You have probably heard gourmet chefs on the cooking channel say that when it comes to food, presentation is everything. Presentation is everything not just with food, but also with your body. One of the concepts that I impress upon women is that we teach people how to treat us. We either teach them to treat us with respect or we teach them to treat us with disrespect. How? By our modest dress or our immodest attire.
Consider what these wise women have to say…
Meg, age 43:
When I was younger I used to get cat-calls when I walked through the mall or through a parking lot. Now I never get any disrespect like that. When I first noticed this, I thought I must not be as attractive now that I am getting older. But I have since realized that I don’t get the inappropriate attention simply because I started dressing more modestly and presenting myself like a woman on a mission from God rather than a woman on a mission to land a man.
Penny, age 32:
I used to walk around the house without much on because I was comfortable that way. I felt it was my right in the privacy of my own home. I never really thought about it until my six-year-old son brought a friend home after school one day. Bradley stopped his playmate at the door and I overheard him say, “Hold on and let me make sure my mom has some clothes on! Sometimes she doesn’t.” I’ve made it a point since then to wear something more than just underwear around the house. I don’t want my children to have to explain their mother’s lack of modesty!
Elizabeth, age 38:
At work my ideas would be discounted and I was passed over time after time for a promotion. It made me furious and frustrated. Then I got a revelation that if I dressed less “seductive-professional” and more “modest-professional,” they might actually think I’m more than just a pretty face to decorate the office. It took a while to gradually replace my wardrobe, but the more conservative I dress, the more respect and appreciation I seem to get, not just from the men, but from the women as well as the clients and vendors who come into our office. I don’t get propositioned when traveling near as much anymore either, which is good. I’d rather have the respect than the attention.
While the Bible doesn’t specifically state how long a skirt should be or what sections of skin should always be covered, we can always go back to Jesus’ commandment as a guideline for how we are to dress: Love your neighbor as yourself.
Picture this scenario: You know that your neighbor is dieting to lose ten pounds before her wedding. You also know that if she does not lose the weight, her dress will be too tight and she will feel uncomfortable on her big day. But you are a gourmet dessert chef and you crave the affirmation that you are a good cook, and so you insist that your neighbor eat the pound cake and fudge and coconut cream pie samples that you bring over to her house every day. Are you acting lovingly or selfishly toward your neighbor?
Now consider this: You know that men are visually stimulated at the sight of a woman’s body, especially a scantily clad body. You are also aware that godly men are trying desperately to honor their wives by not allowing their eyes to stray. In light of this, if you insist on wearing clothes that reveal your sleek curves and tanned skin, are you acting lovingly or selfishly? This is a good thing to ask yourself each morning as you are getting dressed for the day. Rather than asking, “What man will I come across today and will this catch his eye?” try asking, “Would wearing this outfit be a loving expression, not causing my brothers to stumble and fall?”
Excerpted from Every Woman’s Battle: Discovering God’s Plan for Sexual and Emotional Fulfillment by Shannon Ethridge. Copyright 2003. All Rights Reserved. Published by WaterBrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO 80921. Used by Permission. Not to be copied without Publisher’s prior written approval.