Monday, March 5, 2007

Modesty and the Lack Thereof

Dear Sisters in Christ,

It is with a heavy heart that I put my pen to paper, but I feel that the LORD is leading me to write to you on this subject. I have wrestled in my spirit for the right words to say, and know that I will offend many of you. Many will call me legalistic. Many will say that I am taking away their Christian liberty. Still, I must write. I am trying to “speak the truth in love.” Ephesians 4:15

“Who is she to tell us what to do?”, some of you might ask. I will tell you that I am your sister in Christ, concerned for the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am also a wife who is jealous for her husband’s affections, and a mother trying to raise Godly sons. These tasks are hard enough in this world that we live in, and I do not believe that it should be even harder because of the church.

Yes, I am writing to you women who are in the church. I do realize that sanctification is a process, and that the church is made up of sinners, of who I am the chief. I am in no way claiming to be perfect, even in this area.

Ladies, I have spent many years observing the dress of the women in the church. I have tried to look the other way. I feel that God is calling me to be silent no longer. I have seen bare midriffs. No, not midriff baring tops, but women reaching upward to expose their stomachs. I have seen, pardon my bluntness, butt cracks of at LEAST four different women in the church. Were they shown intentionally? Maybe not. But due to a poor choice of clothing, I have seen them none the less. I have seen bare backs. Again, bending over, stooping down, etc. exposes much more than you may think. Or then again, maybe you do know, but don’t care. I have seen thongs and black lace panties sticking out of the tops of jeans. I have seen skirts so short than when a person sits it exposes her crotch, no matter how she positions her legs. Gauchos are all the rage, but have you seen how they creep up the butt leaving nothing to the imagination for the men standing behind you? Again, I am not telling you what I saw when I was out about the town, but what I have seen in churches!

What are we thinking? Oh, yes. We need to be “cute, and trendy. In style. Sexy.” And what are our husbands/fathers thinking to allow us out of the house dressed like this? I can assure you that our Heavenly Father does not condone such attire as we have been parading around in.

Paul admonishes the women in 1Timothy 2:9-10, “likewise, also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness - with good works.” Italics, mine.

According to the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language,
Respectable means :
1. Possessing the worth or qualities which deserve or command respect; worthy of esteem and honor .
Modesty : 4. In females modesty has the like character as in males; but the word is used
also as synonymous with chastity, or purity of manners. In this sense, modesty results from purity of mind, or from the fear of disgrace and ignominy fortified by education and principle. Unaffected modesty is the sweetest charm of female excellence, the richest gem in the diadem of their honor.
Self-Control: soberness; habitual freedom from enthusiasm, inordinate passion, or over-heated imagination; calmness; coolness; “as applied to women it definitely had a sexual nuance”, J.N.D. Kelly, The Pastoral Epistles

We can understand why the women of the world want to wear these items of clothing. They want to attract the attention of men. And they do. But what kind of attention? Ladies, even our godly, Christian husbands and sons are not immune to a scantily clad woman. Do not be fooled!

Jeff Pollard in Christian Modesty and the Public Undressing of America says, “Compare what is preached as ‘liberty‘ today with questions 137 through 139 of the Westminster Assembly’s Larger Catechism :

Q. 137: Which is the seventh commandment? A. The seventh commandment is, Thou shalt not commit adultery.

Q. 138: What are the duties required in the seventh commandment? A. The duties required in the seventh commandment are chastity in body, mind, affections, words and behavior; and the preservation of it in ourselves and others; watchfulness over the eyes and all the senses, temperance, keeping of chaste company, modesty in apparel, marriage by those who have not the gift of continency, conjugal love, and cohabitation; diligent labor in our callings; shunning all occasions of uncleanness, and resisting temptations thereunto.

Q. 139: What are the sins forbidden in the seventh commandment? A. The sins forbidden in the seventh commandment, besides the neglect of the duties required, are adultery, fornication, rape, incest, sodomy, and all unnatural lusts; all unclean imaginations, thoughts, purposes and affections; all corrupt or filthy communications, or listening thereunto; wanton looks, impudent or light behavior, immodest apparel; prohibiting of lawful marriages; allowing, tolerating, or keeping of stews, and resorting to them; entangling vows of single life, undue delay of marriage; having more wives or husbands than one at the same time; unjust divorce, or desertion; idleness, gluttony, and drunkenness, unchaste company; lascivious songs, books, pictures, stage plays; and all other provocations to, or acts of uncleanness, either in ourselves or others. (Emphasis added)

Ladies, please, I implore you to do a wardrobe check. Stand in front of a full length mirror. Bend. Stretch, crouch down. Examine your self from EVERY angle. If you do not have a long mirror, have your husband/ mother look at you. If you are showing ANY skin between your shirt and pants/skirt, it is too much. Some clothes just should not be worn.

God did not cover Adam and Eve with a fig leaf, but sewed skins together so that they would be fully covered. God is not silent on this subject. As Christians, our attire should match our profession. Do you look like you should be in church, or on the street?

Please, give our men and boys an atmosphere where they can worship the righteous and holy God that we serve. Do not let church be another place of temptation.

It would be wise for every woman to read the results of the modesty survey at

You may find the entire Westminster Catechism at

For further reading:


Patrick & Rachel said...

Thanks, Tracy. Women can always use the reminder to be modest/ pleasing in God's sight!

Anonymous said...

Amen. Simply put...a quiet Amen.

Sadie said...

I love this post Tracy. I have two small sons and a teenage daughter and I am trying instill in her the saying that we saw on a t-shirt ona trip we took to the mall a while back...


I loved that shirt and it had a scripture underneath...
1 Corin 12:23...the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty...

Have you ever seen it?

Thanks for your comment on my site and I glad that you liked my photographs!

Anonymous said...

I've been scrolling through your archives and enjoying your posts very much. This one I had to comment on... I have been pretty amazed by what some people have the nerve to wear to church, and in public, too.

I just had a baby, and it was six years since my last one. I wished I'd saved some of my maternity clothes. I don't know if you've noticed, but most of the maternity jeans are low riders now, and the tops aren't as long and "smock-like" as they used to be!!! I had a hard time with my jeans riding down and finding shirts long enough to cover my back. What is the point of skimpy maternity clothes, I would like to know? Yikes!!

Emily said...

*Applauds*. Excellent post, Tracy - thank you for speaking the truth in love to us. It is women like you that made me realise about a year ago that how I dress should reflect my Christian faith. Up until that point I had been so oblivious to it all! I needed to hear words like this so that I could make the right adjustments to my wardrobe.

It is, of course, still something I am learning and refining over time - but the Lord is graciously patient with me and has surrounded me with other inspiration women who model modesty, which is a huge blessing.

God bless you dear sister!

In His care,


Stace said...

Thanks so much! I totally agree! This is such a problem. Thanks for bringing it up.

Daughter of the King said...

Great post...every church should have this hanging in the ladies restroom....can you tell this is a pet peeve of mine as well...

Mrs. U said...

Wonderful post, Tracy!! I wholeheartedly agree with you!!!

And may I please add.... ladies, if you have to hold your shirt in place EVERY TIME you bend over to make sure that your breasts are not exposed WEAR ANOTHER SHIRT!!!!!

Yes, I have seen my share of inappropriately attired women in churches.

Mrs. U