Modest Apparel

By Douglas Matlock

In a recent magazine I noticed a question asked to several teenage girls, “Does the way a woman is dressed have anything to do with her being raped?” Several young ladies responded to the question. I remember the answer given by one, “I can dress any way I want to, and act any way I want to in them and no one has a right to rape me.” This is about the way I remember her answer. It is true that no one has a right to rape her. In my judgment that young lady lacks understanding.

Modesty involves more than committing adultery, but the avoiding of anything that leads to or encourages adulterous thoughts. Let us look at some facts about immodesty:

Immodesty can cause men to sin (Matt. 5:27-28; 15:19-20; Prov. 23:7). The principle of proper clothing applies to both men and women. In the Scriptures however, men are warned about his thoughts, while women are warned about improper clothing. The words of a song, “We are not exactly strangers, for I have already loved you in my mind,” are not too far off the mark.

When a woman causes a man to sin in his thoughts (when avoidable) she is as guilty as he is (Lk. 17:1-2; Rom. 14:21; Prov. 11:22; Phil. 4:8). It is not enough to say. “He just has a filthy mind.” One may say that modesty is relative. I would deny this and say however a woman may dress that causes or invites sexual interest in her on the part of a beholder is immodest and anything that does not cause it or invite it is modest. It isn’t hard for a sincere person to know what is modest.

Some aspects of how one dresses may change, but the principals behind them do not. One lady said in Bible class, “I don’t know why men look at me when I walk down the street.” I think she was probably the only one in the class that didn’t know the answer. Ladies, please do not be guilty of causing an otherwise right thinking person to sin in his heart.

Guardian of Truth XXXVI: 9, p. 271
May 7, 1992