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Sunday, April 03, 2011

Modesty In Dress

Cover of "Royal Wedding"Cover of Royal WeddingLast week while driving to work I listened to a series on the above topic in which the pastor thundered about the need for women to dress modestly in church. The pastor reasoned that if women knew what goes through men's minds they would be more careful when putting their wardrobe, particularly their church wardrobe, together.

I couldn't help smiling as the pastor's sermon reminded me of a conversation a friend and I had some time ago about women wearing shorts to church. This is a very relevant topic now that summer seems to be bearing down on us. My friend doesn't see anything wrong with women wearing shorts to church. Her argument is that if God is her Father then she can wear whatever she wants in His house. When she said that I was temporarily stumped for words.

Yes, God is our Father. He knows what we look like, with or without clothes. However, when we go to church we are not dressing for God alone, but for everyone else who walks through the doors. The Bible says, Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God--" 1 Corinthians 10: 32.

 In the same vein, if you had a meeting with the President of the United States, you would not go dressed in shorts, and if you were going to the beach you would not wear an evening gown. I believe that reverence and respect for God demand that we dress modestly. Jesus didn't teach on how women should dress to come to church because in His day women showed only their faces, even during the summer. However both Paul and Peter had something to say on the matter:

"I also want women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God" (1 Timothy 2 : 9 -10). "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. 4 Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (1 Peter 3: 3- 4).

In other words, the apostles were saying that modesty comes not from what you wear, but from your inner self. If  the clothes you wear to church are so ostentatious that you look like you are attending the Royal Wedding, then you are drawing attention to your outer self and not to your inner self. Therefore to go back to the pastor's sermon, I agree that we should dress modestly in church. My interpretation of modest dress is that which is appropriate for the house of God - reverent and respectful. It should not be the type of clothing that makes you feel self-conscious or makes others feel uncomfortable around you.

I look forward to your comments.

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