“Oh sweetie, don’t bend over, I’ll get the sodas from now on.” That’s what the older woman said to me as I was wearing short shorts and a tank top in the middle of the summer, while serving at my church for a men’s event! Umm, yeah, can you say immodest? But, hey, I was new in Christ, what did I know? Apparently not much in the modesty department!
I didn’t know the woman personally and I had zero understanding of what her issue was. It’s not like I had read the verse about not causing our brothers to stumble. Well, maybe I did read it, but I clearly did not understand it!
I was thankful for her tact and graciousness. I was thankful that she did not condemn me for not dressing like a good, sweet, Christian woman. Although I was one, I was still learning and growing in the Lord.
Can you look at this woman without judging her because of what she is wearing?
I once had a friend that I brought to church, and over time I encouraged her to grow in the Lord. She was a very pretty and thin gal, but not the most modest. I spent quite a bit of time mentoring her in various aspects of her life, including her walk with the Lord, equipping her in her marriage, along with encouraging her in her parenting. But never once did I address her immodest clothing. I wanted to, but I felt like she was already dealing with enough as it was.
One day she came to church in what looked like a very short and small, black cocktail dress. It screamed provocative. When I saw it my mouth dropped open in shock and I thought to myself, should I say something to her or not. She’s around my husband and other men and I’m sure she is certainly causing some of these guys to stumble!
So, here’s my question to you. Would you have said something to her regarding her inappropriate dress?
Now here’s the rest of the story….
Later that day I found out that her husband was heavily involved in pornography and had been for many years. My friend felt unwanted and unloved and she felt like she was competing for her husband’s attention. My heart broke for her.
Has your answer changed based on her situation? Do you have a little more compassion for her and a little more grace for the choice of clothes that she made that day?
Now a word to the Titus 2 ladies……..
I hear you as I type these words. I know you are saying we should tell these younger believers to cover themselves up. I once held that view, but my heart has changed. It has softened a bit. In fact, I don’t even feel qualified to type this post about being a little more gracious to our sisters who are not the most modest, because I don’t feel I have extended enough grace to them; the Truth, yes, but Grace, not so much.
Let me explain.
I see the scriptures in ‘black and white’. To me, the counsel given in the Word of God is crystal clear and I never really understood why some people would see things as being ‘gray’.
But God’s teaching me a few things and I am thankful for the grace that He has extended to me. I am thankful for the graciousness the older woman extended to me. I am thankful that the Holy Spirit told me to keep my mouth shut regarding my friend so she could receive the Lord’s grace.
I see God’s truth in black and white,
but every now and then, I see His GRAYce.
Who’s to decide what is modest or immodest?
Should a Christian sister point out to any Christian sister that she is dressed immodestly?
Do we, as Titus 2 women become the ‘modesty police’? I kinda felt like I did at one point, perhaps you could’ve even called me the Sarge. You know how it is. We admonish them in the name of the Lord, as ironing sharpening iron, or helping them to grow in Christ. I think the heart intentions are probably right but sometimes we can become very legalistic in this.
Here’s some things to consider if you are a Titus 2 Woman:
Do you have a friendship with the younger sister? If not, they will most likely feel condemned by what you have to say to them. But if you do have a friendship with her and she has asked for your opinion, then give it to her in love and most likely she’ll receive it.
Can you offer more grace and understanding to the weaker believer? Often times we are so concerned about whether or not her dress will cause a brother to stumble, but in confronting her do you ever stop to consider if what you have to say to her will cause her to stumble?
Sometimes our younger sisters just need to see our example of modesty.
If you tell a woman she is dressed immodestly, always keep in mind what that will do to her spiritual walk.
Will it sharpen her?
Will it draw her closer to the Lord?
Or will she feel like she can’t measure up to your standards or worse yet, feel like the Lord has some unattainable standards?
Sometimes in our journey of pursuing the Lord, it takes us a while to grow and mature in Christ, even as a Titus 2 woman regarding this particular issue! You see, I am a Titus 2 woman to other women in my life, but I also have women that are Titus 2 women to me. I’m sure they’re wondering when I’m going to be more loving and gracious when I speak God’s truth to the women the Lord has put in my path. These women have always extended me grace rather than dished out a bowl of condemnation. However, that’s not to say I was never convicted. Quite the opposite in fact. I just wasn’t convicted by their words, but rather, through the Holy Spirit piercing my heart.
If You’re Wondering What is Modest….
I’m not going to give you a detailed description of what type of clothing is considered modest because the Bible does not define modesty!
Instead, take a look at…..
God’s Dress Code
Put on tender mercies.
Put on kindness.
Put on humility.
Put on meekness.
Put on love.
Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering. Colossians 3:12 But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. Colossians 3:14
God looks at your heart.
For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7
God desires a gentle and quiet spirit.
Do not let your adornment be merely outward–arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel–rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 1 Peter 3:3,4
Now, I can tell you some of the things I wear or don’t wear in hopes that it would help you, but I’m not going to do that either and here are the reasons why:
To some, I won’t be dressed modest enough.
Therefore, you will fall into the sin of being critical and judgmental, and seeing how I don’t want to stumble you, I’ve decided not to share with you what’s in my closet.
To others, I’m dressed too modest.
I don’t want to cause another sister to feel like she can’t measure up to my standards. My walk with the Lord, is just that, my walk. Your walk is your walk.
So, that’s why I’m not going to tell you what I wear because I care about your spiritual growth.
Let the Holy Spirit penetrate your heart and guide you when choosing your clothes; that should be your modesty meter.
Although, I will leave you with this tip:
Who Are You Dressing For?
Do you dress for yourself?
Do you dress to show off your body and make other women feel jealous or insecure about theirs?
Do you dress to attract the attention from other males?
Do you dress for your husband? (If you’re married.)
If you’re married, ask your husband if what you own is appropriate to wear out of the house or not. Since he’s a man, he’ll have a better understanding of what can cause another man to stumble.
If you’re single, ask your dad, or brother, or mother, or another sister in the Lord what their thoughts are on your outfits.
None of us have mastered perfection and sometimes we just need to look at others through GRAYce-filled lenses.
Beautifully, beautifully put:)
I completely agree. A TRUE Titus 2 older woman is someone who speaks what the Spirit calls her to speak WHEN the Spirit calls her to speak. And she does it with those with whom she has a relationship that gives her the RIGHT to speak. Then it comes from a heart understanding her need and her struggles and not just because of a list of Dos and Don’ts.
Thanks for sharing this, sweetie!
Loved what you said here, Kate! You are right about a list of do’s and don’ts.
Loved this post. Life is a study in relationship building. If you haven’t built a relationship, you probably don’t have a place to say anything. In addition, we have to address our own motives and insecurities when deciding whether to say something. Are we just scared our own husband is going to gawk, stumble, etc. or are we truly concerned for what that type of dress says about the heart of that woman?
Yes, Alecia, are we truly concerned about her heart?
Good post. You’re so right. So often it seems like the “right” thing to do is to go around telling people what they’re doing wrong, but that’s not the case.
Yes, Kristina, it does seem like the ‘right’ thing to do, but that’s not the case.
I just told a young woman today when she questioned me about how to dress for church. I told her to wear what she has and that will be good enough.
Blessings to you!
So well put. I love the Bible quotes that you chose. They are really inspiring me to work towards more gentleness and kindness. Thank you.
Ah, yes, gentleness and kindness….it seems like I’ll never master those virtues!
Very well said.
It’s all the Lord’s words, Jeri! 🙂
Hi Jolene – such wise words. I think God has to lead us to speak to someone and sometimes being an example is words enough. If they open the door and ask, then by all means. i know people mean well sometimes, but sometimes it causes more harm than good! Great post
More harm than good. You are right about that, Tracy!
This is a great post. Sharing : )
To God be the glory.
Thank you Jolene for sharing this! I have been interested in what others say about modesty as there are many opinions on the issue. I admire the way you go about addressing it. So many people fight over what is and isn’t okay to wear that it can get confusing for anyone who is trying to be modest. Now, I do believe that we should have some standards as far as how we dress but it is not our place to judge others who simply may not know what is modest or do not hold the same views. I like how you say that modesty begins with the heart and motives. What a Great way to think about it! I think there would be a lot less debate if we started looking at it this way.
Hmmm, debate amongst Christians! I wonder how God feels about that. I know it is all too common and I’m sure it grieves Him.
Come check out my list of 100 Smoothies! Comment if you’d like on which one is you favorite!
Love, Traci @ Ordinary Inspirations http://www.ordinaryinspirations.blogspot.com/2012/04/100-smoothie-recipes.html
LOVE this post!! I am a single gal, but I frequently visit your blog. Though I am not yet married, I probably will be some day- never too early to start learning. Plus, I can tweak most of what I learn and apply it other relationships… I know you write specifically for married women, but I would LOVE if you ever did posts to us single girls who are trying to prepare ourselves, especially those of us who have quite a tainted past, but have since fallen in love with Jesus! Thank you for all you do!
Dearest sweet Lee Ann,
First, thank you for blessing me with your sweet comment. Second, I am smiling as I type this because the Lord has been prompting me to write to the single gals as well. 🙂 Isn’t God good like that? I just need to set it up on this blog and then I’ll get to writing the posts. LOVE to hear that you have fallen in love with our sweet Jesus!
Oh Jolene, I am SO excited. God is pretty amazing like that!!! Recently, He has just knocked my socks off with his goodness… I cannot wait to read what you write. Thank you for taking the time to allow God to work through you. It isn’t always easy being the willing vessel, but oh how I pray that I am!
Hello, I just found you over at Allume. Thanks for your words, it’s a great reminder that sometimes there is a need to speak up but always it is important to be an example. Blessings!
What a great post on a sensitive subject. I think we should be teaching our young girls, pre-teens and teens what modesty is all about… How to dress appropriately. Here is a great Christian site and there are some great Christian models who share and teach on modesty as well.
Have a wonderful day!
Thanks for sharing, Ms. Kathleen
What a great reminder to be full of grace. How often we forget what drives motives to dress a certain way. Thank you for sharing this perspective and challenging us to be Christ-like! Blessings, Kristin
That was well put.
I personally have some anger issues that I am working on, and when I see young ladies in my church (many of which are my peers and age group) dressing provocatively it makes me ANGRY. I am angry that my husband sees them (maybe some jealousy issues too…definitely) and I am angry that I have to see them! Some of them are even on stage! I just don’t know how to approach it, but you make some very good points. Thank you for your thoughts.
Nicole at Working Kansas Homemaker
I hear you Nicole. I think it is something that we need to daily lay at His feet while asking Him to give us His heart that He has towards His daughters.
This is an excellent post about this sensitive issue. If we can first dress ourselves in love, God’s discernment will, like your example at the beginning, show us what to say.
Visiting from Wise Woman
stopping by from Ann’s…you did a lovely job here…I was one of those ignorant girls too…it took a work of God to open my eyes and see the truth…it was painful. Now that I have 3 sons my heart breaks for them…I know their desires…I know how they long to remain pure…and how hard it is when girls around them choose to continue to dress without much regard for them. I also have 2 daughters…First my heart has to be changed…and than I could teach and model a different way for my daughters. Sometimes girls want to “claim” innocence…my oldest daughter took it upon herself to read every young mans battle…this solidified what i was telling her.
and yes…the most important way to dress is…God’s Dress Code
Put on tender mercies.
Put on kindness.
Put on humility.
Put on meekness.
Put on love.
my that be what I am clothed in…thanks for this…blessings to you~
I never thought of it as a Dress Code in that passage, but you are so right. Nicely written.
Wow – I was completely the “Modesty Police” for years – in my heart. I was too shy to say anything in person though I harbored those ill feelings for quite some time. Now I struggle with dressing for my husband. He feels I dress TOO modestly and it is so difficult to find clothing that fits my short frame and this season of life with little ones and a nurseling. It’s either ultra-modest or far too revealing.
Such a good reminder to check out hearts and to extend grace. Thank you.
Oh, friend, I’m with ya! But I encourage you to dress for your man. Captivate him like you did before marriage!
yep…to all of it.
So thankful for the Allume link up so I knew to visit!
I’m all about getting to the heart of things. not the thread of things. No matter how you dress, it’s your heart I want to see and help guide to the Lord. He’ll take care of the other details 😉
Ooh that’s a tough one. I think I would pray about it and if I had a role in her life where I could speak truth in love into her life and felt like after prayer it was appropriate than yes I would talk to her because it would ultimately help her. We started teaching our daughter modesty at a young age and she was modeling what she learned when she helped me in my sunday school room… nothing more precious than that!
That’s precious Court!
Beautifully written. It’s a sensitive subject but your questions are important to ask ourselves. I’ve seen God speak to a young sister’s heart without me saying a word. They can point back to God’s leading, unlike when we preach our own preferences. I’ll be quoting you on this one!
Such an important post, not only in the area of modesty, but every Christian value. I look back at some of the things I wore/did as a new Christian and cringe, but God was truly working in my heart and I had so much to learn I just couldn’t learn it all at once. But I’m grateful for women who helped me along in the process without harshness or judgement. Thanks for sharing this gracious post.
Wow! This is the best article I have EVER read on modesty! So full of grace and truth.
I am 100% behind you and my heart leaps for joy a bit reading this. At our last college student retreat some ladies from church helped cook. They didn’t know we had many non-believers and students struggling with porn, self-hate, orgies, same sex attraction… you name it. Well, at the retreat I overheard a lady tell another lady these girls need to have a bible study on modesty and my heart just broke. If she only knew what they were facing, the pain they were experiencing… modesty would be the least of her concerns. It seems like when we stay on the outside of peoples lives it is so easy to judge. Thank you for bringing this to light!!!
This post really makes me think about the condition of my heart. So often I have been the “Modesty Police” in my mind, never saying anything out loud. I think that I look at things differently because God has been dealing with me. It is not my job to worry about what people wear. If we can just get people to church God will make changes on the inside and then changes will become evident on the outside. I want to share this article with some of my sisters at church.
Loved this post. If only more women would put on the garment of grace, humility and kindness, before “correcting” a sister in Christ. Maybe the church would be known for their love instead of their judgement. sigh
Comments are closed.