Keep sending your stories to brett [at] therebelution [dot] com. Share your experiences doing hard things, whether in big or tiny ways. We want to feature your voice on the blog and use your experiences to encourage others around the world.
Today’s story is from Nathan Tasker, a sixteen-year-old from Pennsylvania, who blogs at Not Just a Teen. His day-trip to Hershey Park taught him an important lesson about gratitude — gratitude for modesty. Check it out!
A Lesson From Hershey Park
Like many high-school students, I enjoy a good day at an amusement park — just about anyone would. This time I was with my friend Thomas, riding roller coasters and having a great time at Hershey Park. Being invited to go along with Thomas and his family on their annual trip, I was thrilled! As you might imagine, it’s not all the time that I get to go to Hershey Park.
At nearly the exact moment we arrived at the park, Thomas and I darted for the nearest coaster. Amid the excitement and the thrill, though, there was something that began to tear at me. No, it wasn’t the fact that I lost in chess against his little brother on the way up (he cheated, of course). It was something all around me. But it wasn’t hiding away in the shadows. It wasn’t even subtle. It was the clothes girls wore.
I know, I know, I should have seen it coming. It’s summer. It’s an amusement park. It’s our secular culture, for goodness’ sake! For some reason, though, it hit me differently this time. Anywhere I looked, I was bombarded with it.
What really bothered me wasn’t as much what they were wearing, however, but how they were wearing it. Scattered throughout the entire park, students were wearing their school’s t-shirts. What could be wrong with that?! But left and right, girls had somehow found a way to get around a standard dress code. Whether it be rolled up or even cut apart, they simply didn’t want to conceal themselves.
How could people dress this way?!, I thought. What are they trying to gain? They’re just going to reveal themselves to everyone?! It was almost impossible to look anywhere without finding this kind of dress smack dab in front of you.
This was just the beginning of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I still got to have some fun riding the coasters. Between trying to keep the “Hershey’s Milk Chocolate” song out of our heads and screaming our heads off at each ride, we had a blast! Somehow, though, the immodesty around me kept grinding at my heart. Like many things the devil throws at us, the constant need to guard my eyes — along with the disgust at how my generation dressed — wore me down.
So there I was, standing in line for Storm Runner for the third or fourth time in a row, wondering how many more times we could get in the second row before everybody else realized it was the shortest line. I was tired — not just from the long day but from the sickening immodesty of my generation. Just as I was about to doze off in line, however, Thomas nudged me.
“Now those are two respectable young ladies,” he proclaimed. And that they were. Among everyone else, these two girls had chosen to wear long skirts and regular t-shirts, one of which said “Purity is in.” These two young ladies stood out — not because of immodesty, but because of the modesty that they portrayed.
At that moment, I was immensely grateful that God had placed those two girls at that park to remind me just how appreciative I should be of a girl’s modesty. I was so thankful, in fact, that I almost walked over to the girls and thanked them myself. Looking back, I should have. Sometimes I don’t think girls realize just how important their modesty can be to us guys.
Of course, it’s our job as guys to guard our eyes. There will always be girls out there who don’t portray the modesty that God intends. But when someone does, we should be grateful of that effort of purity. And for those of you girls who pursue modesty, let me be the first to say… Thank you.
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Thanks for this blog…. mother to 4, three girls…. who dress modestly: )
Long skirts in the middle of summer at an amusement park? Are you kidding me? How do you ride a roller coaster in a long skirt? I fully understand the problem of immodesty and I realize it’s a huge problem. But must girls make themselves uncomfortable and miserable to be modest? That’s utterly ridiculous! Long, basketball or bermuda shorts and a t-shirt is perfectly modest AND practical. Are they not? Let’s not leave out the feelings of the girls, gents!
Kaity: I don’t think the author was attempting to say that *only* long skirts are modest. Nathan was just describing what these particular girls were wearing.
Gentlemen: It’s time to quit giving females the Modesty Test in your minds. How is that loving, kind, gracious? It’s not about them or their clothes or lack of clothes, it’s about you and your heart. Quit judging. Quit seeing where they failed your modesty test, whether they are Believers or not. Check YOUR hearts, please.
Christian Homeschooling mom of seven who has seen the outcome of a Christian culture obsessed with modesty
Julie Anne: Thank you for sharing a very important point. Teachings on modesty have swerved dangerously towards legalism and judgmentalism. Your warning is appropriate.
We decided to share this post from Nathan because we felt he wasn’t focused on some arbitrary Modesty Test. His concern wasn’t with how “short” or how “low” — but with the obvious attempts of the young women to reveal themselves by altering their school shirts and uniforms (revealing their hearts as much as their bodies).
Furthermore, it seemed that Nathan’s aim in the article was to express appreciation for modesty — which is a real virtue and deserves appreciation. I didn’t see any attempt to define or enforce his own standards of modesty, but rather to recognize that while many girls strive to reveal themselves, other put effort into being modest — and deserve acknowledgement and thanks.
That is what I took away from the article.
wow, this is uncomfortable to read. As a woman, I hate the pressure that is forced on me to be held accountable for what I wear, how I act, or what I do simply because it *MIGHT* make a guy stumble. It is not up to me, or any other girl or women, to be judged for how men feel or act. Keep yourselves accountable to each other, and stop throwing women down as your scapegoats.
It’s sad that “Nathan” had to have his roller coaster day “ruined” by women. Why was he so focused the girls and women around him, instead of focusing on enjoying his day? why do men have to be so critical of women, their bodies, and their clothing? Frankly, that’s creepy, messed up, and really disturbing.
Someone who is really sick and tired and uncomfortable of men making me as a women feel like an object, and someone who is “the problem.”
Caleigh: Thanks for commenting. I shared a few applicable thoughts with Julie Anne in my comment above — but I felt you added some important points and wanted to respond to you directly.
First of all, I completely agree that women shouldn’t be “pressured” by men to dress or act a certain way. This kind of external enforcement is rife with legalism. On the other hand, are women accountable to *God* for what they wear, how they act, and what they do? Absolutely. And so are men.
Second, I also agree that men are 100% responsible for how they view women. No woman *ever* made a man sin. Not ever. No matter what she was wearing. On the other hand, do provocative women (and men too) make it more difficult for others to walk in purity? Absolutely.
Ultimately, men who blame women for their struggles and women who blame men for “creating” the whole modesty issue are both avoiding responsibility. Men are responsible for being pure of heart and mind and body — regardless of what women do. And women are responsible for being pure of heart and mind and body — regardless of what men do.
Does that make sense?
Thanks again for sharing!
Thanks so much,Nathan for this post!It’s really encouraging to know there are still guys out there who appreciate modesty- ’cause that’s certainly not what this world is telling us!I really just wish all us girls (and I speak for myself as well) could truly come to the realization of the effect our immodesty (even if we only add a pinch of it) or our modesty has on guys!I think then we’ll not just see it as ‘a beautiful top with a low v-line’ anymore- we’ll see it as the stumbling block for Brothers in Christ that it really is.
I appreciate the honesty of the author both of the article and of the comments, but I believe as a Rebelutionary, more is at stake than just the “modesty” issue. Just take a look at the above comments. I see emotion exploding from the words… and on both sides of the issue. I think both men and women bear responsibility in this area. Certainly our society’s values are to blame as well. But beyond the issue of what people wear (or don’t wear), I hope that as Rebelutionaries, we have the respect and humility to hear the ideas of others without attacking them (or their ideas).
On a Scriptural basis, I don’t believe that the Bible mandates that all women must wear long skirts, but I do know that Scripture commands us to love one another. For there to be a strict, black and white, standard in the area of what one should wear (or not wear), or for that matter, what one should listen to (or not listen to), is impractical and, I personally believe, unbiblical. But God does convict individuals in different areas and it is not for me to judge or condemn them for their God-given convictions.
Friends, lets respect this young man for his desire to guard his eyes. Perhaps if there were more young men like him, young women wouldn’t feel as if they have to dress with less clothing in order to be beautiful. At the same time, lets not be so proud so as to not examine our own hearts. Do we indeed love our Christian brothers enough to respect their needs to “not eat meat offered to idols?” Is my comfort more important than his conscience?
I say all of this not because I wear a skirt every day. I don’t. I wear dress pants and a polo shirt to work almost every day. I am a volleyball player, a swimmer, and an athlete that wears sport-specific clothing on a almost-daily basis. But I am conscious of my brothers and their needs. When I attend my family’s very conservative church where all females are expected to wear skirts, I attempt to put a skirt on out of respect. Not as an inconvenience to me, but because I don’t believe this should be an issue that divides us as Christians.
All that to say, be respectful in your comments please. Express your opinions, but do so in love. “For they shall know we are Christians by our love…”
I think we as girls need to stop thinking that it’s the guy’s fault and that he should be able to somehow avoid being affected by what he sees. We think that the guy should respect the girl. However, girls need to respect guys as well. For me, if that means wearing modest clothing, I’m going to do it. My mom brought me up to dress modestly and told me that when I was an adult (which I am now) I could dress however I wanted. I wear things now that she would probably not let me wear if she had a say in it’s not immodest. Today’s culture is so self-focused. We want something, we must have it. We want to do something, we must do it. Girls want to show off their bodies. I’d love to show off mine. But there are so many ways to do that modestly. Guys are wired to be attracted to girls bodies. And when us girls show off so much of ourselves, it’s distracting to guys even when they are trying to avoid being distracted by it.
While I don’t think you have to where a long skirt and a shirt that covers all the way to your chin, respect the guys. If you want them to respect you, you should do the same for them.
I just wanted to thank you for posting this. As a girl it’s so easy to get caught up in the legalism of trying to dress modestly, and forget what it is actually all about. Hearing stories like this really encourage me to keep at it, and remind me that what we do and how we dress really does effect others.
This is Irene L., a previous Honor Roll member of the Rebelution forum. I helped promote the modesty survey, both during the building phase and after it was complete. After spending time since then listening to the many stories of girls and women who have been hurt by modesty teachings, as well as studying the Bible more in depth and seeing how much modesty teachings have affected me negatively, I have come to believe that there is much about modesty as we teach it today that is harmful and very, very little that is helpful.
This post, despite its good intentions from both author and the Rebelution, continues to promote the idea that it is men who are the judges of modesty, that men have to be affected by what the women around them are wearing, that modesty is primarily about clothing, that you can tell just by looking at a girl or woman’s clothing choices whether or not she is modest. All of these are untrue.
It was summer, outside. We don’t know from this story *how* these girls were altering their school T-shirts, whether it was simply rolling up or cutting off the sleeves, or what. I know plenty of ways that girls have altered T-shirts in the summer to deal with the heat, and it had nothing to do with wanting to show off their bodies, but simply wanting to be comfortable. I am very, very uncomfortable that these girls are being judged very clearly with the line, “they simply didn’t want to conceal themselves.” How do you know that? How do you know they weren’t really uncomfortable in the T-shirts outdoors? Why is it assumed that a girls’ motives can be known simply by the way they dress?
The Bible talks about modesty as an attitude of the heart (the original Greek word for “modesty” is closely related to “humility”). A humble heart is promoted as something both men and women should pursue. When we make modesty out to be something that is related primarily to clothing, or even make clothing out to be something that “reflects” the attitude of the heart (which is a fallacy for multiple reasons), we end up pressuring women to be hyper-aware of their bodies and hyper-vigilant in taking care not to “cause men to stumble” with them. This puts incredible pressure on women that was never meant to be there. Many, many women will tell you that even the best, most well-intentioned of modesty teachings have hurt them.
Again, as someone who used to believe in the way modesty is presented in this article wholeheartedly, I am strongly asking you to reconsider. And please, before you write a reply with any sort of defense or explanation, ask to hear the perspectives of the many women who grew up with this teaching. Ask them what their experiences were, and what their perspectives are. We’ve been asked for years to “consider our brothers.” All I’m asking is for the favor to be returned.
Glad to see male appreciation for modesty! I think long skirts are so comfortable in the summer. I love them & so glad that some long dresses are in style now so I can buy some real cute ones, without showing all my body parts. 🙂
Thank you for the post. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated the last line: “And for those of you girls who pursue modesty, let me be the first to say… Thank you.” 🙂 There are times I have been tempted to slightly lower my standards, wondering if the effort is really worth it anyway; so, this was a timely reminder to keep pursuing modesty and purity, for the sake of my brothers and to honor my Lord.
I would like to share a personal experience. My family was influenced by this modesty culture in our homeschooling and church circles. I have 5 boys. I remember the days when my older boy would tell me so-and-so girl was not dressed modestly. I also remember my boys turning over immodest magazines at grocery stores, deliberately turning their eyes away as we walked through the mall and passed Victoria Secret or lingerie areas in department stores. You really cannot get away from immodesty and I completely get that. However, the modesty culture can also create an obsession to see who is modestly dressed and who is not.
After we left the modesty culture, I noticed my boys interacting with young ladies in a much more healthy way. They actually seemed less concerned about female body parts. Another thing I have observed in the modesty culture is that the intentional drive for modesty led to the very thing we/churches were trying to prevent: pornography and sexual immorality among our young adults.
Modesty is an issue that is best taught by ladies to their daughters, in private. I have no problem being the mirror to young ladies and letting them know what I see, give them tools for guidance and then letting them decide for themselves what is appropriate. This is reasonable and important to discuss between women.
Brett said: I didn’t see any attempt to define or enforce his own standards of modesty, but rather to recognize that while many girls strive to reveal themselves, other put effort into being modest — and deserve acknowledgement and thanks.
I’m sorry, I disagree with you, Brett. This blog article discusses how immodestly young ladies are dressed and questions motives, that is judging. Take a look:
But left and right, girls had somehow found a way to get around a standard dress code. Whether it be rolled up or even cut apart, they simply didn’t want to conceal themselves.
How was the author to know there was a dress code? Was he given the dress code? He was a guest, was he not? He made a judgement that they didn’t want to conceal themselves.
How could people dress this way?!, I thought. What are they trying to gain? They’re just going to reveal themselves to everyone?! It was almost impossible to look anywhere without finding this kind of dress smack dab in front of you.
Again, I find this judgmental. They were dressed inappropriately according to the modesty test he had in his mind. If he had said something like: “I had challenges that I needed to face when I encountered the various dress choices I saw,” that would shift the emphasis onto him.
Please be careful with this modesty issue. I think it has gone over the top and have seen the after effects from young ladies raised in this culture. With the platform you have been given here, you have a responsibility to have careful balance. I do not see the balance in this article.
In fact, if you were to balance this article out, I would encourage you to use this platform to talk about the other side – the other side that deals with young women who became anorexic because in an effort to be modest. Some young women have felt the need to hide the feminine curves God gave them in order to not cause young men to stumble. They put their lives in danger to “protect” their brothers in Christ and in doing so, but their lives at risk. Anorexia and bulimia can lead to death. Those kinds of stories are out there, too. Just start Google searching and invite them to guest post here. I can find those stories for you, you have my e-mail.
I have been to Hershey Park before with my school and know exactly what Nathan is talking about. I really don’t think he’s trying to judge us as women but rather I think his point was to say that when a girl is willing to go against immodesty – even when everybody else says it’s okay – it is attractive and a good testimony. He was simply an observer sharing his heart. Regardless of whether or not we would personally choose to wear a long skirt or the fact that they did is really not the issue. It’s the principle of the matter. They chose to stand up for their personal convictions and as a result stood out. We at least have to give them props for being willing to stand out for the cause of Christ.
Thank you so much for this post! It is always wonderful to see godly men wanting to encourage ladies to dress modestly. Too many ladies believe guys should just have strong self control not matter how a young woman chooses to dress herself. But there needs to be a higher standard of modesty in young women! Thank you again for posting this!
well said, well said.
Brett, I would also add that this version of “modesty” makes women feel like their bodies are objects and are bad. It makes us women feel like the beautiful bodies that God has given us are disgusting things that we have to hide. That is denying the very nature of women and the gift that God has given us to show his creation and beauty in that creation. By making it a huge deal that “women aren’t covering up” and that women and their curves are a stumbling block, it’s like saying that God didn’t know what he was doing when he gave women a beauty that men should look at and appreciate.
Sure, there are women who purposefully “flaunt” their bodies, and I am sorry for the men, in most cases, who have driven them down that path. But there are women who know how to beautifully showcase the amazingly unique and glorious bodies that God has created for them. By telling a women that her worth is in covering up that beauty, that’s like telling an owner of a Monet to cover it up and hide it.
I want to echo what some of the other commenters said about how harmful “modesty culture” is toward women. I’m a Christian woman, and when I was growing up I was taught about modesty, and I really did want to help the guys.
I remember the times I used to think about what to wear for the day. Sometimes, I wanted to wear a cute little shirt, but I told myself, “wouldn’t it be MORE MODEST and therefore MORE GODLY and MORE LOVING to my brothers in Christ to wear a big shapeless t-shirt?” I felt guilty, like I’m not allowed to be beautiful, like it’s selfish for me to want to look feminine and actually like the way my body looks. (And I want to emphasize: The things I felt guilty about wearing were NOT revealing. They were cute and feminine. They weren’t necessarily “immodest” but I reasoned that wearing something big and ugly would hide my femininity even more and therefore result in LESS lust for guys, so that was better.)
Basically the logical conclusion of all of this emphasis on modesty and women’s responsibility to help men “not stumble” is that femininity is dangerous and the female body is evil. And it is ABSOLUTELY NOT okay for people who claim to believe that men and women are “made in the image of God” to teach that.
Also, modesty is all about dressing for guys. The premise behind it is that women shouldn’t “dress for guys” by “showing off” their bodies, but what ends up happening is women “dress for guys” by policing their clothing choices and rejecting something that might maybe “cause” some guy to “stumble.” It’s ALL ABOUT dressing for other people. It’s about trying to live in a way to please OTHER PEOPLE. And I and many other Christian women can tell you how damaging it is to live that way.
Wow! It sounds like this young man has a real problem with keeping his own heart and eyes pure. Why is he continuing to gaze at all of these women that he thinks are dressed immodestly? How is he the standard bearer for them? I think “Nathan” has some planks in his own eyes that Jesus would want him to remove before he continues to lust after women not intended for him.
I wanted to start off by saying a big thank you to Nathan for sharing his story; it is always very encouraging to read about the guys’ perspective of modesty, as they are the majority of the ones we girls affect with our dress. Just to know that the sacrifices I are making for my brothers in Christ -and men in general- are deeply appreciated is an enormous blessing and a huge encouragement to me, as I’m sure at one point or another every girl struggles with modesty. As previously stated, modesty is an issue of the heart, and because of this I believe that any girl or women that truly desires to be modest will do everything they can to be modest and less of a stumbling block; not necessarily that they won’t wear pants per say, but that whatever they are wearing will not draw attention to their bodies. That may very often mean that it will take me ten times longer to shop for things both modest and beautiful, but the encouragement and sisterly love I can give to guys (whether Christians or not) and the respect they have given me in return as made the sacrifice more than worth it.
If modesty is first and foremost about humility before the Lord, then it seems rather contradictory to be proclaiming one’s modesty on a tshirt, no?
Additionally, I agree with the rest of the dissenters here and would like to add this: the way of talking about modesty promoted here fails to see women as people with their own moral agency, lives and decisions. It assumes that women are fitting into two categories (either immodest in dress and therefore having questionable character or modest in dress and therefore faithful). What goes unsaid and unchallenged here is that the praise for modesty is only superficial – you didn’t talk to those women, you don’t know their hearts. You made assumptions about their purity based on their dress. You placed them on a pedestal based on your own thoughts about them; and, conversely, judged the other women harshly based, again, on your own thoughts about them rather than seeing them as people who, y’know, chose to wear clothing that’s appropriate for a day at an amusement park. That needs interrogating and thinking about.
The bottom line for me is that if we commit ourselves to purity/modesty it’s ultimate purpose is to please God. So if you have God’s peace about the clothes you wear-it’s all you need!It’s between you and God.
Whoa guys, let’s not be quick to judge the state of Nathan’s heart. That’s between him and God. We may disagree, but that’s no reason to accuse him. We are not God, it’s not our place to judge.
Wow, I’m seeing a lot of judgmental folks on here! While dressing modestly IS partially for our own sake, it is also important for the sake of guys. This is my take on WHY I dress modestly:
Firstly, I don’t want guys to gawk at my body. I want them to think about ME and not my body. Dressing modestly helps with that, because with it your body parts won’t be hanging out of your clothes.
Secondly, I know that there are good guys out there are who are TRYING to not to be lustful. Dressing in a way that is not provocative will help prevent lustful thoughts! Guys are visual thinkers. The female body is beautiful and their eyes are drawn to it. It’s natural!
Modesty does NOT mean that you have to hide your femininity. It does NOT mean that you can’t wear cute clothes. It means that you shouldn’t be showing off every curve of your bottom and legs. It means that your breasts shouldn’t be hanging out of your shirt (my rule is that there should be no cleavage showing!). Femininity is beautiful, and you should absolutely dress in a way that makes you look beautiful. But there is a huge difference between “beautiful” and “sexy”.
If you dress “sexy” then you will cause guys to lust after you. If you dress to be “beautiful” then guys will appreciate you for who you are. Your clothes can bring out your beauty in a way that will not cause men’s eyes to wander.
Yes, some people take modesty too far. But if you take it at the right level, you can look beautiful and guys will be attracted the WHOLE you – not just your body, but your personality and your intelligence. Modesty IS important, and I personally think Nathan is someone who appreciates it when girls dress in a way that shows off their beauty, but not their body. They dress in a way that will not provoke him into lustful thoughts.
Modesty is not a guy problem, or a girl problem. It’s an EVERYBODY problem.
It seems to me that the “Purity is in” T-shirt is the very opposite of modest, in the conventional (not body-shaming) definition. It’s an ostentatious display of one’s own supposed righteousness.
You obviously have a heart for God and a desire to share it with others. You also care very much about doing right by God. I appreciate your passion for your faith, for our mutual faith.
But as an almost 40-year-old woman who grew up in a religious sub-culture where boys could dress as they pleased–shorts and tanks in hot weather, no one cared–but young women had to cover their bodies regardless of the heat (and it was the tropics), my heart aches.
My heart aches because I don’t know for certain, but I would imagine that you probably feel the freedom to dress as you like, within reason. I don’t imagine that you are sagging and showing your underwear to the world, but I’m guessing you enjoy your shorts when it’s hot, maybe a loose tank now and then, and maybe even a fun game of shirts and skins when you’re hanging with your friends.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you wear long pants and cover up your body, just as you would like women to cover theirs. Maybe there is no hypocrisy in you.
But I am just here (think of me as someone else’s mom) trying to speak into your life, to remind you to please consider the vast difference in how young girls in certain Christian circles are taught to view their bodies (as mere stumbling blocks for men that must be covered up) and how young men are taught to view theirs (as completely helpless against the wiles of a woman, their male physical response to beauty or sexuality being made the responsibility of young women and how they dress rather than in their own male hearts and own male minds).
Do you see how young women are made to feel responsible for the purity of the human race? Do you see the weight of that, the toxicity of that?
The next time you see a girl on a hot day in a long skirt I urge you to see what is really there: A girl who is very hot and uncomfortable. A girl who is most likely embarrassed that she has to dress differently from others her age. A girl who is afraid of her body, because she’s been told it causes men to sin. A girl who feels responsible for the countless unknown sins of boys she can’t possibly control. A girl who will struggle having a healthy sexuality one day with her husband because of these things.
She’s a girl carrying a tremendous weight, much heavier and harder to unburden herself of than that long khaki skirt …
hi my name is Nathan and i’m 11. and i just started reading your book do hard thing and i think it is vary cool. i love it and i think it is cool how you guys succeeded so much at age 16 and 17 god bless you and your family.
To those that are saying that Nathan is the one with the problem and he should be thinking about his own sin, etc, etc. Are you saying you are flawless when a guy goes around with a totally ripped body and no shirt? Let’s fill a park full of them and see how you handle being accosted from everywhere you look. Lust is a dangerous game and just because men usually have a harder time with it does not make us “free” to dress however we want. Our every actions are on record, we will have to account for them some day and when God looks at you and says, “You knew that wearing x or y was causing men to lust after your body” and yet you blame shifted to “He should watch where his eyes were at!”, do you really think God is going to say “Oh, okay, in that case you are blameless.” No, we are not to purposely go and flaunt our bodies, even if it is a “masterpiece.” Sin has made this world a place where we can’t show off our “masterpiece” for there are those that would paint over it and tare it.
Second, I do not believe we are called to wear a long skirt and a huge t-shirt all the time to protect our fellow Christian brothers. God will lead in what is a stumbling block and what is not. I think all these “scars and hurts” from modesty are brought on not because it is a bad thing but because they try to follow a set list of “rules” instead of honestly asking God about the wardrobe they have. It also doesn’t hurt to enlist a Christian brother or Father in asking their opinions. We women tend to over think a problem and try to fix it ourselves and cause it to be more of an issue than it really is.
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
One last thought, if Christians dress and act just like the world how are we to be the light of the world?
To Those Who Disagree: Whether you agree with Nathan’s perspective on modesty or not, please heed Abigail’s encouragement to communicate out of love.
This is an important issue, but even if you have something important to say, please don’t forget that Nathan is a 16-year-old young man who is *trying* to please the Lord (even if you think he is misguided in this area).
Also, keep in mind that those of you who have been negatively affected by modesty teachings probably *agreed* with Nathan when you were sixteen. If he’s truly wrong help him to see it gently and graciously. Talk to him the way you’d want someone to have talked to you when you were his age.
If the problem with modesty teachings is that they engender judgmentalism (among other things), then the solution should be grace, not reverse judgmentalism.
First of all, I would like to thank all of you for your comments. They all are helpful. The topic of modesty can be immensely controversial. I understand that not everyone shares these views, but I also see that some of my intentions and words have been misinterpreted. I most certainly do not want to cause division or confusion or even anger. So, in order to shed some light, I would like to clarify some things:
For starters, you do NOT have to wear long skirts to be modest. Modesty is not about clothes. It’s about the heart. That might sound cliche, but it’s true. Guys need to be modest in our own way. Because girls and guys are wired differently, immodesty can come in different forms. In guys it could be flirtatious behavior. The only reason modesty is so popularly thought of as about clothes is because men are typically more visual than ladies.
It pains me to read in these comments how people have been hurt deeply by trying to be modest. Modesty is never to put down a young lady! Women are NOT objects! Modesty, in the form of clothing, simply helps to keep men from treating them as such. Modesty isn’t about outward appearance, it’s about showing that you want to keep yourself pure for the man (or woman, in a guy’s case) that you will marry. Modesty is not the opposite of purity, it’s what purity looks like to other people! Not just the clothes that others see, but the attitude and the behavior. This is true modesty in action.
To clarify the actual story, the “standard dress code” was the school uniforms. Uniforms are meant for unity, but they can be altered in such a way to be otherwise – even if it’s for a seemingly innocent reason. I do apologize for coming off as judgmental. I can’t judge hearts, but from the outside you can demonstrate what is in your heart. I am sure that some girls had good intentions and didn’t mean anything by it, and I am deeply sorry that I made it sound that way.
I’ll be honest. The kind of judgmental modesty that many Christians seem to proclaim angers me as much as it does you. Modesty is a great thing! But with the self-centered way that some people view it, it can become distorted. I wholeheartedly agree with the statement Sophia made: “Modesty is not a guy problem, or a girl problem. It’s an EVERYBODY problem.”
I believe that many girls gave up on modesty because it was made out to be for the benefit of the guy only. It’s not just for the guys! It’s for YOU. It’s for you to see that you’re more than just an object to be lusted over. You’re a precious gift from God and He wants you to know how important you really are. And above all else, modesty is for GOD.
Thank you all again for your comments and for your respect. I hope that you’ll realize just how important to God modesty is – not for the body, not for anybody else – but for HIM and Him only.
Nathan, thank you for your gracious reply. I don’t agree with you on many points, but as they have already been covered by others, I won’t repeat them. The one thing I will ask is: why did you focus on the girls without commenting on how the young men were dressed? Did you not notice? The lack of commentary on that front is glaring to me. I believe it’s the main reason why so many have felt you were judgemental. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
Brett, I appreciate your warning to the dissenters here. I do think, however, that they are not the only ones who have been less than gracious in this discussion.
A mother of teenagers who sees the provocative clothing of both genders walking up and down her street daily.
Thank you, Linda, for your reply.
I understand that modesty goes both ways, but it is first a pursuit of God. In answer to your question, there is a reason why the post was more about girls. Because guys are naturally wired to be visual, the clothing part of modesty most often ties to girls. I am NOT saying that it is their fault, however. This is simply one of the ways that God made us to think and feel differently as separate genders.
For this reason also, immodesty with girls is usually more noticeable than with guys. As I said in my earlier comment, modesty is neither for guys nor girls. It’s for God. I know girls who don’t wear long skirts or big t-shirts, but they are still modest. It’s not about the clothing, it’s about the heart – both guys and girls. It’s about a heart that’s focused on Christ and Christ alone.
Again, I’d like to thank everyone for their comments. It is great to discuss tough matters! It’s really a part of Do Hard Things that not many people realize. I encourage you, though, to keep God first in your comments and to make sure that your words line up with His Holy Word. I’m not saying this for myself, but that our witness as Christians not be diminished. If a non-Christian were to read these comments, would the love of God be shown through them? Again, this is not for myself, but that God would be honored.
I agree with both sides of the issue – Nathan’s article and the comments. Modesty IS important – but not if it trumps our relationship with God.
As a student at a large public university, immodesty surrounds me on a daily basis – both from girls and guys. To be honest, it disgusts me just as much when girls wear shirts that are a bit too tight/low as when guys wear their pants around their ankles.
On the other hand, I wear pants; in the summer, knee-ish length shorts; and as a dancer, in the studio a leotard and tights. I believe that comfortable, cute, flattering clothing doesn’t have to be immodest.
I think the root of the problem is not modesty. It’s our heart, our relationship with God. “People look at the outward appearance, but God looks at the heart.” If/when we desire to love God, we will follow his leading for our lives, and our modesty. I believe that that looks like different things for different people. Some people are called to skirts; others pants. Neither is “more” moral, godly, or modest; just what God’s leading looks like played out in different people’s lives. But if we make modesty the root of the issue we’re walking away from the central core of Christianity – that Jesus came to redeem, restore, and save us.
All of our journeys are different. God is leading us all on slightly different paths and it’s important not to judge others simply because they’re not at the same point we are. It’s hard to understand where others are coming from, especially on the Internet because you can’t hear the inflections and tones of voice. 🙂
Thanks for sharing, Nathan.
~ Madison Hexter
I just want to say thank you so much for this article. I have often noticed modesty as a huge problem at amusement parks, and while I can see how this could possibly come across as slightly judgmental, I just thought he was trying to point out how refreshing modesty is, and how much he appreciated it.
I go to a public high school where I am surrounded by girls who dress immodestly for the attention of guys. Some of them are dear friends who have had a tough home-life or have had issues with guys in the past, and they are desperate for approval and attention. Many of them are struggling Christians who think modesty is just a stack of stiff rules made by guys. It would completely change girls’ outlook on the clothes they wear if they could just hear that there are guys out there that do appreciate modesty and do appreciate them for more than their bodies. I think the rampant immodesty that is prevalent in my school and community could be lessened if girls could here the message in this article: that modesty is noticed and appreciated and isn’t just a chase after the wind. Obviously, modesty is a heart issue and modesty shouldn’t be sought after just to get the approval and appreciation of others, but encouragement like this can go a long way in spurring on young women.
It is truly sad to see all of these negative comments about an article that was meant to show how someone appreciated seeing modesty in the midst of immodesty. I had the impression that the intentions of this article were good, and while it troubles me to see a simple, personal issue being argued over like this, I really do appreciate what was written in the article. Thank you, Nathan!
God bless you, Nathan! This was a great post and I really appreciated your sharing it! I also want to thank Brett for putting it up and sharing it through this site!
I have honestly tried to see girls’ wearing tight jeans, low-cut shirts, the whole shebang from their point of view and…I really don’t get it. Yes, there comes a point when a man is responsible for his thoughts BUT there also comes a point when a girl needs to be responsible for her actions. I cannot see how wearing this typical modern day “its-in-fashion” clothing aligns with a particular passage in scripture which is Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
When I as a human being see what girls are wearing I can honestly say that the words “Pure” and “Lovely” do not come to mind, and once again I have really tried to look at it from an earthly, ungodly perspective.
‘…if there be any virtue..” the definition for virtue is “moral excellence; goodness; righteousness. A good or admirable quality or property: the virtue of knowing one’s weaknesses.”
A few questions for all of you anti-modesty people out there, Do you feel that you have any virtue when you look in the mirror and see what you are wearing? Do you feel pure and lovely? Is what you are wearing of good report to others? Do you feel you are getting godly praise on your outfit both from men and other women/girls? What is the core motive for the outfit you decided to put on? Who are you trying to please, God or man?
I have asked myself these questions before and they have come in handy even though I don’t wear what my peers wear. Really think about these questions!
I have seven brothers, whom I love dearly, and they each have their opinions on modesty -many going for what would align with this passage of scripture. It is evident, both in their thoughts and the thoughts of others, that it is hard for them to respect a girl who cannot respect them. Why does it have to be the guys respecting the girls first before the girls ever even begin to think about respecting them back?!
I am very comfortable in a long skirt and polo or button up shirt, even a jumper. 🙂 The only people who will really scoff at such clothing are the ones who have so denied it and tried to get away from it that they find it to be offensive or old fashioned.
I just also want to add that for the record, men’s clothing has dropped really low as well and that is another issue in itself. So (girls) don’t feel that you are the only ones who are lacking and being bashed for your clothing because there are lots of guys out there who has really lowered themselves as well, but in a different sense.
It is sad when you can’t tell the difference between a Christian girl and a non-Christian girl and that is duly the same with guys as well.
I honestly do not want to give this comment the feeling that these words are being typed in anger or that I have not tried to see things from the opposite point of view because I have seen things from that view and I’m not saying these things out of anger, just merely from a heart that has seen what the worlds idea of clothing (and lack thereof) has done to friends and Christian society, and to say that I do not agree with their philosophy.
In the end, we will not have the last say. We will each have to stand before the throne of judgment and God will be the One to tell us what was right or wrong.
“I beseech you therefore, brethren (and sisters), by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1-2
“I’ve called you to be royalty, My princess. You don’t have to conform to the wardrobes of this world to feel good about yourself. Remember What you wear initially defines what people think about you. I want your wardrobe to honor Me. You don’t need to dress to get attention—I can make you more beautiful than any fashion designer because I specialize in internal and eternal makeovers. Your favor and beauty will radiate because you are a reflection of Me. Keep in mind that those who design clothes to expose your body to not love your soul like I do. My love, let you wardrobe reveal My spirit—not your flesh. So robe yourself today like the royalty you are. Love, Your King and your eternal beauty.
Taken from Sheri Rose Shepherd’s book “His Princess: Love Letters from Your King”.
First I would start by saying a few things:
First of all, Nathan, thank you so much for expressing so genuinely your appreciation for the women who do dress modestly. It is very much appreciated, as expressed by a few comments seen above, and by myself. I am one of those girls who wears long skirts, in conviction that that is the MOST modest apparel for me, personally, to wear, in order to better encourage the young men around me to have a pure thought life and please God in doing so. It is my own conviction, and I do not believe that everyone has to wear skirts to dress modestly.
Also, to those of you who commented about Nathan’s impure mind and legalistic “modesty test”, please, keep these thoughts to yourself., for I must ask, if we were in Nathan’s place, would we have been able to keep your own thoughts pure and our eyes undistracted were it a park full of good looking(whatever you hold that to be), well-muscled guys? These comments are hurtful, unedifying, and judgmental in their own way. Men, as much as they attempt to keep their eyes to themselves and their thoughts pure, will be effected by the way we as women dress. Also, to everyone who commented, remember, the young women Nathan saw at Hershey Park may not have been Christian…if this is indeed the case, which is easily probable, they have been immersed in the culture’s sex obsessed culture, and have no idea that there even is such a thing as sin, that lust is sinful, or that sex is a sacred thing to be experienced in holy matrimony between a man and a woman.
Samantha, I completely agree with your final question, and have often asked it myself. How many young girls do we see in the churches around us and at the house of our friends who claim to be “Christians” but act and live and speak and dress and look just like the rest of the world? And how could any person, let alone non-believers, see Christ’s character when there is very little visible difference between us and the rest of the world? I have often felt shamed by the carefree way women, even Christian women, reveal the parts of their feminine figure–that should be kept private–for all the world to see.
As to comfort, I know a few of you mentioned that in the earlier comments above, I would make an argument for the sake of a skirt…I have during the summer often worn skirts–when I wore pants once to ride my bike on the nearby trail I found that it was much less comfortable. Skirts are open and flow easily, allowing air flow and comfort that I hadn’t found in pants. That is your opinion; however, consider, have you considered wearing a skirt as an experiment? Perhaps, just maybe, it is not as uncomfortable as you believe it might.
To Victoria Watson I would comment that your statement to stand against immodesty is duly appreciated. As much as I was disappointed by some of the less encouraging, loving posts made above, I have also found encouragement in finding several similar minded young women making a stand as I am doing.
For those of you who mentioned that you felt as though your body was a disgusting object to be hidden, I am truly sorry that this is the way some people portray the concept. I have never experienced this in my life–as a matter of fact, it was my decision, at age 12, to wear modest skirts full time, after my mother had asked my my opinion. The decision was not forced, nor unwelcome. Be that as it may, I trust that this may have been the case in some others’ lives, and am sorry.
May you all understand as I hope you do that such admonitions and encouragement should always be made in love, no matter what or how other people have portrayed this issue or any other to be. If we love God, if we love others, we should respond as such. This is not to say that informing a young woman of how her choice to dress impacts others around her is judgmental. We young woman should understand that it takes courage and love to make such admonitions, and appreciate them.
I cannot go on any longer, for some household tasks need doing. I appreciate Nathan’s honesty and appreciation, and am greatly encouraged by his post. I am also discouraged that Christian women should sound so unloving in their comments on a Christian website I love and enjoy being a part of, be that a new addition of a part as it were. Brett, I appreciate your attempts to encourage each and every person who commented, and thank you for your support of the modesty issue today.
I agree that it is nice to see modest girls but as one who has been through the lie that you have to wear long skirts to be modest, this article is misleading to a lot of people. I was one that would have used it to show my girls that it was best. God finally revealed to me that I was the weaker brother by believing it. I now know that wearing jeans or longer shorts and a not tight t shirt is modest. Sometimes its more modest depending on the activities. I love your blog and encourage my kids to be on here. They would tend to be cynical at this article.
I don’t think he’s saying that we have to wear long skirts to be modest, they were just the only example he had at the theme park. I like jeans and longer shorts myself.
Elsie, your comment was right on the point. I’ve heard of that book, and I’ve heard a few of its devotionals from friends of ours. Very good.
Nathan, you’ve exhibited courage by getting into the mix of comments. Your response was gracious. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to read some of the comments without feeling personally attacked.
Brett, thank you for leaving the comments open (even when the discussion became a bit heated), and for being willing to engage in another aspect of this topic. I have also seen how the legalistic modesty/purity culture has been harmful to BOTH men and women.
You have an incredible platform, and I just want to encourage you to feature some posts by women who have been harmed and burdened by legalistic modesty/purity culture.
Thank you so much for this post, Nathan. As a girl who strives to dress modestly, I sometimes feel discouraged by how few girls share my beliefs on the subject and I wonder if my efforts even make a difference. It’s very refreshing for me to read about guys who truly appreciate modesty and it encourages me to stick to my standards.
@Caliegh– you dont know what its like to be a guy. a girl wearing booty shorts is all it takes for a guy to stumble. its not like we want to. you want to be viewed as a piece of meat? go ahead and tell all the females of this culture they can dress how they want. but when a girl wears immodest stuff- *and I live in Las Vegas- I see it every day, all a girl is, is a prize, a piece of meat. why would a female want to be viewed that way? its helping satan gain ground and win the battle. why would any female want to help that?
I get its not comfortable but should a guy just not go places if he struggles? “which we ALL do when placed around a bunch of females wearing close to nothing nothing. Its hard for me to drive home every day because of the billboards I see on the roads. on top of the Taxis. in the Newspaper vents on the side of the road. on the casino buildings. in the malls. youre telling me its the GUYS fault for not being able to train his eyes and not getting accountability?.. cmon. a girl knows what she’s doing. and what she wants when she wears revealing clothing.
just a thought. coming from a Christain guy who struggles with this every day. and lives in the city of sin.
hey, so I know i’m about two months late for this conversation so probably no one will read this but i honestly felt that I had to respond because what you (Jacob C) wrote was so unbelievably offensive and counter-biblical. You said, “when a girl wears immodest stuff… all a girl is, is a prize, a piece of meat.” Last time I checked, girls are valuable because they are human beings, created with unalienable rights and all, and because Jesus was willing to pay His life for us. How dare you say someone is less valuable, or a “piece of meat” just because of their clothing or lifestyle? Just because you choose to objectify women doesn’t mean they actually are objects. Reading your comment actually makes me want to dress immodestly just so I won’t risk being around people as superficial as you.
Also, “youre telling me its the GUYS fault for not being able to train his eyes” YES, yes it is. God promised to always provide a way of escape for temptation, so there are no excuses for you. Trying to blame others for your sin is the epitome of victim blaming and irresponsibility.
You say you’re a Christian, but I highly doubt that is true.
What he was saying is, what goes through a non-Godly guy’s mind when he sees a girl who’d dressed immodestly is that she’s “a prize, a piece of meat.” He’s not saying that they are, it’s just how most guys will think of them.
Re: your second paragraph, yes, God will provide a way out of temptation, but God also says, “Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!” Matt. 18:7, NIV Obviously, we as girls need to not cause trouble for guys. What if we are part of the way of escape for these guys? As Christian ladies, we should be the people to whom guys can look if they want to see someone who dresses right.
Eva, I’m not trying to be defensive, I just want to defend the eyes of the Christian guys around you.
@Jacob C Please let me know if I misinterpreted you.
& also. Nathan I feel you on so many levels. I wish every girl would understand how hard it is for us to keep our eyes up and view women as “children of God”. Because all it takes is one girl. or a amusement park full of them. to walk around thinking about only one thing. Big props bro! Thank you for posting it.
Thank you, Nathen! Your expressing your appreciation for modesty has made my day and encouraged me so much! I’m often tempted to lower my standards, but hearing an honest opinion from a Christian guy has re-inspired me!
Nathan, thank you for the article. It is nice to know that guys actually appreciate girls who want to please God.
For all the girls reading comments: Sometimes we make this too big of a deal. May this be an encouragement to you. My personal conviction is: 1. I want God to be glorified, and accurately represented by what I wear, and 2. I don’t want to wear anything that would cause my brothers in Christ to stumble. Since I have adopted this philosophy, I have felt a lot of relief. I know that I am doing my best to glorify God, and I have a clear conscience. What the guys do with that is their choice, and I am glad that Nathan choose to be grateful.
Nathan, Thank you so much for posting this article. It really encouraged me as I was just tempted to lower my standards. I often struggle with why Christian girls dress the way they do, when I don’t believe they should. Your last line encouraged me that my efforts do make a difference.
All the arguing makes me sad. I really believe that modesty is a heart issue and we should test our words by the Bible before we say things to others.
Elsie, Thanks you so much for that encouraging post from the “His Princess” book. I actually own it, but I haven’t read it in a while. It was just what I needed. Thank you so much!
Ya i know what you mean. I volunteer at the south Florida fair and i am their all 17 days, so i know what you mean when there are girls that are barely dressed. Thanks for saying that
Having a shirt that implies “look at me, I’m being modest” is … not modest.
Sorry guys. I love this project and I love the spirit and I love you guys, but we have to make sure that in our quest to be different that we don’t miss the point entirely. 🙂
Shaun: Good point, Shaun. Thanks for sharing in such a gracious way. Hope you’re doing well!
My thanks to all of you who have commented since my last reply. Your respect is much appreciated and so is your input – from all perspectives!
One thing I want to continue to point out is that the “blame” lies with neither the guys nor the girls. As you all well know, not every guy or girl dresses to attract, and not every guy or girl views the other as an object. The fault lies in when someone has sinful intentions – either to attract the opposite sex or to lust over a body. No one can make someone else sin. Our focus should always be to please God, and not to shift blame back and forth.
“Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.” – Colossians 4:6
Hi guys, my husband bought and shared your book, which I am enjoying reading. I came to check out this site. I appreciate Nathan’s post. Sometimes we girls/women don’t realize how distracting to the male population our dress is because we were designed differently by God to respond more to verbal stimulation than visual. (Of course we respond to that as well, just not as much as men in general.) I wanted to share one experience I remembered while reading: One habit I have is to cover my chest with my hand whenever I bend down. On one occassion, a man approached me and thanked me for doing this. He very much appreciated my modesty. I was glad to receive praise for a habit that I developed years ago.
Thank you so much for this article, Nathan.
As a 17 yr old girl living for Christ, I appreciate guys like you who respect modesty and want to honor God with your thoughts/eyes. Its a battle for both sides, but I thank you for taking a stand.
Ladies, I just have something for us all to consider. Nathan, a Godly young man, admits to struggle when we dress immodestly. I think many of us know guys like Nathan, and its easy to assume that immodesty shouldn’t affect the ‘nice Christian guys’. But it does. Guys are just wired this way.
I’d hate to make a guy struggle by the way i dress. I’d also hate to think that I’d be attracting the wrong kind of attention from guys I come across, from teens to married men to old men. I love my christian brothers and men in general enough to keep them from struggling because of what I’m wearing.
I also agree that there are guys who are going to stare anyway, but that’s not an excuse to wear whatever.
The goal of modesty is to dress in a way that doesnt ‘distract’ or draw attention to the wrong places.
2 Tim. 2:22 says “Flee the evil desires of youth, and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.”
A few somewhat disjointed thoughts, if I may.
I definitely agree that most teaching on modesty should come from other women. If one of my girlfriends or an older woman pulled me aside to tell me (kindly!) that she thought my outfit might cause a brother to stumble, I’d be grateful, even if I disagreed. If one of my guy friends did the same thing, I’d feel a little bit disrespected. It’s almost like you’re usurping the biblical authority of an older woman to instruct the younger ones. 😉
I had an experience yesterday that’s caused me to evaluate the “modesty culture” a little differently. Walking down the street with my sisters, I heard “Hello, ladies!” Looking up, I saw some guys in a car, and assuming from the familiar greeting that we must have met somewhere, said, “Oh, hi!” Next thing I’ve got whistles and catcalls coming at me. I know, I should have seen it coming. We were close to the local public high school.
I spent the rest of the day thinking about buying a burkha and/or shaving my head. I also dearly wanted to hide from the eyes of men –except from one group. My Christian “modesty culture” friends. And thinking back, I remember that this has happened before. Some guy will leer at me, making me sorry that I have a female body, and I find myself thanking God for godly men whom I do not have to fear.
If guys find it hard to be in public with girls who are showing off their bodies, I submit that is at least as hard for a girl to be in public with guys like the aforementioned creepers. And if guys should be thankful for modest girls, girls should be thankful for guys who appreciate modesty. If the guys in the car had been trained in my local modesty subculture, the “ladies” would have meant lady as opposed to gentleman, not meat as opposed to wolf.
To be sure, being a gentleman isn’t everything. That just means that you have been trained in a certain culture, and may or may also have a true heart. But cultural training counts for a lot when you don’t have the Holy Spirit to keep your sinful nature in check.
I’m not saying that the modesty culture can’t go too far. It can go to the extreme where women are viewed as default temptresses upon whom the guilt of a lustful man falls. It can go to the extreme where a woman who was raped “was asking for it.” And modesty especially isn’t based in culture but in a godly heart. But at its best the modesty culture is about protecting both guys and girls.
I would love to see some emphasis on what men’s’ lust means to women — I know there’s been some writing, but I’d love to see some more!
Thank you all so much again for your comments. Elizabeth, I very much agree! Some people have sadly taken modesty to mean something entirely different. They take away its God-centered meaning and try to put blame on others. It’s very sad, really.
I know what you’re talking about with those guys in the car. I’ve seen things like that happen and it’s quite, quite sickening. To see a lady treated as a mere object is a terrible feeling.
I don’t want to take up all the blog space with my comments, but I do want to encourage you to continue your pursuit of God in purity and modesty. Stay strong in the Lord and commit yourself to Him. It’s not about clothes or looks – it’s about Jesus Christ! I simply cannot emphasize that enough.
Wow, this is really a great discussion guys. There are certainly a lot of different views on modesty. But here’e the thing, I think at this point we all need to get a view of the big picture. This isn’t really about whether a girl wears a long skirt of short shorts, or if a guy guards his heart/eyes, or not. The big picture is honoring God by your actions and living your faith. And HELLO, what you wear is an action, its a choice you make. You can chose to sin, or you can choose to honor God.
I also think that it is a personal decision about what EXACTLY is modest and what isn’t modest.
And Nathan, thank you so much for your post. Someone needed to start this discussion and I’m glad you did.
Mykah-A Girl Who strives to Honor God with her actions.
Thank you for sharing this story with us! It was very encouraging to me! I, for one, am very blessed when guys actually notice when a girl dresses modestly. And I am even more blessed and encouraged when guys take the time to express their gratitude to those girls.
Also, thank you for being bold enough to write this even though you were probably aware of the fact that some people would be in strong disagreement with you! That can certainly take an act of courage!
Keep being bold for Christ!
No matter what others say, thanks so much for the encouraging and insightful post. It is helpful to know that modesty is not a dead issue. (It feels that way sometimes).
I rather liked the point of what would happen if we girls were stuck in a park full of shirtless guys with muscles. Trust me, it would be distracting even if you had a pure heart and thoughts! Also, haven’t we had most of these discussions before? I seem to be getting deja vu….
I say, be modest, but don’t panic over it. It’s hard, so don’t be legalistic and get mad if our jeans have scuff marks.
Thank you so much for your post, Nathan! I respect you so much for writing about this in the first place, and then for responding to replies in a gracious and Christ-like manner. I’ve often wondered if guys ever notice the effort I make to dress modestly, so your post has been encouraging to me.
I’ve been to amusement parks several times, and I’ve seen the immodesty that you describe. It makes me very sad to see it, and it’s really hard to avoid it. It’s terrible that modesty is the exception, and not the rule. It used to be that immodesty was frowned upon, not encouraged, and girls didn’t have to try and figure out how to dress and behave modestly. It was understood and upheld. (And it wasn’t legalistic.)
I just want to hit a few points.
About the guys modesty thing that’s been brought up in other comments — the major thing here is that guys and girls are not built the same. That’s pretty obvious. It’s one thing for a guy to not wear a shirt at a pool, for example, and it’s quite another for a girl to have her top exposed. Immodesty for girls is far more noticeable, in my opinion, although I can get just as disgusted with guys.
There’s no reason a girl can’t stay covered, even if it is 110 degrees out. I’m a 17 yr. old girl, and I used to live in the desert part of Texas. It got HOT. But I stayed cool wearing dresses, skirts, pants, and capris. I didn’t wear short shorts, low or tight tops, or other immodest clothing. But neither did I wear shirts that had collars all the way up to my chin, and or baggy T-shirts, or full, heavy skirts down to the floor. My parents aren’t legalistic, and I’ve always had attractive, but modest clothes.
One girl asked how you can wear a long skirt on a roller coaster. I must say that I’ve worn skirts and split skirts on all kinds of rides, and it’s never been a problem for me. I’ve never been on a ride where it was a hindrance. I personally LOVE wearing modest clothes, including, but not limited to, long skirts. (Really, I think they’re cooler in the summer than pants or capris.)
Anyway, there are bunches of girls out there who really appreciate it when guys stand up and tell them how grateful they are for modesty. It’s an encouragement to us, and we know that it isn’t always easy for you to tell us what you think about it, especially when you receive criticism that can be hurtful.
I’m sure there are lots of comments that say it better than I can, but here it is from one very thankful girl: Thank you for making a stand!
I just wanted to thank you so much for posting this. My immediate response is a resounding Amen! It never ceases to amaze me how this all-too-obvious problem is so often overlooked in our culture. And yet, so many christians are caused to stumble by such thoughtless behavior, and don’t approach the issue for fear of opposition or being misunderstood. I am inspired by your courage to make this post, knowing what a controversial subject this is. The tough thing is, of course, the elusive fine line between modesty and senseless legalism. And we, as finite humans, won’t always be right. The main thing is that they (the girls who were different) made an effort in trying to please God in their heart, and in their dress.
Once again, thank you, and God Bless you in your efforts to please Him and encourage others.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind”. – II Timothy 1:7
Wow! This has been an interesting exchange. I am very thankful for all the kind & respectful words spoken. Thank you for taking your valuable time to share!
I must say I was surprised to hear of the destructive side of the “modesty movement”.. especially in regards to eating disorders (1 comment) & devaluing femininity. I am a nutritionist with experience in the area of eating disorders (starting personally in my youth & then professionally). I have seen an overwhelming negative effect of our culture’s obsession with physical appearance (esp thinness) on negative thinking, self worth & disordered eating behaviors. Those suffering from Anorexia also tend to have a lot of control issues, perfectionism etc.
That said, I believe that anytime we add anything to God’s Word (such as outside measures of obedience, including dress length, etc) we are putting a yoke on others that God never intended & it can lead to a form of spiritual abuse. It really is about the heart as many have said. Jesus came to set us FREE from all forms of bondage & self destruction. When we seek HIM with all of our heart, surrender our own desires to Him for His Glory we will dress in a way that does not draw attention to ourselves.
“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.” (1 Corinthians 10:31-33, also check out the AMP ~ it’s very insightful to me).
Regarding devaluing femininity (dressing baggy, frumpy to cover up curves)? More bondage. My daughter is 10 & I have been encouraging her about how wonderful it is that God is growing her into a woman.. It is a beautiful thing to be celebrated. It also means that we want to be careful as we dress to continue to reflect God’s Glory. God’s ways are always positive, lovely & for our GOOD not our destruction. So when we see bad things happen it’s because we have added to or taken away from His Word. And when we grow closer to Him (denying ourselves, loving others) His Holy Spirit will guide our choices (not our own selfish motivations).
Also, let me just say that Nathan greatly minimized the environment he was in. He has a pure heart to please God in all things ~ he didn’t want to describe the extreme lack of covering (ie, bathing suits, etc) out of respect for his friends. (this is from his PERSONAL blog which was started in the fall to challenge & encourage his Christian friends).
When my oldest was ~12yo God allowed me to see the world from the eyes of a teen guy & it was completely overwhelming ~ through that experience I gained a deep compassion for how challenging it can be to live in this perverted culture (from the ads in the Sunday paper to walking through a clothing store to having to be on guard during our worship services!!). How broken I was & I became frustrated in my attempts to protect my sons. So I bought them some great books (thank you Harris guys!!), continued to encourage them to seek to please God, taught them some practical skills to help them avoid pitfalls & told them to PRAY for girls who are less covered, whether out of ignorance or desire for attention.
Best things I have ever read on the topic of modesty (as a heart issue, not at all legalistic, etc) ~ Nancy Leigh DeMoss & Carolyn Mahaney (ex http://www.girltalkhome.com/blog/category/modesty/ )
Sorry to go so long (I could say much more but am attempting to be respectful of all of our time 😉 ~ thank you SO much, Brett, for your encouragement & support & all that you are doing! It was a little hurtful to read a few of these comments as a mama but I am grateful for all that God is doing!!
You’re Nathan’s mom? You must be proud of your son!
really want to thank you for writing the letter! as a girl, i am often scared, about how i should dress etc.. i want to fit in, but i do want to show my love for Jesus Christ, the SOn of GOd!!!!!
Thank you for writing this letter, a lot of my friends don’t realize how “intreasting” their clothing is.
So thank you! even in the summer when everyone dresses more innapropriately!
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” -C.S. Lewis
Modesty is really controversial but I did enjoy this post. Even as a girl I myself have felt so drained after a day full of immodest dress. I live in a town with a huge water park and river so summer is a constant battle. I understand guys have a hard time so I try to dress modest. I can’t please everyone but I can help out a bit. Our generation has a heart problem and we need to share truth to them and do our past to push past immodesty and help them. Whatever happens conduct yourselves with a godly conduct.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33
As a side note you can go to my blog to see my views on modesty. I won’t put them here but if your interested check it out. (What To Wear: https://wisemaiden.wordpress.com/2013/01/03/what-to-wear/) (Secret Propaganda: Clothing https://wisemaiden.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/secret-propaganda-clothing/).
Again, thank you for the amazing resources on this blog. Your book really inspired me!
a teenage girl striving to proclaim God’s truth
Thank you so much for this post! It is great that someone cares about modesty!
LADIES!….what is up with all the “judging” comments? What happened to “building each other up.” When we as women dress immodestly it doesn’t help guys or anyone else. Just think…your body is walking representation of our Lord Jesus. Do all things for the glory of God. “1 Timothy 2:9 says..Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire” In other words….dress appropriatly not drawing undesired attention to yourself. What would Jesus say to you if you were wearing booty shorts and a low cut tank top? Think about it! We are called to encourage one another. Men can lust if we dress modestly or not. But it is alot less of a temptation if we dress appropriatly. It also says that you are looking for lustly eyes. When you are married, would you like other men looking at you wear unmodest clothes, or your husband looking at other women? I don’t think so. if you dont flaunt your bodies you will gain respect and an accurate self image. My guys friends have said to me and my freinds that they are greatful we dress modestly and that it has helped them so much! People also think we dress cute and fashionable.
Most of you girls think that to dress modestly mean to wear long skirts and turtle necks. It is not so! Just clothes that aren’t to tight, to low, and to short. You can find so many cute modest outfuits. t-shirt or a fancy, flowly blouse, shorts that reach your fingertips, layering to low shirts. It is so easy to dress modestly!!! Ladies….do not dress like you are a hooker. Sorry to be so blunt but it is true. You guys can do it! You are representing out Lord Jesus Christ!!!
All you ladies! Lets have a generation of modest Godly women!!!
It’s nice to know that there are guys out there who encourage girls to be modest. I’ll definitely be thinking more about how I present myself in public now!
I feel this topic can be, for both girl and guy, shakey ground. Yes there are guys that blame it on the girls. And even the girls who make it so as if its the guys fault. I appologize if i am repeating someone for i didnt read every post before mine, but i think its both of our responsibilites. Girls, we, for sure, need to dress appropriately, and guys need to keep their heads, hearts, and eyes well guarded. Its not a matter of one sex haveing all the blame or vice versa its about helping others and yourself.
I do very much appreciate this letter as i love knowing that there are guys out there who appreciate modesty cause for us girls it can be so pressuring at times to make the right choices in the clothing department. Be it to fit in or if we feel we want attention.
So im praying for all the girls, especialy those who share the faith, that we dress right, for the guys, for the encouragement it brings to other girls and to the glory it brings to God. I luv all you sisters and brothers in christ and thank you for this post!
-your sister in christ
Thank you soo much for posting this! This is the first time I’ve ever verbally heard of someone appreciating the way us girls choose to dress. Personally, this was very encouraging for me. Thank you!
It really surprises me how many young women there are who have commented above whom all express the desire to dress modestly, for a few different reasons. I have been greatly encouraged, as I used to feel so alone in this discussion. For those of you who commented and shared their desire to please God by dressing modestly and encouraging their brothers in Christ through their dress, thank you. May God bless all of you, and encourage you. Like Nathan, I know there are other boys out there who appreciate our efforts.
In a search for a Bible passage I thought related to this discussion, I came across the following verses:
“Therefore do not associate with them; for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord…”
“Let us consider how to spur one another on to love and good works…” Hebrews 10:24
Again, Nathan, thank you for sharing. Through your courage many have found both encouragement and strengthening among the comments and your post. We have spurred each other onto love and good works, and together have tried to discern what is pleasing to the Lord through this discussion, which is more than many verbal discussions with other friends and family members would have produced.
Nathan, if you’re reading this, let me say thank you!! I work hard to wear things that look attractive and feminine, but are modest. Every time I read something on modesty, I honestly want to crack up laughing! To think people say that there are things you CAN’T do in a skirt!!! I have worn long skirts ALL my life. I went from onesies to skirts. :). And the only thing you can’t do in a skirt is skydive and wear a harness. I have ridden horses, climbed trees, gone swimming (in a full length blue jean skirt), and participated in all kinds of sports. The argument that a girl has a right to wear whatever she wants and that her body is her own is absurd. I mean rape is wrong, right? But a man has the right to do what he wants with his body, right? “But that’s wrong! Doing ‘what he wants with his body’ hurts other people.” And you’re telling me dressing immodestly doesn’t hurt others? Thinks again. Besides, if you’re a Christian, you’ve willingly given up all your own “rights.” Should guys guard their own minds? YES. But that is no excuse for us girls to play with their minds. It’s mean and cruel and WRONG. I’ve had my rants over the disgustingness of men’s minds in general, but I still believe, no matter what other people say or do, it’s my responsibility and PRIVILEGE to be able to help my brothers in Christ who do so much for me. So, thanks again Nathan and thank you too, Brett, for having the guts to post this.
P.S. The Modesty Survey has been unlimited resource of encouragment and help to me. 🙂
Ok, I know you probably don’t want to hear from me again. Every thing I said in my first comment still stands. But I said it in a frustrated spirit. Elsie, I don’t know you, but I have a funny feeling that we would get along very well. 🙂 Please girls, kindly consider why it BOTHERS you so much that other girls wear “long” skirts. I didn’t want to convey a bad spirit. Please forgive me.
Well written Nathan. Let’s all remember that this is a 16 year old man, trying his best to seek God and encourage others. It was well written (whether or not you agree with him), and he stated his opinion well. He has taken all the criticism on here graciously, even if the critics were not gracious in their opinions. I appreciate his honesty, as a mother of 3 (one is a girl). She can still dress in a way that is fun and cute, and still be modest. She doesn’t wear skirts, or booty shorts. There is a happy medium.
Nathan, keep up the good work.
Nathan, thank you for such a good reminder! I believe that modesty is not just about what you wear, but also about how you carry yourself.
I spend a lot of my summer at our neighborhood pool, not just for fun but I teach swim lessons and have been on the swim team. There is not only a lot of bikinis, which seam to be everywhere you look, but girls competition swim suits are getting more revealing. The retailers say that it cuts down on the drag and makes you faster, I do not completely understand how that works. There have been some suits that are so revealing, I want to go up to the girl and tell her she might as well wear a bikini to practice in. I think that modesty is not something that just girls have to worry about either. I can’t tell you how many boys at our pool take a t-shirt and cut the sleeves off and cut the sides down to there shorts. Personally it can be hard to keep your mind pure when guys are trying to draw your attention to there muscles and chest. They also like to wear the boxers under there swim trunks and make sure you see them. We should not focus on getting everyone modest, but keeping OUR mind pure and on the things above. James 1:27 says this “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We can be “polluted by the world” in many ways; one of these ways is wondering what people who are indecent would look like with even less on.
I understand that not everyone agrees with me. I also get that outside of knowing God, there are people who don’t see a reason not to be indecent. In fact they are searching for satisfaction that we know can only come from God. They think that if they have the right boyfriend (or girlfriend) or a million other things that it will satisfy them. Our job as Christians is to show them Gods love by being ourselves and not judging them. I know that this can be hard. I also know that because of our beliefs that we will miss out sometimes. I am a film actress and a filmmaker, though I am just starting out, being in the film industry I know I will be surrounded by immodest people as well as modest people. I know that I will lose parts in films because of my modest and beliefs (including the fact that I am not willing to kiss any man that I am not married to). That is something that I am willing to let happen because I feel that I am where God wants me to be and her will help me every step of the way. And who knows, I may be able to influence other people, for Christ, because I am not willing to give in on my morals no matter what.
Again, thank you Nathan for this encouragement and reminder to keep on being modest, even when it is hard. We can do this Hard Thing, especially if we are doing it for God.
thank you for what you are saying(i don’t remember if i said thank you in my last comment) thanks
Nathan, I’m proud of you for having the courage to write this and put it out there, knowing it would be judged. I know it’s hard to put something of yourself on the line and then watch it get picked apart.
I totally know what you mean about the overwhelming immodesty at the park.
Folks, please don’t get hung up on the specific description of the girls who stood out. He wasn’t saying that only a long skirt and full t-shirt can be modest. You can dress in many kinds of fun, cute, comfortable, sporty, or feminine clothing and still be modest. I know Nathan, and I think he would agree.
For myself, I don’t choose clothing based on whether it might make someone else stumble or because I want to follow certain rules, but based on what I feel comfortable in and what I feel respects my own body. I hear Nathan’s desire to encourage people who go against the grain and choose not to wear what “everyone else” is wearing. Encouragement makes such a difference!
Ultimately, I don’t think getting people to dress or not dress a certain way is the real goal – rather how can we help ourselves and the young people in our lives respect our/themselves, see our inner God-given beauty, and be confident in God’s love, so that we can stand firm against the pressure to fit in, give in, or seek human attention and approval in destructive ways?
Anyway, sorry if I’m rambling. Nathan, keep on seeking God and writing whatever he lays on your heart!
I agree completely! I’m a girl, and even I really dislike immodesty. I was clothes shopping earlier today (I homeschool), and, being an amazingly small middle schooler, I shop in the girls department, and my mom and I were rather surprised at the amount of immodest clothing there. Ever since looking at the modesty survey, I’ve been trying to find the most modest clothing options for myself, but, to be frank, it was a little hard.
I even at times when I at a store looking at clothes the jeans re even tighter then ever before the skinny jeans are so tights color jeans are tight even the shorts are so short. and the dresses are so short swim suits are immodest I am homeschooled to I’m 17/1/2/ years old swim suits that are covered that aren’t reaveling are hard to find.
even toddler clothes are immodest now in days, I even at times I end up with nothing cause that store had clothes that aren’t modest makes me sick seeing that more now.
common sence is no longer used
I wish the clothes were more modest skirts are shorter now.
man I at times have to be careful
I am going to be a young woman this summer.
thanks for posting, i felt the same exact way when me and my friends went to cedar point.
I have to agree whole heartedly with you Nathan!!
I know a family at our church, and all the girls wear below the knee dresses or skirts – It is such a refreshing relief to be able to talk to them normaly – without not knowing where to look or how to react! – and I thank them for that.
I totally agree with Audrey. We should not be a stumbling block to our brothers in Christ. Dressing immodestly is a major stumbling block. My dad is the best person to go to when it comes to dressing modestly. At 15 years old it is hard to go shopping and see all those immodest clothes and not find any decent ones. It is hard for us ladies because we desire attention from guys. You can say you don’t all you want, but you’re wasting your breath. We have to remember that we have an audience of 1, and that we should not worry about the immagenary people staring at us on stage. Our bodies are meant for our future husbands only! As you can tell from the story, guys, especially christians, are bothered by the immodesty of most girls, but are extremely grateful for those few gems who dress modestly. We should strive to be the best we can be for God and our future husbands, and be the proverbs 31 women.
I found this a year late, but thank-you for writing this.
I would like to start out by saying that i am very sorry for writting on this epical blog so much. I resently found it and i really love it, so i’m on here, like, all the time. So. that being said, i would like to write on this one a little more. I know this is, like a year and half late. Sorry!!!
Any-what-who. I read this about three or four hours ago, and it made me think. Like, for three or four hours. and i need to write out all my ponderings.
so here was the question that was in my head. “How often do i dress imodestly?’ Well, the answer to that is, “I don’t know.” This artical talks about not wearing tiny little shorts ( which i don’t. Is it all shorts?? … I don’t know and i can’t tell) And not wearing shreaded shirts (which i also don’t) and not showing to much of yourself. (also, don’t do that…) But is there more to bing modest then just that??
Is being modest not showing off and being humble and, Well, like the perfect Christian.
And i had another question. (This is what happens when i start Philosophizing. Sorry!)
Is being modest really and trully just for girls?? There was one comment a little farther down slamming boys for being “Inmodest” and i know that i totaly think Nathen is awesome for writting this, chalengeing us girls to be modest and remember our future husbands. But is being modest, not just a girl problem???
That is what it is made out to be, but i know some guys that I might have to have a talk with if that is true.
So, that is what i’m thinking right now. If anyone reads this, can you please answer my questions???
Yes, yes, yes, and yes!!!!! Oh my gosh, this is SO true!!!!!! We live in a culture where purity and modesty need to be stepped up! It’s crazy how many people (not just girls, and I’m not saying that because I am one, but because everyone needs to recognize that purity and modesty is important) think it’s ok to be so revealing. God gave us beautiful bodies, but that doesn’t mean you should show it off. Seriously, think about it. If you had this super precious jewel, you wouldn’t want to show it to everyone you meet, like random people who walk by, because someone might steal it. Same with our bodies. Our bodies are beautiful. Everything God makes is beautiful, but it shouldn’t be abused. The only reason people are scared to talk about these things is because they are abused and the beauty of them has been totally changed. If you can, the next chance you get, go listen to Leah Darrow. She is the best! She’s a former model (starred on America’s Next Top Model a couple years ago) who was eliminated and then had her conversion. Now, she is a speaker who talks about chastity and modesty. Any chance you get, go listen to her!
Protect that precious jewel!