A Dad's Perspective: Why I Tell My Daughters to Dress Modestly
By now, I'm sure a few of you have read Rachel Held Evans' piece on modesty that was published on Q Ideas last month (and the countless articles about the topic on this site and across the Christian blogosphere).
Obviously, I'm not a woman and can't comment from that perspective; neither have I been subjected to the conservative social restrictions around modest dress, nor to sexual harassment or exploitation – thank God. So my opinions on this matter must be read with a mountainous chunk of salt. But I am the husband of a woman and the father of three sooner-than-I-would-like-it-to-be women. And, I'm a fellow human being, and I think that counts for something.
From my perspective, I'm going to encourage my daughters to dress appropriately because modesty is the loving prerogative of the mature.
Now, I actually agree that modesty is not solely an issue of sexuality, and approaching modesty in that light inadvertently forces sexuality to be a bigger part of our consciousness than it needs to be. For me, though, the real foundation behind modest dress comes from Paul's words in Romans 14 about weaker believers. He says it far better than I ever could:
Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. One person's faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. Who are you to judge someone else's servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean. If your brother or sister is distressed because of what you eat, you are no longer acting in love. Do not by your eating destroy someone for whom Christ died.
Therefore do not let what you know is good be spoken of as evil. For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, because anyone who serves Christ in this way is pleasing to God and receives human approval.
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.
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