…in like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing, 10 but, which is proper for women professing godliness, with good works. 1 Timothy 2:9 NKJV
Have you ever watched that show “What Not To Wear?” It’s a great show providing tips on how to dress for your body type. They teach you pick out outfits that flatter you and show you have to dressed appropriately for your age.
For all the women reading this, did you know how you dress can cause a good man to stumble?
I read “For Women Only: What You Need To Know About the Inner Lives of Men” by Shaunti Feldhanh recently. A girlfriend recommended it so I began reading it.
Chapter 6 Keeper of the Visual Rolodex is about why it’s so natural for him to look and so hard to forget what he’s seen. This was really educational for me. I always knew men looked at women, but I didn’t realize it was a compulsion. When a woman with a good body comes into their line of view, they are literally compelled to look. It takes the greatest will not to look. If you witness your husband, looking away to avoid seeing a beautiful woman while you’re out and about, you should applaud him for his efforts to stay pure. It really does take a lot of effort for him not to look.
It also explains how once they see something it is forever locked in their minds. Every image they’ve seen over their life is seared in their memories and can pop up involuntarily through the day or night. So can you imagine what kinds of images are popping up considering our culture? TV commercials, magazines, on-line advertisements, spam emails, and mail order catalogs are all geared towards making him look. They push sexual images out there because they know a man has to look. Our men are being taken advantage of whether they realize it or not.
Now, getting back to the opening point, how you dress affects men. Today’s verse says women should wear modest apparel, with propriety and moderation. If you have a good body, men will imagine what your body looks like under your clothes. Therefore, if your clothes reveal more of your shape and provide sneak peeks of your woman-ness, you’re basically setting a trap for the men around you. They are compelled to look at you and the image you portray will be etched in their memory forever. So take care of how you dress. There’s nothing wrong with looking nice. All I’m saying is we should exercise restraint in how much of our bodies we choose to reveal.
I should think the last thing we want to do is cause someone else to stumble. It’s like Paul talked about if someone doesn’t eat meat, then you should refrain from eating meat when you’re around them so you don’t cause them to be troubled over your choice in eating meat. Likewise, if your husband is a recovering alcoholic, you don’t drink wine with your dinner if you’re dining with him because you don’t want him to be drawn back into the life of alcoholism. The same principle works with our dress. Knowing a man is compelled to look and how images stay with them, we need to dress appropriately so as not to add to the collection of images that can haunt a man the rest of his life, like a certain intimate apparel company’s commercials!
Lord, thank you for creating men and women differently, each portraying your likeness. Help us learn to dress in modest ways so we don’t cause men to stumble. May we recognize the efforts of our men to avoid looking and encourage them to keep up the fight to stay pure. In Jesus’ name Amen.