It’s often treated as a dirty word, even among Christians. It’s a loaded term, frequently misapplied value, and anyone who dares speak (or write) about it is at risk of being deemed a legalist or accused of “body-shaming.”
Rather than wasting time with too many qualifiers, let’s just cover one: men are responsible for their own sin. Any man who lusts and says “the women made me do it” is repeating the sin of Adam—he’s a blame-shifting coward who refuses to own up to his guilt. However, I want to speak up on behalf of the brothers who are imperfectly but sincerely fighting lust: the one who prays daily that his eyes will only desire his wife, the one who just confessed his addiction to porn and is seeking help and accountability, the one who’s grown in self-control but still fights the lure of lustful glances, and the one who is discouraged by his failures and needs a fresh reminder of God’s transforming grace.
Sisters, can we take modesty seriously for the sake of our brothers who are struggling and striving, confessing and repenting, and taking steps of obedience? These brothers don’t blame us for their failures, but they do appreciate when we help them combat temptation by dressing modestly. We’ll never be the antidote to their sexual sin—that role is reserved for God alone—but we can come alongside them to help them battle it.
Modesty should always be rooted in love—love for our Savior and for our neighbor—and one way this love is expressed is in its passion to protect.
I can’t help but picture a scene from the 2017 film Wonder Woman. Diana (Wonder Woman) is with a band of men on a quest to stop the villain, Ares, who she believes is responsible for instigating World War I. During this journey they arrive at no-man’s land, a battleground where the battalion hasn’t made progress in nearly a year. Any soldier who leaves the fox hole in an effort to advance is either killed or driven back. But then, to the dismay of everyone watching, Diana walks right into the middle of the battlefield. As she crosses, she holds up her shield to protect herself and those behind her. Meanwhile, the men don’t meander along and passively assume she’ll take care of everything, they fight the enemy too! But Diana protects her comrades from an onslaught of bullets, deflecting some—not all—of the danger, as they move forward together in victory.
When we dress modestly, we’re doing just that. Our brothers still have to wage war on the sin in their own hearts and the temptations of the world, but we can enter the lust-laden battlefield with them, fiercely protecting in the ways we can and fighting together to gain ground on the bloodthirsty enemy of sin.
Perhaps if we stopped considering it a “men” vs “women” problem, and remembered that God has set us apart to be His perfect and purified Bride, we’d enthusiastically embrace this value of fighting together. We are vested in one another’s growth in holiness! Instead of self-righteously judging our brothers for their struggles with lust, we must humbly remember the seductive power of sin in our own lives and seek to help them as we want others helping us! Will we reflect the servant-heart of our Savior instead of clinging to the rights of our wardrobe?
Writing as a girl with curves, I know it’s hard. Finding modest swimwear is a particularly aggravating experience. I dislike shopping anyway, and getting swimwear that doesn’t resemble lingerie is far more complicated (and expensive) than it should be. I’d rather not worry about whether something is high enough or long enough and just grab whatever is hanging on the Target clearance rack. But love for my brother and a desire to protect his heart should usurp my craving for ease and help me forgo styles that are designed to accentuate my sexuality.
A commitment to modesty isn’t easy, but it’s not an unreasonable sacrifice to make for the sake of our brothers. Jesus died for us. He emptied Himself of His rights, His privileges, and His beauty to take the form of a servant and become our Savior. He is the one we should strive to mirror, not a culture that worships at the altar of autonomy.
Will we do that for our brothers? Will we band together and remember that we’re fighting for the same thing—holiness. We can’t win the battle against lust for them, but we can deflect some measure of temptation and advance together in the mission to follow our Savior. And as we do, we can be assured that our Father in heaven sees. He sees when we clothe ourselves—body and soul—in humility, and He will bless us for it.
Please note: this article is just covering one facet of this sensitive topic. Because of the brevity of blog posts, it is impossible for a single article to comprehensively cover any subject.