christian contemporary music singer….etc, etc,etc ” ? I was addressing bikinis specifically. Please don’t put words in my mouth.
Anyway, my point was you don’t have to put off modesty ever, even at the beach. Sorry if I came across as prideful.
But really, this article reminds me of that old saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Here we have a woman calling herself a Christian, but she doesn’t see the need to adhere to one of the fundamental teachings directed at Christian women. Just doesn’t add up to me. Sorry if you disagree.
I loved the article. I love articles that make you think. I almost didn’t click on it because I thought, great now I can’t eat chocolate either. I think most people missed the point — so many rules, judgements and burdens being laid upon women. I have a teen-age daughter who has such a beautiful spirit and very modest in her dress. She has done some homeschool and christian camps/activities. This is often the instructions for girls: Skirts must be two or three inches below the knee while sitting, jeans, capri pants, and long girl shorts are prohibited for activities, but boy’s basketball shorts and wind pants can be worn in lew of a skirt for hiking and rock climbing. Seriously! What are wind pants anyway. Boy’s basketball shorts on a girl? So, sloppy is ok. Have any of you tried to buy a professional skirt and jacket that meets these length requirements for a young lady who is a size 0? Let me just say it is impossible, and no I cannot sew one. My daughter wants to dress modestly. I want her to know that she is not defined by a skirt three inches below her knee.
welll, it took me over half the article to figure out the real issue was modesty, not about eating chocolate!…..that threw me for a loop!…… i definitely believe God has guidelines for each one of us in His Guidebook, the Word of God…..He clearly states that we are to be modest in our attire, and modesty, even by the world’s standards has to do with how much of our body is covered….immodesty brings attention to ourselves…….i don’t agree with the culture thing….God doesn’t state that it’s ok not to be modest if you live in a culture where they don’t practice modesty…….God also wants us to be in the world, but not of the world….we have to live here, yes, but God does want us to be distinctly different, set apart……and that covers many more issues than just modesty….you name the issue……if we get our minds off OURSELVES and set on who God is….and what He is like…..and how we can bring glory and honor to HIM and Him alone by following His Guidebook…..then we won’t be niggling about these issues….
I am eating chocolate right now… 🙂
AHHH you’re not supposed to tell us that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
As the mother of a 14 year-old girl, I deal with this issue often in our home. Romans 14 in my opinion speaks to this issue more than any other passage in Scripture. I will quote a few verses, but it is best read in whole… “Accept him whose faith is weak without passing judgment on disputable matters…. so then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore, let us stop passing judgement on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put an stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way…. Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and mutual edification…. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a man to eat anything that will cause someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that will cause your brother to fall.”
This issue is definitely a matter of the heart. Anyone who tries to draw a line in the sand about exact dress length or style of swimsuit is introducing the legalism and judgementalism that this passage condemns. However, as a Christian, God commands me and my daughter to consider carefully how our actions might cause someone else to stumble, and I know teenage boys well enough to know what can make them stumble. (I teach in a public high school!) It is my responsibility to help my daughter understand this principle as she makes choices about how to dress. Regardless of what a woman believes is right for her personally, it is her responsibility to think carefully about others first.
As an example, I do not believe that it is wrong to drink alcohol in moderation, but I will abstain in the presence of someone who I know struggles with the desire to drink too much. This is not a hypocritical stance, it is one that is respectful to struggling friend. In the same line of thinking, it may not be “wrong” to wear a bikini, but it is most certainly wrong not to consider how it might cause a brother to stumble.
Let’s pay more attention to the needs of others than to our own needs or desires. That is what Christ has called us to!!
I agree with you… if we go outside wearing clothes (or in this case, not wearing enough), we have to wonder what our purpose is…. Am I going to cause someone to stumble. I don’t drink (period- my own personal choice) but when I did, I didn’t drink in front of someone who had a drinking problem. There should be a basic standard of dress… a line shall we say (which I have read above that says its bad) but I think there should be…. the WWJD… would Jesus wear a “cute” outfit that is going to have people look at me and lust (or in the case of some- be “hated or labeled as a tramp?). I mean, if you bend over and the “girls” are seen- shouldn’t there be an understanding that one who is “Christian” shouldn’t let them out for viewing? We are called to be “different” than the world- and if we dress like everyone else (booty shorts and etc), then how are we different? What message are we sending?
The problem, and it’s always THE problem, is that the literal rendering of God’s Word is usually accompanied without critical analysis. I’m not aware of any one calling himself a Christian today that has adorned his front door brick molding with Scripture. Nor do I think that any of my Christian friends worship idols in the literal sense, no fat statues resembling Buddha or hula girls or crystals in there households. But that isn’t what Scripture means when it tells us to write it on the doorposts of our homes or not to create any idols, is it?
Funny thing, “modest” and “modestly” only appear once in the Bible. And it isn’t in Genesis. Suffice it to say the naked theme in Genesis is less about modesty and more about sin and separation from God, IMO. (But that’s probably a different discussion.) I’ll be skewered for this, but modesty isn’t absolute, and time and place do play a role in determining what is modest. 1 Timothy expands the admonition for women to dress modestly by adding, “with decency and propriety.” How does one define decent and proper? Is it realistic to think that Biblical standards are the only ones representative of what is decent and proper? Should I don clothing such that I remind people of Mary in a live Nativity Scene? Anyone know where I can find a good price on a hijab?
All I know is this. The Lord directs my heart and that guides my wardrobe choice (along with the extra flab). It is not my place to judge others for their attire, nor their hearts based on their attire. I’ve seen the same arguments made against smoking, drinking, television, you name it. If God is calling you to forego those things, you probably ought to obey. But do not presume to cast judgment on your brothers and sisters for decisions that do not mirror your own. Planks in your eye, first stones, glass houses, and all that.
You won’t be skewered from this direction. The judgment and accusations I’m reading in these comments grieve me (you aren’t a Christian if you wear a bikini?! Really?). Time and place are absolutely important in the decision of what is modest, and if we are going to hold to literal translations with no regard to the culture of the time or the context of the passage, it is always going to lead to legalism and rules that do not reflect what God’s best. The dress of today’s modest crowd would not meet the standards in place when Scripture was written. Should women be able to show their ankles? If yes, how short is too short? Should they wear their hair uncovered? How much chest is appropriate above the neck of a shirt? There is no end to the legalistic rules that man can come up with.
Let us each seek God and apply what we’ve learned. Christ’s harshest words were for the religious leaders of the day who sought to hold everyone to their standard of legalism. If we fall short of God’s best, it’s up to Him to show us, not commenters on a blog post who want to play Holy Spirit. Your last comment says it best: “If God is calling you to forego those things, you probably ought to obey. But do not presume to cast judgment on your brothers and sisters for decisions that do not mirror your own. Planks in your eye, first stones, glass houses, and all that.”
While I agree about legalism, I think that some people don’t understand the concept of modesty. Modesty is about honoring God….I don’t personally think bikinis are modest in any shape, fashion, or form… and I haven’t seen a modest one lately anyhow. Have you looked at them? What do they actually cover? What is your purpose for buying it? I mean, yes, its a heart issue….when you buy it, do you think- Hum, I look hot in this… how many people buy it because of how good they look and not the functionality??? We are called to be Christlike and Christlike doesn’t mean flaunting your stuff for everyone to see. It is a temptation; and I personally would be totally irritated if my husband stared at someone whose body is all out there for someone to see even if he is “wired” to do so… its not respectful to me (he doesn’t do it- he looks away)… I don’t wear tunics but I also don’t show off my body more than I have to. I can look fashionable and still not show off my belly, my chest, nor my behind. This should be a no brainer. Our girls are being told its okay to wear that stuff by the stores, tv, magazines and etc. Modesty needs to be taught to our young people and apparently, our older ones too… Don’t even get me started on how they dress at church- While I am glad they are there and should be focused on the message, it is hard when someone bends over and you see their behind or their chest……
As the wife of a recovering pornography addict I am more than a bit concerned about some of the conclusions of this article. It has been proven that men are much more visually stimulated than women which is why we talk about the appropriateness of bikinis and not men without their shirts on.The majority of women are emotionally wired (which is why if we see a handsome man who turns out to be rude we are quickly turned off). Men on the other hand are typically visual creatures. Does this leave them off the hook for lusting after a woman regardless of what she is or is not wearing? Absolutely not. But why as Christian women would we want to wear something that could tempt our men? Why choose to wear apparel that makes it more difficult for a man to turn his eye? Paul says all things are permissible but not all things are beneficial (1 Cor 6:12). He also says that we should not cause anyone to stumble (1 Cor 10:32). Do we have the freedom in this country to wear whatever we want? Yes. Are all things we could choose to wear beneficial to our Christian community? No. I don’t see this as a legalistic viewpoint, but merely as a way we as Christian women can honor our men by doing something as simple as wearing less revealing clothes (whether they be bikinis or equally revealing one pieces), thereby helping remove a source of their temptation.
I also want to address the author’s assertion that if one just looks away that is all it takes to not be affected by what someone is wearing. The reality is that to look away you have to see and register the image first (as one that needs to be turned away from). Once seen, for however briefly, that image is implanted in the brains of our men and stored in their memory. This image can then be triggered for any number of reasons in the future. Therefore our men need not only look away the first time, but continually repress and refuse to fantasize about any image that may pop up in their mind later without warning. This is why pornography is so pervasive. Long after a man stops looking at magazines or the internet (or women on the beach) the images stay with them and it takes much prayer, personal conviction, resolve and the work of God to overcome the addiction. This is also why someone is always recovering as the images never leave their memory.
Now am I saying that women wearing a bikini are pornographic? Absolutely not. I am saying however that any image can start someone (perhaps your husband or son) on a destructive path. My husband’s destructive path began in 4th grade. So moms, dads, I implore you to not only instruct your young men to divert their eyes but to also read up on this issue and help prepare them mentally for the potential long term consequences wandering eyes can lead to. I also gently request that we women weigh more heavily the potentially harmful effects of what we choose to wear on our men. Have an open and honest conversation with a Godly man about this issue and they will thank you for your consideration.
very well put….
I downloaded “The Naked Truth” and read it today. For a while I thought the guy went off course a few times but by the end of it I saw how all the little things he touched on fit into a big picture when it comes to our bodies. He doesn’t go off course – I just didn’t understand the topic as well as I thought I did. I think the first shock was when found out how I had been duped by advertisements to form an opinion of what made a woman look feminine that is totally opposite from what everyone in America had once thought (I won’t spoil it, but you will know what I mean when you come across that section). I won’t even try to make his points because I’m still digesting what I read. I just know that what I thought I knew wasn’t what I needed to know. Oh, I looked at the sample first. Trust me, it gets better the further you read. If you are a home school mom like me, you’ll appreciate what he says about home schooling.
Thank God some one else understands the true meaning. Modesty is about character and I love how you understand cultural differences. I have been so tired of people mis-teaching/preaching about this subject matter. God led me a few years ago to Scripture that backs the truth up. Proverbs 31:25 “Strength and Honor are her Clothing, and she shall rejoice in time to come.” (King James version)
So now we all can lead others to the scripture and they will know it is God’s word not our opinion.
The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7
Tony M Robinson
Be careful and put that in context. First, 1 Samuel 16:7 admits something that many people, including some on this website, are not willing to accept: men’s ability to discern is focused on what is on the outside. Even in court, it is their actions that we use to try to discern their intent or “inside” when making judgment of guilt or innocency. Second, 1 Samuel 16:7 highlights that where judgement is concerned, God can do something that we can’t: look directly on the thoughts and intents of the heart. What the verse does not do, but what many people try to force it to do, is claim that God is completely blind to what is on the outside and thus does not hold us accountable for the “outside.” In effect, they downplay the outside as if it has no significance. You don’t have to go very far in the Bible to see that God does see on the outside and makes comments, including condemnation and instruction, regarding such.
Modesty is not just about clothing, but it does include clothing. The verse alluded to in the article even states that godly women should “adorn themselves in respectable apparel” Respectable apparel should then be an outward expression of a heart that is “modest and self-controlled”. In choosing to wear a bikini we should ask ourselves if it is a loving, self-controlled, respectable (outward manifestation) statement of my desire to be pure of heart or do I just care about my comfort or selfish desires?
I could not disagree more with the majority of this article. I offer this simple scenario as an example.I don’t know any woman, Christian or otherwise, that when she is getting dressed at home, and she hears a knock at the door, would open the front door wearing only her panties and a bra. That would be immodest, and horribly embarrassing, to both the woman and the person at the door. Why is it then that there is a double standard in regard to two piece bathing suits? Does the name of the item somehow change its acceptability. Does the wearing of the item at a public beach or pool somehow make it acceptable? A two piece bathing suit is nothing more than a bra and panties with a different name. Completely unacceptable to wear in public at any time.
The Bible teaches us to dress modestly. In I Tim 2:9-15 it’s laid out very clear. What you can’t see in English version of the below passage is that we are told to dress in a katastole, a long, loose fitting robe. That is the opposite of a 2 piece swimsuit. I know that we may not wear “robes” these days (other than in the house) but it’s the idea of how much of our bodies are covered if we obeyed the Scriptures. I Pet 3 also teaches modest apparel for women. We need to know our Bibles not the opinion of mere humans.
“…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. Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control.” NKJV
Tony M Robinson
You are correct on the kata stole’. It is also very similar to the Latin text that I was first introduced to in high school Latin. I will have an update to the book soon that goes into what you talked about, but also much more. Even talks about grave clothes. You can always download the updated version once you downloaded an earlier version. https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/315320 The coupon for sign up lasts until around Aug 17, but it will make the book free to download and give you access to any updates as well as a means to give feedback. Coupon TZ42J smashwords also feeds Amazon and other outlets, but I think the coupon only works on its site.
There are many Christians that approach topics like this one thinking that all biblical rules are spelled out plainly and labeled by name. Although this is sometimes the case, many times it is not. I have seen women falsely claim that no prohibition can be discerned about something like the wearing of a bikini to the beach or pool because the word bikini is not found in the Bible — and they were straight-faced sincere about their assertion. They fail to understand that we can learn by way of inference or by the behavior of people in written accounts: it does not have to be spelled out and labeled by name in the Bible. For example, pedophilia is not explicitly mentioned in Scripture, but that does not mean that the Bible does not address pedophilia by way of inference. Likewise, long before Moses presented a law stating, “Thou shalt not murder,” the reactions by people confronted with a murder prior to the law being issued by Moses reveals that they already knew that murder is wrong. I think such methods are an important tool of interpretation to remember because many people approach New Testament verses trying to understand their meaning apart from what history and other biblical records reveal indirectly regarding the topic. I find that modern Christians searching for the naked truth about things we hide behind usually overlook history and inferences made in the Bible.
I am a man, husband, and father of two. I was homeschooled. As a young man I lusted after modest homeschooled girls. You know the ones with long hair, long skirts, and high neck lines. I lusted after the “immodest” public educated girls with the short hair, shirts skirts, and the plunging neck lines. I lusted because I noticed girls. At least that is what I was taught. I was made to feel guilty for being attracted to women. I felt guilty even if I didn’t lust but just noticed a woman. Legalism does this. Legalism puts the issue on the outside. GOD looks on the heart. Legalism puts the issue on sin and not on the Grace that is greater than sin. As a man I see women in bikinis including my wife. Are they beautiful? Some are and some are beautiful on the inside (I’m sure). Does the bikini itself provoke me to lust? NO absolutely not. I find that I struggle with lust more at times when I am not purposely leaning on Jesus. It is when my heart is straying that my eyes tend to wander. Even further when I do struggle with lust it isn’t always the immodest woman that stirs me. It could be the woman who made me laugh or a woman who sincerely appreciates me holding the door. You see, we men see far more than the outside. Yes, we start on there but we don’t end there. Have you seen what some men leave their wives for? As for seeing a woman in a bikini and objectifying her aren’t you doing the same by focusing so much on her body. This is very similar to the Muslim idea of the burka. A woman’s body is only for her husband therefore she must cover it. I am not saying a bikini is appropriate or not. Personally I believe it really depends on a woman’s body type, style of the bikini, and most important of all her heart. If the argument is that it is a testimony to be “modest” this is un-biblical. “This is how they will know that you are my disciples your LOVE for one another.” It is the divisiveness of legalism in the church that sends the message that we are no different than they are. If we cannot agree on all the parameters of modesty, alcohol consumption, home or public education, or rock music let us focus on what is truly our One common denominator Christ Jesus. “Who even while we were yet sinners LOVED us”. This fight has been going on for too long. We are killing ourselves with friendly fire. Lets start fighting the real enemy and not each other. Let’s start looking to God and not around at others. We might actually make a difference.
Finally finished. Hard copy book excerpt: “When Adam and Eve dawned their fig leaves, were they trying to deter someone from lusting after them? The correct answer is, “No.” When Eve was given her first set of clothes from God while in Eden,who was she supposed to be worried about tempting to lust after her? There were no other men around! The same could be asked of angels wearing clothes or of the special class of angels, seraphim,using two-thirds of their wings as a covering. Did God think someone in Heaven might lust after an angel? For that matter, in Revelations 6:11, did God give white robes to the martyrs slain for Christ because He was afraid they would be lusting after one
another? No, they were perfect without sinful flesh at that point.
The primary reason for clothing or being covered is not to be a countermeasure against lust. But that a cover can be important to
God is evident in that He designed an angelic being with four out of six wings given for that very purpose, not flight. The same can be
said of His giving a crown of glory to women as a covering.”
A Convicted Heart for past sins while in Christ
Remove your veil, Take off the skirt, Uncover the thigh,… Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
Yes, your shame will be seen….Isaiah 47:2-3 NJKV
Did Jesus really mean every word HE said? It doesn’t look like this author, or this generation believes that.
First, this blog starts out being deceptive. The title Christian Women Should Not Eat Chocolate? led me to believe that it would be a cute blog about … chocolate! Instead, it proceeded to elaborate why the author thought that is was justifiable for Christians to wear bikinis – if it FEELS right, it must be okay. Right out of the Bible – Judges 21:25 “In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as they saw fit.” EVERYONE DID AS THEY SAW FIT, and that is why we have the lukewarm Christianity that it is today.
Revelation 3:16 “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” NIV
Whether or not one thinks it is okay to wear bikinis (or any type of clothing) the basis for the blog was not Biblical, but rather emotional and “because I THINK so”. One cannot stand on Biblical principles while endorsing or encouraging anti-Christian behavior.
I was so fired up by this blog – sent by email from a “respected Christian organization” that I couldn’t speak “HSLDA” or “HEDUA” without spitting. I tried and prayed that I might respond to this blog in love, and it never did come. I prayed hours for this author, and the readers, that they would come to see Christ as Messiah – Savior – and follow HIM, and not what modern feminism would have us believe – that our bodies were made for our enjoyment, and if we look good in a bikini, we must have value. Is that really what we want to teach our girls? Our boys? Where in the Bible does it say that by my flesh I will be judged? If it doesn’t then why do we write blogs on what is okay to wear??
What was even more sickening was how other readers ripped apart a commenter that lovingly disagreed with the author. I eventually just left it be, and only recently felt the need to return to it.
No wonder the Church is coming apart at the seams. So-called Christians that FEEL it’s okay to behave contrary to the Word of God, and expecting God to bless them. And they feel that they can justify doing so “If it is appropriate to the occasion”.
I used to believe that in the “end times” spoken of in the Bible, with the great “falling away” was when people would leave the church. I see now that it rather means that believers will “fall away” from following God’s Word, while still attempting to promote His Name. One cannot serve two masters – either you serve yourself (“if she enjoys it”) or you serve the ONE TRUE GOD.
I was sickened that one would compare cultures – “Well the Spanish have nude beaches, so why not ‘do as the Romans when in Rome’ and go topless while we are there?” Didn’t your parents ever ask you, if your friends jumped off a bridge would you jump too?
Is it okay to compare ourselves with other men/cultures/whatever? The neighbors down the street lie, steal, cheat, curse, etc all week, but are there at church every Sunday – should we let our children think that they are the standard to follow? Or should we teach them that those things ought not be done, and that we cannot compare ourselves to men but see if our lives match up to the Bible?
Why not show a picture of a girl in a bikini instead of a lady eating chocolate? Is the image too offensive to some, or is not within the guidelines of HEFA? I remember a sports calendar about 10 years or so ago, that was in the controversy spotlight due the bikini pictures. There were comments on both sides of the fence from “This is soft-porn” to “What’s wrong with showing a little skin? God gave these women beautiful bodies – let them show them off.” The stickler for me was when I went to the website and it was BLOCKED for under 18 year olds. Isn’t that the age for purchasing pornographic material? I thought so too.
What about drawing the lines around “selfies”? Or what if your dear daughter was enjoying the sun in her bikini, took a picture of it, texted it to her friend, then eventually the police are calling you about sexting images? Would it really be a sexting issue if she was dressed in shorts and a tee-shirt? Probably not.
Why not run around in your bra and underwear, or let your daughter do so? What is the difference between undergarments and that bikini? Occasion? What would you say to your child if they were swimming in their underwear? Why or why not would you run around in your underwear?
Where will being okay with a bikini end? What justifies “occasion”? A pool party with hormone-raging teenagers (please don’t give me that line that if they are part of the church youth group that they are automatically “good kids” and that the girls in bikinis aren’t doing any harm to the boys, or the shirtless boys aren’t affecting the girls). How about a coffee shop, where the new money-maker is bikini baristas? How about when they start going to pasties? I was dumb enough one day to misread the “Pasties Tuesday” as another incorrect reader board, thinking they were advertising pastRies instead of muffins. Do you want your daughter to work in that coffee stand, to be mentally raped by every guy that goes for a cup of coffee? Do you REALLY think that your husbands and sons are NOT affected by a pair of…. in their face?
What kind of leaf coverings did Adam and Eve have, and why did God make COATS of skins to cover their nakedness? Oh wait, the Bible is soo open to interpretation that even the leaves were smaller than pasties and must have only covered….just what exactly? Why would God make coats if He felt that the bikini was okay?
Genesis 8:21 KJV ….the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth….
Jeremiah 18:12 And they said, There is no hope: but we will walk after our own devices, and we will every one do the imagination of his evil heart.
When does following God become obedience verses legalistic? Is this a buffet-style Christianity, where one gets to chose which commands to obey?
An pilgrim woman (for example with their clothes) could be full anger and bitterness, and cast out their love for God but still wear the spirit of a meek and obedient heart, just as new believer in Christ is still wearing her red-light district clothes because she just got saved, wants to live for the Lord but taking baby-steps and her tight mini-skirt is the only skirt that she owns but wants to witness to all her wretched friends how to be freed from
sin and find salvation in the Creator God. The one, by her clothes, hides a hard, unrepentant heart, and the other, by her clothes, hides a broken and a contrite heart. Which one will God bless? Will he ask the former harlot to change her clothes? Or will she do it by opening up the Scriptures and finding out what God calls modest?
Fear not: ye have done all this wickedness: yet turn not aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart;…..1 Samuel 12:24
Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you……
and finally….1 Samuel 16:7
But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.
Matthew 22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
John 14:15 (Jesus said) If ye love me, keep my commandments.
John 15:14 (Jesus said) Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Mark 10:19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honour thy father and mother.
Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (remember the coffee shop? Youth group pool party?)
I will continue to pray over this blog, the author, the readers, and that Jesus would send a strong conviction to believers to follow HIM and all His commands. May each one of us be forgiven the sins that we’ve committed, and help each other to follow HIS words, not our feelings.
Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Thank you for your reply, A Convicted Heart. That is exactly why we have Audience Soapbox articles, so people can share their opinions and debate issues. 🙂
THIS article and the above comments are why I am so glad I left religion behind. I follow a path of love and compassion, respect and kindness to all living creatures. Cause no harm and follow the Golden Rule.
The constant arguing, bickering and debate about who has it right or wrong, who is better by living in such n such a way…and yes, I read part of the article, but it was so ludicrous I stopped and decided to see if it was supposed to be an April Fool’s joke in the comments. Wow. Every one of you feeling superior to the others, so confused and so uptight. Yes, you feel superior to me, may even pity me or promise to “pray for you” I know.
Honor and love one another, respect one another. Period. Stop this incessant bickering!!