I read a very thought-provoking article today in the August 2010 edition of “ParentLife” magazine from LifeWay. The title: “The Dangers of Immodesty: An Innocent Mistake.”

Author Hayley DiMarco begins with the recent cyber-phenomenon from Facebook in which women posted the color of their bra as status updates to generate/raise awareness for breast cancer. While these updates may or may not have accomplished that goal, other potential effects exist. DiMarco’s point of bringing this seemingly innocent act to the topic at hand is to set the tone for the remainder of her article through which she implores her readers to consider how “innocent” acts of parenting impact the worldview of our children for years to come. She mentions that these ” ‘Oh isn’t that cute!’ moments” are the genesis for future struggles against immodesty.

Let me say bluntly what many men will not, “The effects of women’s choice of style can be cancerous in the minds of men.” The reason men rarely speak of this truth is partly due to the shame they feel in their own hearts and partly because women, too often, erroneously judge men who admit struggles with visual stimulation. I believe it to be false to say or think “If he were more spiritual/godly, he wouldn’t struggle with that or be tempted.” A man’s struggle with visually-provoked temptation is not a hurdle that, once cleared, men never have to worry about again. Furthermore, if the impact of visual stimulation was minimal or could simply be down-played or suppressed, the advertising industry would not use it so prevalently. In 21st Century America, dressing modestly affects boys and girls. As DiMarco writes, “Fashion is an equal opportunity offender.”

My wife and I have been increasingly convicted of the importance of modesty. Our oldest daughter is beginning 1st grade this month, and our son will start Kindergarten. Several family conversations have arisen from comments from these two such as “Why was she showing her breasts?” or “Why would she wear clothes that are too small (meaning too tight)”. As parents, we discuss the issue from both sides. Not only is it important to consider our choices of clothes to wear but, also, the effect our choices have on others. I realize that many of my contemporaries avoid this topic because many see that there are only 2 options: dress like a pilgrim or like the world. The reality, the one which the author of this article in “ParentLife” articulates very well & many parents wish to avoid, is that children/teens who dress immodestly reflects laziness and/or irresponsibility of parents.

I know some will say “I have freedom in Christ to dress however I see fit.” “I dress for comfort first.” “It’s 110 degrees outside! What wrong with wearing this?” But when discussing the freedoms we have in Christ, Paul say “But be careful that this right of yours [to freedom] in no way becomes a stumbling block to the weak” (1Corinthians 8:9). In other words, if the way you dress is likely provoke men with sinful thoughts, then you shouldn’t wear it. Christians are called t live lives that are holy for the Lord (see John 14:14 ff, 1 Peter 1:16 & 2 Peter 3:11), we must “in humility consider others as more important than [ourselves]” (Philppians 2:3).

I challenge fathers to step up & confront the flesh nature within you. You know how the male gender thinks. You know that the road between noticing an attractive girl and sexual sin is a shorter road than most are willing to admit. Let’s strive for holiness in our families! Promote a god-honoring body image. We must take seriously the responsibility we have of being the father and to train both our sons and daughters how to dress and to be aware of how our decisions affect others. 

I challenge mothers to overcome their “need” to focus on the “cuteness” of how they and their daughters dress and focus on the decision-making skills and worldview they are modeling for their daughters.

Mothers and fathers must stand unified in battle against immodesty! It is my prayer that Christian parents will begin to seriously consider the effects of immodesty and encourage one another to do the same.