Cover Story Good Advice Feature Video Hot Topics



 



Hot topic of the week


Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

What do YOU think?


Click here join in the discussion.

Web Bonus


Miranda Writes: Relationships, Part 7




by Omar Miranda

Modesty, Part 1—You’re a Magnifying Glass!

The other day my wife was telling me how difficult it is for her to find modest clothes for my 7-year-old daughter to wear. I asked her, just as I ask everybody else whenever they throw that word around, “What do you mean when you say ‘modest’?”

My wife said something like “Are you kidding me? All the shirts are too tight, all the pants are cut too low or have writing on the behind . . . ugh—it’s all just inappropriate! I’m not going to raise a daughter who’s going to dress to bring attention to herself! She’s not going to contribute to the spiritual downfall of boys in the church through her dress!”

“Baby,” I said, trying to calm down my wife, “she’s only 7.”

 My wife snapped back, “I know she’s only 7, but that’s all the more reason we’re working hard to instill in her now that she needs to be modest in how she dresses and speaks and acts! Omar, it’s not about her—it’s about God! She needs something to cover up her body, not make people stare at her!”

I smiled, hugged my wife, and quietly thanked God that I have a wife who’s serious about teaching our daughter—and our son—about the importance of modesty. 

Whom do you magnify?

Modesty is an important subject that we need to discuss. I’ll focus more on female modesty, because from what I’ve experienced while working with preteens, teens, and college students, a majority of this issue is related to how females act. This is not to say that I haven’t had to speak to my share of guys and confront them about what they’re wearing, how they’re talking, and how they’re acting. But for the most part, I’ve had to deal with girls.

When I was a kid, I used to play with a magnifying glass a lot. I used to burn leaves, bugs, food, shoes—really, anything I could get my hands on. The magnifying glass belonged to my father. My dad, a carpenter, would use it almost every day to find and remove splinters from his fingers, hands, and arms.

How does a magnifying glass work? Well, for one thing, it makes whatever you’re looking at bigger so that you can see it better. It can also take a wide wavelength of sunlight and focus it on a single smaller point. When it’s used this way, watch out, because that small point can get very hot! Ever seen a laser in action? It’s like a magnifying glass on steroids!

The Bible tells us that we’re like magnifying glasses in that we can magnify ourselves, the devil, or God by what we wear, what we say, and how we act. The question is Whom are you magnifying?

As we get started, I think it’s helpful for us to define modesty. Dictionary.com defines it as: “1. the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.; 2. regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; 3. simplicity; moderation.”

This week we’re going to focus our modesty discussion on three topics: what we wear, what we say, and how we act. It’s always important that whenever we discuss any topic, we look to see if there are any principles about it in God’s Word, the Bible. So let’s see what God has to say.

The first verse I want to share with you is Philippians 4:8. It says: “Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise” (CEV).1

When it comes to checklists, this is as close as I will come to telling you what is too short or too tight, which types of bathing suits to pick out, etc. I’ll leave that between you, the Holy Spirit, and your parents. Rather than giving you a checklist, I want to give you principles to guide not only the choice of clothes you buy and wear, but also what you say and how you act.

What I’ve found to be the case at times is that even teens that dress appropriately sometimes dress that way because they’re receiving external pressure from their parents or other adults. But if their hearts and minds aren’t modest, their behavior and their words will still be immodest.

The Bible says that if there’s a change of heart, it’ll affect the whole person. Jesus explained to His disciples: “The words that come out of your mouth come from your heart. And they are what make you unfit to worship God. Out of your heart come evil thoughts, murder, unfaithfulness in marriage, vulgar deeds, stealing, telling lies, and insulting others. These are what make you unclean” (Matthew 15:18-20, CEV).

Jesus also said: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and most important commandment. The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, ‘Love others as much as you love yourself.’ All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:37-40, CEV). 

Since we are to love the Lord with everything we’ve got, let me ask you a question. If we are so focused on loving the Lord with everything we’ve got, why would we want to dress, speak, or act in such a way as to draw attention to ourselves? As Christians our sole focus is to show other people the love of God, and we can’t do that if we’re focused on showing off ourselves! Plus, the best way to love others as yourself is to show them God, not you.

I’m sure you’re reading this right now and saying, “Hey, I’m not a bad person—I’m actually a pretty nice person. I have a lot to offer somebody as a friend!” I mean no disrespect when I say, “You’re not God!” 

Using the passages of Scripture we’ve just looked at as a foundation for what we wear, what we say, and how we act, we can move forward and see how comprehensively God’s Word handles this issue. Now let me bring up a surprising couple of passages in the Bible that show how a female shouldn’t act or speak.

Proverbs 7:5 tells us that an immoral woman uses flattery because she’s “a [sexually] promiscuous [out of control] woman” (NLT).2 It offers a picture of a girl who has no standards and will have sex with anybody. Basically she’ll say anything to get what she wants! Usually people don’t have a lot of faith in what this type of person says, promises she makes, or stories she tells. Is that the kind of person you want to be seen as?

Now let’s consider what Proverbs 7:10-13 says: “She was dressed fancy like a woman of the street [a prostitute] with only one thing in mind. She was one of those women who are loud and restless and never stay at home, who walk street after street, waiting to trap a man. She grabbed him and kissed him, and with no sense of shame” (CEV).

Do you think this woman wanted to give a guy a Bible study or some religious literature? No! She was dressed like a prostitute so she could entrap this guy and have sex with him—she was dressed to bring attention to herself. And she was purposefully acting seductively with her words and her actions. Notice that this passage describes not only her dress but her behavior and her motivations as well: loud, restless, waiting to trap a man, and with no sense of shame.

Ask yourself, When I dress the way I dress, when I talk to a guy, when I act the way I do, why am I doing it? What is my purpose? Do I want to get to know him? Or am I throwing myself at him? Am I doing it in order to make a guy I like or an ex jealous? These are all really important questions to think about. 

Well, is there smoke coming out your ears by now? I hope that I’ve given you a lot to think about, and that you take some time to consider thoughtfully what I’ve said and discuss it with your parents and your friends. Next week we’re going to wrap up our study on modesty by honing in on the issues of flirting, dress, and what the Bible says about our true worth.

Until next time, remember these things: God’s way is always the best way. Life is full of decisions, so make yours good ones. Put God first in your life, and you can’t go wrong.

Feel free to contact me: you can e-mail me at omarmiranda@earthlink.net; or you can keep up with me on Facebook; or you can read more of my stuff on Miranda Writes, at www.insightmagazine.org; or you can check me out or send me a message at my Web site, thriveatlife.org; or you can reach me via snail mail (slow!) at the address printed below.

In Christ,
Omar Miranda, certified Christian counselor
Abundant Life Ministries
155 Earl Street
Plainville, GA 30733
Phone: 1-770-354-2912


1Scripture quotations identified CEV are from the Contemporary English Version. Copyright American Bible Society 1991, 1995. Used by permission.
2Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Omar Miranda is a Christian counselor with 20 years’ experience working with youth in public and private middle and high schools. He’s married and has two kids. He enjoys teaching the youth at his church, reading, writing, gardening, and camping. He’s a recovering knucklehead who spent a lot of time in the past doing stupid stuff away from God. He’s been back with God for years now and is eager to share what he’s learned from his experiences by answering any questions you may have about life, the Christian life, Jesus, spiritual matters, and relationships in his column, Miranda Writes.





Top | Home