Modesty and The Dirty Mind

By Karl Diestelkamp

You have just quoted 1 Tim. 2:9, 10 and are making application of it to the sisters who come to worship in their mini-skirts and who sit with these, hiked up to mid-thigh or above. Before you finish, someone boldly proclaims, “If it bothers you, you must have a dirty mind.” Of course you are supposed to hang your head in shame and with red face retreat to some inconspicuous place to repent. You have been answered!

Says Who? Not So!

This is one man who refuses to surrender the fight to such flimsy defense. I challenge you to reread 1 Tim. 2:9, 10. Now, you define behavior relating to the word “adorn,” in the light of the words “modest, shamefacedness, sobriety” and “professing godliness.” Get your Bible out and defend what you practice.

Some would have us believe that a clear definition and understanding of “modesty” is forever vague and elusive. Of course, this is exactly the same approach effeminates use in reference to the word “long” (1 Cor. 11:14) when defending feminine hairdos on men, and that alcoholics use when discussing “much wine” (1 Tim. 3:3) to justify social drinking. But that smoke screen won’t work. We are still waiting for the definition that will allow the mini-skirt that at the same time will not allow for even more extreme nudity. Brethren, give us the rule by which you walk!

If some sincere brother asks to be excused from passing the Lord’s supper, because his sisters in Christ sit immodestly, he frequently gets the “dirty mind” reply. He is not admitting lust, he is simply seeking to avoid evil and resist temptation. Yet, one man was heard to remark, “If you have trouble with temptation when you see a sister in Christ in a short skirt at worship, you must really have problems when you are on the street where this is seen everywhere.” What is this supposed to prove? Is a man freed from the temptation of lust because the immodest woman claims to be a Christian? Isn’t this really an admission that immodesty is a problem everywhere?

I seriously propose the following comparison. When on the street-in the grocery store at the filling station-at school, etc., our ears are assaulted with profanity, vulgarity and obscenities of all kinds. We must guard our thoughts from any evil thus suggested lest we be led to think on those things. But, when we go to worship services, or into homes of our brethren in Christ, we never expect to hear such language we don’t talk like the world. Likewise, on the street, and nearly everywhere in the world, are to be found immodest women, suggestively displaying their bodies. We must guard our minds lest we be led to think on those things. But, when we go to worship services or into the homes of our brethren in Christ, we should find a haven from such sources of temptation – we don’t dress like the world – Do we?

There is no question that the man must control his thoughts. Jesus warned, “. . . whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart” (Matt. 5:28). More men must do as Job did when he said, “I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?” The man is cautioned to guard against lust at all times, regardless of the way the woman is dressed. Isn’t it logical to conclude that the woman ought to guard against being a source of that temptation, regardless of the kind of men who may be around?

A few years ago a man, whom I know, was as strong as the proverbial “horse-radish” on the subject of modesty. Then his “little girls” became “big girls” and his attitude changed. He says he could force his daughter to wear longer dresses, but if that was the only reason she wore them it wouldn’t help her. That conclusion is debatable-But, to say the least, he did not stop to consider the boys and men that might be helped if she covered up properly. Are you so naive as to think that every boy or man tempted to lust after your immodest, grown up, “little girl” is possessed of a “dirty mind” while she is as pure as the driven snow? If she doesn’t know what purpose the mini-skirt serves, isn’t it high time you repent of your own negligence and direct her into the right course of conduct? We need more husbands who know their place in the family (Eph. 5:23) and who will instruct their wives and daughters regarding modesty. Likewise we need more wives who know their place (Eph. 5:22; 1 Pet. 3:1-51 who will “submit” to such instruction and more daughters who will “honor” and “obey” (Eph. 6:1,2) their fathers.

No doubt there are some brethren with “dirty minds,” but you won’t hear them complaining about immodest clothing. We do not defend one with a “dirty mind” and neither do you. Then why, pray tell, are so many so eager to defend the sister who wears immodest clothing when they know and she knows that such exposure of her body may be a stumbling block to some brother in Christ? We are tempted to ask, “Who cares about whom?”, but we won’t ask. Since when is it a sign of a “dirty mind” to try to “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Pet. 2:11) and to “abstain from all appearance of evil” (1 Thess. 5:22) or to try to get other brethren (sisters included) to “have the same care one for another” (1 Cor. 12:25)? Wives, mothers, daughters, sisters-just what does your apparel indicate you are professing?

Truth Magazine, XVIII:24, p. 13-14
April 18, 1974