I sent out a notice to the Fundamental Baptist Information Service e-mail list and asked the following question of the men on the list who are members of fundamentalist and independent Baptist churches:
“In your opinion, which of the following items of female dress cause a real potential for lust?”
short skirts tight skirts slit skirts long skirts with slits to the knees sleeveless blouses low cut blouses and dresses tight blouses sheer blouses
T-shirts V-neck dresses form-fitting jeans looser-fitting pants shorts one piece bathing suits
[We included pedal pushers and capris in the original survey but most of the men did not know what they are, so it turned out that the comments on those items were too irrelevant to include in this book.]
My objective in this is to help girls and women in strong Bible-believing churches to understand how men think, not only men in the world or men in churches in general but men in the very churches that they attend.
I received a flood of response to this survey. In just one day I received well over 100 responses from men ages 24 to 74 and from many parts of the world, and that was on a weekend, and they are still coming in a week and a half later. This tells me that there is a readiness on the part of men to let women understand how they see this issue.
As you will see, the responses were very earnest. The men are discouraged that lust is such a powerful temptation in their lives, and they admitted that it is so. Some of the men literally begged me to tell the women that their manner of dress is important and that they need to understand how men look at things.
One man wrote: “Thank you for this request. This area is the greatest challenge in my life -- in all honesty to a brother-in-the-Blood.”
The following was also typical:
“I have been saved for about eight years and the lust issue is huge for me and for all men. ... I need God every day to help me stay away from lust. Short Skirts, tight blouses, slit dresses are all over. You can’t look at billboards, grocery store waiting line magazine racks, Internet advertisements, walking in the park, or any store. You get my point; it’s everywhere. ... I have to pray everyday for God to keep lust out of my way. I wish I was born into a good Bible believing church and was brought up to stay away from lustful sin. To answer your question it would have to be anything short or tight on a woman. I look forward to the cold winters up north when women cover everything up.”
Another man said:
“That our society drenches every inch of media in sexually explicit advertising is a source of much temptation, sadness and concern for this man. Facing that sort of issue with Christian sisters in a church setting is most grievous.”
Most of the men observed that their response to a woman’s immodest dress depends on their spiritual condition and acknowledged that they have a responsibility before God not to lust after women regardless of how they are dressed.
For example, one man said: “Men are sight oriented creatures. The Lord has so equipped men to be sexually stimulated visually. ... Men must govern their own hearts.”
Another man said: “My response to immodesty is often dependent on the environment, situation and my spiritual defense mechanism at a particular moment. If I have had a wonderful prayer time and clothed myself with all the spiritual armor, I am usually just about OK for anything. But more often then I would like it, I am not prepared or I am in a vulnerable situation; then I better run for my dear life (Gen. 39:12).”
Another man said: “While I feel that the Lord has helped me overcome in this area [of not lusting after women], the enemy knows my weakness and still attacks me. In my opinion, the key to overcoming lust are: 1) Obey God’s Word, especially the command to abstain from the very appearance of evil; and 2) don’t put yourself in situations where you will encounter women scantily dressed (i.e. the beach, certain television programs, etc.). Since we are in the world, I know that there is no way to completely avoid the things that tempt us, but if we will stay true to the Word of God and allow Him to help us, we can be ‘more than conquerors through Him who loved us’ (Romans 8:37).”
Many of the men also observed that this is a heart issue. The following statement by a pastor is typical of those made by many others:
“I believe the most important issue in female modesty is the issue of a chaste heart. If the woman desires to please her Saviour and honor her brother in Christ, there is seldom an issue with the clothing she wears. Mandating modest clothing without focusing on creating a chaste heart does little good. If the woman wears ‘modest’ clothing but is sensual in the way she walks or conducts herself, it will invariably cause a man to lust. I don’t need to see skin to cause me to lust. We men have pretty good imaginations.”
As to the individual items of dress, the men made the following points:
First of all, many of the men replied that all of the aforementioned female dress styles hold a real potential for lust. The following two statements were typical:
“I believe that ALL you had listed cause a ‘potential’ for lust.”
“I think that ALL of the listed items can cause lust. The bottom line for me is that anything that is form fitting, exposing, sheer, or clinging to a woman is immodest and can cause men to lust.”
Comments on the specific items of apparel fell along the following lines:
SHORT SKIRTS AND SHORT DRESSES AND SHORTS hold a very serious potential for lust for men. One man said, “The higher up on a woman’s leg, the more lustful/tempting it becomes.”
TIGHT CLOTHING is at least as much of a potential problem for men as skimpy clothing. Most of the men indicated that TIGHT SKIRTS AND TIGHT BLOUSES AND FORM-FITTING JEANS AND ONE-PIECE BATHING SUITS hold a “VERY great potential” for lust. One man said tight skirts are “very inviting and a potential for lust.” Another said of tight clothing, “You don’t even need to see skin; they provide all the curves.” Another said: “I would say the number one problem is any garment that is form fitting, be it jeans, pants, skirt, dress, shirt, whatever. Anything that is tight, no matter how long it is, leaves nothing to the imagination, and that defeats the whole purpose of covering the skin in the first place!” Another said: “One thing I see in my church is tight clothing. Oh, it may very well be covering but it is revealing the shape in a woman. This can be even more tantalizing to a man.” Another wrote: “The point is that it is not the type of clothing that can trip a man up, rather it is the amount and the level of cling to the body.” One man said that since one-piece bathing suits are “skin tight” he does “not think any red blooded normal man could look purely on a woman attired like this.” Some of the men also mentioned LOW-RIDING JEANS as a cause for serious concern, because not only do they totally emphasize the woman’s figure but they are also suggestive of a bare midriff even if covered with a T-shirt. The T-shirt in such a case is invariably tight, of course.
SLIT SKIRTS AND SLIT DRESSES are a problem for many men. One man answered the question of whether slit skirts are a real potential for lust with the reply, “Oh! Yes.” One man said that slit skirts “tempt your imagination.” Another called the slit skirt the “peek-a-boo” skirt, while another said the slit is “designed to catch the eye.” A pastor said, “They are a teasing game, catching the attention of a guy’s eyes with the promise of more; it is an enticement to sin.” One man said: “My belief is that any slit (whether it be a long, medium, or short skirt) provides a flash of skin that is enticing to the eye and the flesh of men. It is the ‘forbidden fruit,’ so to speak, that is covered and when the woman sits or moves just right, that part of the leg is exposed and it is all a man needs to think about what he just saw or what else he could see.” Another man said: “I know that many women cannot begin to understand how that a skirt or dress that is 2 inches off the floor in length, but has a long slit anywhere on it, front, back or side, can cause a man to lust. They think that we are pathetic, and unfortunately I have to agree.” Another man said: “For me personally, slits draw my eyes where they shouldn’t be drawn. If anyone knows anything about advertising, he would know that advertisers use lines to draw people’s eyes where they want (company logo, name, whatever). Slits in skirts do exactly the same thing.” Another observed, “If the slit is there because the dress or skirt is too tight, why not wear a loose skirt?” Some men said that the slits are not a problem if they are not above the knee.
SHEER BLOUSES OR DRESSES are a problem for the vast majority of men. One man said, “I see a lot of Christian women wearing sun dresses in the summer because they are cool. They are also revealing and alluring. Most summer clothes are thin so as to be more comfortable. But you let that woman wearing these clothes stand with a light source behind her (such as the sun) and there is nothing left to the imagination. You can see her form in every detail and it will get men frothing at the mouth, lusting after that woman. Is it the man’s fault for not controlling his flesh and desires even though it is there for him to see? Absolutely! But it is equally the woman’s fault for not having enough godliness about her to dress modestly in the first place.”
Even LOOSER-FITTING FEMALE PANTS, while not as much of a problem as form-fitting jeans, hold a potential problem for many men. One man said, “While it is true that some things on your list will draw your attention quicker and cause you to look longer, even ‘looser-fitting pants’ direct a man’s gaze to the area of the hips.” Another wrote: “A few years ago, I preached a message about standards (including music, dress, and others). I asked for a show of hands as to how many men would admit their eyes were drawn to a woman’s crotch when she wore pants instead of a skirt or dress. More than two dozen hands went up (and who knows how many more were hesitant to make the public confession with their wives right next to them?). The group included many of the finest Christians I know, some of whom are ordained ministers and missionaries.” Many men mentioned the unisex aspect of looser pants on women.
As for V-NECK DRESSES, most men said they are not a problem as long as the V is shallow. A few said the V-neck itself, even if not too low, can be a problem because it acts like an arrow pointing to a place where their eyes should not roam.
As for SLEEVELESS BLOUSES, many of the men mentioned that they can be a problem because they can allow a man to see something he should not see and “the potential for peeking is there.” A pastor commented, “There is too much of an opportunity for parts of a woman’s anatomy to inadvertently show through to the public that are only to be revealed to her husband in private.” One man said: “One word about sleeveless dresses or tops. When the woman has her arm raised or in a certain position, the sleeve hole will open in just a way that you can see inside her shirt and see the woman’s underwear or even more. No woman, much less a Christian woman, should ever wear clothing that reveals her body!”
When it comes to T-SHIRTS on females, the men said they are not a problem unless they are tight or expose the midriff or you can see through them or they have writings/logos/pictures at the breast level. One pastor said: “It depends on the fit, cut, thickness of the material and color. A modest T-shirt would be loose fitting, non-see-through, of a thick enough material to truly be modest. Unfortunately very few T-shirts fit these qualifications.” One man said: “My wife sews attractive vests that she and our daughter wear over T-shirts. It’s a way of using clever camouflage to be modest.” One woman mentioned another problem with T-shirts: “I have a problem with smart-alecky T-shirts. I have a hard time finding T-shirts for my daughter sometimes, not so much from a tightness standpoint, but they have inappropriate sayings on them that encourage a worldly attitude, rebellion against parents, etc.” A man wrote along similar lines in regard to “Christian T-shirts,” warning about “Jesus T-shirts like ‘This Blood’s For You,’ etc., that really degrade the message of Scripture.”
CONSIDER SOME EXCERPTS FROM THE COMMENTS MADE BY THE MEN:
“I do believe most women just do not know how men think. Period. I believe that there is a whole segment, group, class of women, who, if they really understood men, would change their dress code, because they do want to please God. Not all women, by far, but some would. They just need to understand it’s not just a list of do’s and don’ts set forth to force them in to ‘frumpiness,’ but a desire of godly men to gain their cooperation in helping them NOT lust, and to not be stumbling blocks, because they just want to please God.”
“MANY WOMEN, USUALLY YOUNGER, DRESS TO ATTRACT MEN AND DO NOT KNOW HOW DANGEROUS IT TRULY CAN BE FOR THEM. … I am a retired criminal investigator and worked criminal work for 17 1/2 years of my career. I think many homicides and serious physical assaults in addition to the obvious sex crimes are brought about by immodest dress and any born again Christian woman should never dress as such. A sexual predator can be turned on and be as dangerous as a hand grenade with the pin pulled by a women that has the one turn on factor for his mind (which is a variable with such criminals) which could be any of the listed ways of dressing.”
“I am glad you are addressing this issue. This issue along with worldly music has come into fundamental churches like a tidal wave. Thank you for being a watchman!”
“I have to admit some of the dresses that are worn even though the dress hits the floor, and some of the blouses, even though it goes all the way to the neck, are very form fitting. I don’t think that women are out to stumble the men of the church, and nor am I saying that women need to walk around in sacks. There are sometimes when a lady is doing a special music or something that I have to look away that I may not stumble. In summation I think that all of the clothing you have listed that is form fitting and shows the curves of a woman is a real potential for lust.”
“I am a 24-year-old, unmarried man. I am very glad that you are asking us men about this issue, because it has been my experience that women truly do not understand the things that can run through a man’s head when he sees an immodestly-dressed woman. For a God-fearing man, this is a true concern. Fashionable clothing is not, as far as I can tell, designed by God-fearing Christians with any interest in modesty. Sex sells, and sexy clothing sells. … I have talked to women I know about the dress issue and told them that when they wear certain things, no matter how ‘covered up’ they may be, the fit of the clothing still makes a huge difference. Some women have told me that it is a man’s fault for having such a dirty mind or for letting it get to a point where lust becomes a problem, but the fact is men seem specifically prone to these types of thoughts. In North American culture we are inundated with sex. Everywhere we look there is a provocatively dressed (or practically undressed) woman selling something, and I think that women (and men) need to seriously consider the way they dress and how it affects members of the opposite sex. The last place I want to have to worry about lust is in my church. AS CHRISTIANS, IT IS NOT OUR PLACE TO SAY, ‘WELL, I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY MEN CAN’T LOOK AT ME DRESSED LIKE THIS AND NOT BATTLE WITH LUSTING THOUGHTS.’ INSTEAD, WE NEED TO TAKE IT FOR TRUTH WHEN A PERSON OF THE OPPOSITE SEX INFORMS US THAT OUR DRESS IS CAUSING PROBLEMS FOR THEM, AND DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO TO PROTECT OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS FROM STUMBLING.”
“I am 64 years old now and walking with the Lord Jesus through life. Earlier in my life I was a womanizer as a single man for a long time. MY FEELINGS OF WOMEN DRESSING IMMODESTLY ARE STRONG, AS I KNOW THE SADNESS THAT INFIDELITY, LUSTFUL SIN AND ADULTERY BRING ABOUT TO MANY, AND IMMODEST DRESS IS A PRECURSOR TO THE AFOREMENTIONED ACTIVITIES.”
“All men are aroused in one way or the other over revealed flesh. That is exactly why these clothes are made this way. I know some men are more easily aroused than others but normally any man is naturally inclined (by our sinful nature) to take notice of a woman wearing any garment that is revealing flesh. I THINK IT IS A SHAME TO COME TO CHURCH AFTER A WEEK IN THIS EVIL WORLD AND WANT TO ENJOY A SERVICE OF WORSHIP AND PRAISE TO THE LORD AND FELLOWSHIP AMONG SEPARATED PEOPLE AND SEE WOMEN DRESSING LIKE THE WORLD AND WHEN YOU CONFRONT THEM ABOUT THIS YOU ALWAYS GET THE SAME OLD LINE ‘WELL IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT, YOU’VE GOT THE PROBLEM.’ Well, I always wonder why a woman who loves the Lord and wants to please the Lord would want to dress like the world and have men looking at her in a carnal way. When I see a woman in a store in town and she is dressed a certain conservative way, I always think, ‘I bet she is a Christian.’ IT SAYS A LOT ABOUT THE CHARACTER OF A WOMAN WHEN SHE SHUNS THE STYLES OF THIS WORLD AND WALKS IN SUCH A WAY THAT SHE WANTS TO LET PEOPLE KNOW THAT SHE IS DIFFERENT.”
“One of the sad things I observe in church is the control that the fashion world has over women and the lack of communication between man and wife. I have been saved for 45 years come August and have been in an independent Baptist Church for 40 years. … I see women and teenagers in our church and have to look away or up so as not to be seen looking at how they are dressed. Modesty seems to be an archaic word to many and it grieves me.”
“I am 55 years old and I am BROKENHEARTED over the dress of a great number of females in the churches I visit. Oh, if I could only talk to moms and dads. I have never been married but lived in the world many years. I beg you, preacher, tell them that wearing ANYTHING that draws attention to a particular area, accentuating ANY form or flesh, is a great distraction for me. Please, stop wearing TIGHT clothing, exposing flesh, and wearing articles of clothing with writing on them. How many times have I had to turn my eyes away, or worry, did I look too long, did somebody notice me looking? I wish I could talk to a group of women and just tell them, because I know many don’t really realize what a distraction it is. [Surely] they don’t want the brethren to sin. I can’t believe how some of these young girls dress. Don’t they know the things we cherish, we must protect. I don’t care about peer pressure; clothing is an opportunity to share your faith when people see a difference. Remember that man and (wo)man looks at the outward appearance. We have to be separated and yes a ‘PECULIAR’ people. Men are tempted and aroused by the things they SEE. David was tempted when he SAW Bathsheba; Herod was tempted when he SAW Salome dance; when Samson ‘saw a women in Timnath,’ he wanted her because her looks ‘pleased’ him.”
“I want to mention the present trend of embossing brand names across the seat of women’s trousers/pants/shorts/skirts. No imagination needed to explain that.”
“I travel a bit, and as I’m walking through a crowded airport looking around, I tend more to notice things like short skirts, skirts or dresses with slits that come to or above the knee, low-cut blouses or dresses, sheer blouses, or tight-fitting anything. Clothing that accentuates or draws attention to one part of the body seems more noticeable to me. I believe that clothing absolutely can draw attention to the woman’s body and that once attention is there, the potential, perhaps even likelihood, for lust isn’t far behind.”
“From what I see in the way many woman and teens dress, Christians included, many act like they are ‘for sale’ or are very ignorant of what they are doing to their image. That’s the way I see things on this issue.”
“The more skin I see, the more I have to force myself to look away from that individual. It brings back the past [before I was saved]. It seems like some women flaunt their bodies. What they are saying by their clothes, ‘Don’t look at my face, look at my body!’ … I am all for modesty and I wish all churches had a dress code. Not just in church but also out of church. Skin is a distraction! More skin; more sin.”
“I agree with you about the lack of understanding from most women about the male weakness in the area of lust. The average Christian woman today seems to think, ‘If you’ve got it, flaunt it.’ I actually had one woman who used to be in my church saying that. … God’s final act of creation was His most beautiful. A normal man would agree with this. This sets us apart from the animal kingdom. In animals the male is the most attractive. The female is often rather dowdy. Humans are reversed. … A godly woman can dress attractively and properly by following a few simple thoughts. Do the clothes she is wearing draw a man’s eyes to her face or to her other body parts? Is the clothing she is wearing obviously feminine and modest and not made for men?”
“Thanks so much for addressing this issue. I am a Christian who has been doing street ministry for many years, and full time now for 20 years. I am also a single dad (wife died of cancer almost 9 years ago) of four sons, three under 18. I have concentrated on work in the public housing areas. To say I have seen it all would be an under statement. ONE OF THE SADDEST THINGS AND HARDEST TO FIGHT AGAINST HAS BEEN THE FACT THAT THE ‘STREET’ AND THE CHURCH NOW SEEM TO BE EQUAL IN THEIR APPROACH TO FEMALE SEXUALITY AND ITS EXPRESSION. THERE SEEMS TO BE NO BOTTOM TO THE LEVEL THAT MEMBERS OF THE CHURCH ARE WILLING TO ALLOW IN THE WAY OF WHAT CAN BE WORN TO CHURCH AND CHURCH FUNCTIONS. As a man who is deeply concerned that my sons do not get exposed to this type of thing I find myself upset a lot about what goes on. It is obvious that many of these girls are not only NOT taught to be modest, but their parents have bought them the clothes that they wear to flaunt their sexuality in. Sadly enough, I would have to say that there is no part of the female body that I haven’t seen in church. Short skirts, low cut blouses, halter tops, tiny two-piece bathing suits, and bathing suits with high cut in back seem to prevail in church activities. ... To go to the heart of the issue I would have to say that there appears to be many church men who revel in their daughters’ budding sexuality.”
“To answer your request on women’s dress and modesty, I have to paraphrase a statement made many years ago by a Christian minister of national acclaim. His subject was Christian women and the way they dress that would tempt Christian men as well as worldly men to lust after them. It’s been so many years ago that he preached the message that I can’t quote directly, but in essence what he said was that any Christian man that said he wasn’t affected by seeing a Christian sister in the short skirts, tight skirts etc. (in other words most of all of the items on your list, in fact I would include one or two more) the preacher would pay for that man’s physical exam. Blunt but to the point. … We as Christians are not to do anything to cause our Christian Brother or Sister to stumble, but THIS SUBJECT OF MODESTY (BOTH WOMEN AND MEN) IS NOT OFTEN PREACHED ON. … I remember reading an article in a book about how culture has changed in the USA. In the early 1940’s, a man could be reprimanded on the beach at Atlantic City for not wearing a top to his bathing suit. What we have now is close to nudity, especially for the women. My wife and I will not vacation at a beach so that we don’t subject ourselves to the near nudity of the people there. … One of the biggest mediums for temptation is the nudity that is seen on television (which we got rid of close to 30 years ago because of commercials and programming). Next to that are 99% of the magazine articles and advertising. But yet little if anything is mentioned from the pulpits about the influence of these two mediums.”
“All of those items of female dress cause a real potential for lust. WHY SHOULD A MAN HAVE TO BATTLE WITH LUST DURING A CHURCH SERVICE WHEN IT IS HARD ENOUGH JUST TO WALK IN A WORLD FULL OF SENSUALITY? IF WOMEN ONLY KNEW THE SNARE OF TEMPTATION THAT IS SET BEFORE OUR EYES. Even if it is a fraction of a second and a man turns his head away, the battle can still rage in the mind just from a mere glimpse. I honestly believe that many of them know exactly what they are doing. Why else would they dress like the rebellious world?”
“It seems the last few years as the churches have grown more liberal and the women show more skin, I HAVE TO FIGHT HARDER TO KEEP MY MIND STRAIGHT. I am happily married. I do not and will not stray. … I wish women could just take the Bible for what it says. Yes, the Lord made us men this way. … I think the most beautiful thing God created on this earth is a woman, and Satan knows it to. That is just the way I feel.”
“As a Christian come back in from 20 years in the world, I can see this situation very well. I still tend to ‘rate’ (if you will) women physically by shape and presentation in my mind. This is a battle that must constantly be fought by one who gave in to lust in the past. A WOMAN IN A NICE DRESS WITH LITTLE EXPOSED IS PLEASING TO THE EYE AND STOPS AT THAT.”
“I attend a very conservative independent fundamental Baptist church, where the pastor and his wife lead by example. Unfortunately, I see that oftentimes, some of the women in our church, though they always wear dresses or skirts to church and though they are always below the knee, THEY ARE STILL A BIT TOO CONCERNED WITH ‘FASHION,’ AND SOMETIMES COMPROMISE TRUE MODESTY FOR ‘LOOKING GOOD’ OR BEING FASHIONABLE. It is often an ‘issue’ for me. Many of these ladies are dear sweet Christian women, devoted wives, dedicated servants, and I don’t believe they INTEND to be a distraction. I just don’t think they realize!”
“My wife and I are the nursery directors at our church, and we are constantly having to interact with workers and mothers. Sometimes I find myself having to do a ‘check’ on where my eyes are being drawn, and where my thoughts are headed, and I have to PURPOSE to not think that way, or to just not look at them while I’m talking to them, to distract myself with something else (hmmm, that wall needs a new coat of paint, or that floor needs vacuuming, or we’re out of paper towels). How do I tell them? I’m sure they would be mortified if they realized they were even remotely emitting a ‘sexy’ quality. That’s not to say some women don’t intend to look sexy. … One woman in particular, who is very attractive (even my wife says so), USED to dress very stylish, in expensive, designer clothes that were hip, cool, young, modern, but seemed clueless as to the biblical boundaries she was overstepping. After our pastor preached on the subject of modesty, my wife and I noticed - IMMEDIATELY - that this lady’s wardrobe changed completely. It was like the light went on and she responded with humility and gratitude for the message. Now, she still looks stylish, but is much more conservative, appropriate, and modest in her attire. It’s truly a relief. Now when we see her coming, we’re actually glad to see her because we know she’s not going to make us feel uncomfortable because of her sexy-ish clothes.”
“I would agree that while some women are out and out Jezebels there are others who do not understand how a man is affected by a woman's modesty (or lack thereof). One of my major concerns is that we have strayed from the question of how to standardize modesty. Almost anywhere I go anymore I hear the argument on the length of skirts. ‘It’s below the knee.’ When did the definition of modesty begin with how far below the knee it goes? ... Why is it just length? Form-fitting, slit-skirted, bare legs, and everything else you mentioned in your list are a magnet for a man’s eyes. While this has not been a problem at our church, it is becoming an issue with churches I would never have expected. I get irritated when I have to look in another direction rather than see an immodest woman in church. The point of the irritation is not that I am looking away but the fact that I have to do so in Independent Fundamental circles. ... I guess I get more and more frustrated with dress standards. We preach of the immorality of the world, television that is filled with homosexuality, nudity, and the internet filled with almost any type of perversion you want. OUR SOCIETY HAS DEGENERATED TO ANIMAL-LIKE SEXUALITY WHERE THERE ARE NO RULES AND LITTLE DISCUSSION OF CONSEQUENCES, AND OUR ANSWER SHOULD BE TO SHOW HOW DIFFERENT WE ARE FROM THEM (which is less and less). I do not care how different our ladies are from the world; this is not the standard of comparison. The standard of comparison is how much they are like Christ -- and He is nothing like this world. ‘Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness’ (2 Peter 3:17).
“Almost all of the styles you listed serve to in some way accentuate, reveal, or tantalize the senses of men. Men are very liable to visual temptation. Even Job realized that (Job 31:1). The Psalmist did, too (Psa. 101:3). The ladies need to know that there is a need to have a heart of modesty that will give them the desire to strengthen and honor their brothers in Christ. If that happens, modesty will be a matter of heart and dress, and not simply a legalistic issue.”
“I suspect I have to deal with this most every day of my life. Consider the magazines in the grocery store checkout area. Most Christian women are oblivious to modesty, but the folks that design most of the clothes in most clothing stores where Christian women make purchases are not ignorant of what they are doing. The modestly dressed individual is a rare breed in this part of the country. I do know a few families, very few, who have decided to be different. But they cause me to look in amazement.”
“I am a red blooded, fully functional, American man, who desires to have his thoughts and words be acceptable to God. I have been happily married for 28 years. THE BIBLICAL ISSUE OF MODESTY IS BEST UNDERSTOOD BY AN UNDERSTANDING OF DEFRAUDING. No one should take any action whereby he causes desires to be raised in another that cannot be righteously satisfied. ... That our society drenches every inch of media in sexually explicit advertising is a source of much temptation, sadness and concern for this man. Facing that sort of issue with Christian sisters in a church setting is most grievous. I believe the phrase ‘long, loose and lots of it’ should be the motto of Christian women’s apparel. ... Before knowing her husband, my bride had no idea of how men think, or how easily stimulated they are. I hope my candor may be of some value to Christian sisters who are trying to live holy lives. I try to tell young ladies that I can influence for good, that the kind of fish you catch depends on what you bait your hook with, and where you cast your line. If you can’t catch a man in church with a modest dress on, you don’t want him anyway!”
“You are absolutely right about women not seeing these dangers. THEY CAN DEMAND BIBLE VERSES TO BACK UP THE ASSERTION THAT CERTAIN CLOTHES CAUSE LUST ALL DAY LONG, BUT THE TRUTH IS THAT IF THESE CLOTHES CAUSE MEN TO LUST, THEY ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE PROBLEM whether there are specific Scriptures to exclude every piece of clothing that designers can conceive.”
“In my personal opinion, I think the styles that expose the bosom or the tight form of the bosom present the majority of the problem because it is more accepted to show that area in our society as opposed to the upper thigh or lower buttocks.”
“Personally, I see women (including independent Baptist church-goers and staff) causing potential for lust in all the clothing you listed. The point is that it is not the type of clothing that can trip a man up; rather it is the amount and the level of cling to the body. … when I see women dressing as I described above, I can’t avoid wondering why they are ‘advertising’ their flesh. Is it because they are lacking in Christian character?”
“My wife was taught as a little girl that all attention should be drawn to her face, and that rule has been a great guideline.”
“It’s not always what the attire is but how it is worn and the woman herself. … Excessive use of perfume and make up -- both designed to draw men; they should be used with wisdom. Also, flirtatious natures and wanting to be noticed by the opposite sex should be reigned in.”
“It is the duty of every husband to make sure his wife is properly dressed, not only for Church but all the time. … I have been blessed with a modest wife. Men are weak in the area of sex and need ‘the handbrake’ of a modest woman to keep him on track and his thoughts in line.”
“I am certainly not proud to have to say that all of the above items of clothing on women cause a real potential for lust, but for me it is the case. OF ALL OF MY CLOSE BROTHERS IN THE LORD WHOM I HAVE TALKED WITH ON THIS SUBJECT OVER TIME, ALL ARE IN AGREEMENT THAT THEY STRUGGLE WITH LUST; and it is so few women, at least where I am, that dress modestly or even have a single clue that there is a Biblical instruction for them to do so. I am so thankful for my Pastor’s wife (they are new here and have planted a new Church in my city) and her decision to dress modestly.”
“Maybe I just have a problem with lust, but I know my own heart. There is no godly, good reason that I should ever see from ‘the neck to the knees’ of any woman other than my wife.”
“IT IS AMAZING TO ME THAT HUSBANDS, FATHERS, ETC., WOULD ALLOW THEIR WOMEN OUT IN PUBLIC WEARING SOME OF THE THINGS WOMEN WEAR. Have they no idea the thoughts of other men? Shame on them.”
“There is a term ‘not leaving anything to the imagination.’ Our Father knows, as does any man, that men do not need any encouragement at all, let alone a less than reverent dress style. The fleshly man is full of imagination. … I cannot think of even one of the styles listed that are appropriate for women. Unfortunately, I see them in churches and ‘Christian Schools’ every day.”
“Blessings to you for writing on this subject. There is nothing I detest more than women dressed immodestly anywhere, but most especially in church. This is one more way for Satan to take men’s minds off of the worship of their Heavenly Father! Women should not wear anything which exposes or draws a man’s attention to [those] areas [that are] conducive to male lust. OH HOW I WISH MODEST DRESSING WOULD COME BACK INTO STYLE -- THAT BOTH MEN AND WOMEN WOULD HAVE MORE SELF RESPECT IN GENERAL, AND PARTICULARLY MORE RESPECT OF THE LORD’S HOUSE.”
“Whatever standard the parent lives before and requires of his/her children, the easier it will be for the child to maintain that standard. Usually the child never has higher standards than the parent. If we expect lawyers, ambassadors, etc. to look respectful and above the normal standard, shouldn’t Christians do the same?”
“Another apparel item that may be worth mentioning is knee-high leather boots. These seem to be more and more prevalent among Christian women. In my opinion, these boots scream sensuality and area real potential for generating lust. I may be completely off base on this as my view is certainly tainted from years of pornography, womanizing, immorality, spending a lot of time at bars…etc. (from my teen years until my mid twenties when I was saved). During those days, however, when a woman wore knee high boots, it would certainly attract attention for all of the wrong reasons. Perhaps Christian women are not aware of this? Overall, on the issue of modesty, I COMPLETELY AGREE THAT MANY WOMEN DO NOT UNDERSTAND HOW MEN LOOK AT THINGS IN THIS REALM. I SUSPECT FOR MANY MEN, INCLUDING ME, THAT LUST IS A DAILY BATTLE. I DESIRE FOR MY CHURCH FAMILY AND CHRISTIAN FRIENDS TO BE A SAFE HAVEN FROM TEMPTATION.”
“If such things draw the attention of normal, godly, Christian men, by definition they are immodest, no matter what the women think.”
“It is my conviction that all of the female dress items listed are immodest for women. I am 68 years old and have been married to a wonderful, modest lady for 49 years. I am appalled at how so many women dress even in church. My mother is 88 years old and worked in the cotton fields alongside my father back when we did it all by hand. I’ve never seen my mother or either of my grandmothers in pants or shorts and they all worked in the fields. I have never seen any of the women who raised me in any of the items that you mentioned. I thank God for the example they were to me. By the way, they all washed their clothes by hand and I never saw any women’s undergarments hanging out on the clothes line for all that passed by to look at. Proving that their modesty went far deeper than what they put on their bodies. It was in their heart.”
“When my wife and I were first married, she wore pants. I didn’t tell her to stop, although she would have if I told her to. She would have quit wearing pants but she would have resented me for telling her to do so. She had to quit wearing them because she was convicted by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. She was convicted and she quit wearing pants. In fact, she dresses so modestly that people stare at her because she dresses differently and not because she’s showing something off. I am proud of her stance as a Christian because she dresses this way in obedience to the Word of God and not only in obedience to me.”
“I don’t know how women can ‘not’ know the impact their dress has on men. In fact I believe they do (more than they say or let on). One thing I see in my church is tight clothing. Oh, it may very well be covering but it is revealing the shape in a woman. This can be even more tantalizing to a man. I once was at a conference and the preacher asked a very strong Christian couple (wife modestly dressed) who do you dress for (question to the wife) and she said her husband. The preacher and the congregation gave their amens. I thought about that answer and it was an answer I would have wanted my wife to give until to a few years before. Now she knows I would want her to dress for the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. I have the potential to be carnal, and in the flesh and to want to see her in less modest apparel. That would never be the case with our Lord. Thus I told her to dress for Jesus Christ.”
“Our church teaches and preaches separation. Our pastor has even compiled a small booklet on modest dress. Having said all that, we have had and still do have problems. In order to be a choir member or teach Sunday School, etc., we must sign a form saying we agree to the dress standards as well as many other standards of conduct. What I have seen is, yes, they are wearing dresses, but many are far from modest. I have had my wife ask me, ‘Did you see what so and so was wearing?’ I am honest with her and I tell her of course I did! I am a man and when a lady exposes 50% of her breasts I can't help but notice. I told her I don’t ogle but it is a part of a woman that men find attractive, so there I am in God’s house trying to worship God and hear from His Word and I see these things. But she is wearing a dress!! Form fitting clothing is another area that is a problem. A lady can be actually wearing a reasonably nice dress that meets the standard, at least in their mind it does, but the problem is that it is at least a size too small for her! These folks are rarely confronted because they are wearing a dress, you know! I believe we easily forget modesty and become lost in ‘I'm wearing a dress attitude.’ To be honest I have seen more modest pants on many lost ladies than the ‘dresses on our standard-signing church ladies.’ I’m not for pants; I’m just referring to our hypocrisy! It shows either a lack of discernment on their part or a worldly desire to show off their body, maybe both. ... Sorry to vent but this has hit close to home as I have tried to protect teenagers from what they see ‘in church.’ I BELIEVE THERE IS A TREMENDOUS LACK OF UNDERSTANDING ON THE PART OF MOST WOMEN ABOUT WHAT THEY WEAR AND WHY. ... As I said, our church teaches and preaches on these things and they do a good job teaching it. It is a spiritual issue. They know the facts. It is accepting them and living by them that is the problem. I have heard, ‘They just want us to look like old women.’ If that means to dress modestly, then, yes, please try to look at the older women who are trying to teach the younger, as Titus says, through example.”
“As I was not saved until I was an adult, I was like most men; I enjoyed the sight of the female form. Without Christ, I had no reason not to indulge my lusts when I looked at immodestly dressed women. There is no shortage of flesh in our culture; the movies, TV, music videos, internet, etc., all promote it. After I was saved, God began to show me through his word to flee youthful lusts and to be like Job who made a covenant with his eyes not to look upon a maid. You listed several types of clothing and asked which ones were areas of temptation. My answer would be ‘all of them!’ As my wife and I began to grow in the Lord, I made the comment to her that IF THE AVERAGE WOMAN KNEW HOW THE AVERAGE MAN THINKS IT WOULD CAUSE HER TO DRESS A LOT DIFFERENTLY. I don’t think women realize just how much they expose themselves by the style of the clothes they wear (or don’t wear, as the case may be).”
“The stark difference between Biblical modesty and femininity was illustrated one night as another preacher and I, along with our wives and families, were on the street in a large city near our home preaching and passing out gospel tracts during a music festival. Two young women, who were dressed very provocatively, walked by and received the cat-calls and lewd remarks of a couple of young guys. The boys then turned and saw my wife standing there (she is 32), dressed in a modest skirt and top and said, ‘Oh, sorry ma’am!’ Ladies need to understand, that how they are dressed says a lot about who they are, and determines to some extent how they will be treated. Scripture backs this up (Proverbs 7, Genesis 38:15-16).”
“PASTORS NEED TO DEAL WITH THIS ISSUE AS MORE THAN JUST A ‘WHEN YOU COME TO CHURCH’ THING. I believe we have created a double standard in our independent Baptist churches in that the only time dress is dealt with is when people are taught that they ought to come to church ‘dressed right,’ but not many deal with the fact that believers are to glorify God in all things, everyday, including how we dress. Christian women have a responsibility before the Lord to be obedient to the Bible’s admonitions concerning dress. They also have a responsibility to their brothers in the Lord, not to cast a stumbling block before them in the way that they dress.”
“I am 60 years old and even as a younger, unsaved man, it always seemed strange to see church-going women dressed in that manner (and I understand many felt they needed to do so to attract a man) and now, in many of the more liberal churches, and some so-called fundamental ones, the manner of dress seems to be according to one’s own preference and not based on the Bible’s teaching of decent dress. I’m also still amazed that some church-going men like their wives to dress in that way.”
“I became a born again believer in Jesus Christ when I was 34. Our family left the Methodist church and switched to a large popular Southern Baptist Church. We eventually left the Southern Baptist Church, and one of the biggest reasons is because women dressed so immodestly, I felt I was in a lingerie show. I would have to walk the halls of the church with my head hung to avoid the display of flesh. ... We became quickly disappointed that the church often undermined our own family’s standards. ... Two years ago, our family finally switched to a Fundamental Independent Bible believing Baptist church and we really love serving the Lord and being with believers of like precious faith and with standards. ... I believe if godly women understood the effect they can have on a godly man they would dress differently. I have daughters and I constantly have to instruct them on what men think of immodestly dressed women and correct their dress.”
“Thank you for addressing this serious problem. I agree that most Christian women do not seem to understand how that the way they dress affects men. Unfortunately, some do understand and they enjoy dressing in a way that attracts the attention of men. ... We are living in the last part of the last days. Demon influence and demon possession is rampant. Evil triumphs when the church does nothing. ONE SIGN OF DEMON ACTIVITY IS NUDITY AND LEWD DRESS. MEN RESPOND BY SIGHT. Sight arouses their sexual drive. Anything that exposes highlights or outlines the torso and thigh is lustful dress. The Word of God is clear that a man who lusts after a woman is guilty of adultery along with her. I told my people last Sunday that if the women dress inappropriately and go to town, causing four men to look and lust, they will be held accountable for participating in committing adultery.”
“As a man, a Christian, and a pastor, I believe modesty is perhaps the most important issue in dress, whether among the church or otherwise, because, I’M TELLING YOU, MEN NOTICE, MEN LOOK, AND MEN LUST, EVEN THE GOOD ONES. I know many women say, ‘Well, that’s their problem, not mine!’ But while we men will answer for our lust, the ladies will answer for doing something that causes another to fall into sin. Ladies, understand, your dress DOES effect us, and as such, you should prayerful consider what you wear. Men are created in such a way as to be stimulated by sight--so when we see a lady, pretty, or sometimes not, we are stimulated by the sight of their flesh. It’s just the way we are.”
“Ladies, please, dress with modesty. DRESS AS YOU WOULD IF JESUS WERE SITTING NEXT TO YOU. And He is, by the way, both because the Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and because He has promised to be there when two or three are gathered together in His name. Jesus is sitting next to you!”
“I am a member of a fundamental church and am sad to say that many of these worldly ways are finding their way into our church. MAY GOD SEND HIS HOLY SPIRIT TO MOVE IN OUR MIDST SO THAT A REVIVAL WOULD BREAK FORTH.”
[This article is from the author’s book, “Dressing from the Lord,” which is available from Way of Life Literature. It can be ordered via the online catalog or by phone or e-mail (866-295-4143, firstname.lastname@example.org).]
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