Every Man a Judge

10:32 AM

A little Sew & Vac hides rather shabbily on Main Steet. An interesting character presides there, sometimes in, sometimes not, his sewing machines not very reliable, his impatience rather legendary. My mother, who always dresses very motherly and conservatively, hopped in on vacuum business - so I think. She brought home nothing except a very strange question: "Are you Mormon?"

We girls dress in skirts almost exclusively, for various reasons. Our boys keep their pants up. That twelve-passenger van of ours is starting to get crowded. We are, for the most part, rather shy and quiet and mannerly, so a religion of some sort had to be working underneath it all. We consider modest dress and behavior a testimony to Christ; we love children because we believe they're blessings from God. We hope to spread both messages through creed and action.

But Mormons? Well, er, not exactly the testimony we wanted to give.

Sometimes we convicted Christians forget that outward appearance - including such good Christian values as modesty, cleanliness and cheerfulness - only goes so far. It is not the Gospel. Bible-believing, born-again Christians can be mistaken for cultists; cultists can be mistaken for Bible-believing, born-again Chrisitans...if we stop at mere outward appearance. Repeat: That is not the Gospel.

The Gospel of grace can be applied to the most immodest, wordly person out there. Anyone can zip their sweater to their chin and pull their cuffs to their fingertips.

I know I struggle with making appearances everything, with thinking that if I smile and am sweet and wear pretty, feminine dresses, I am being a testimony to Christ. I am. Modesty and femininity are godly, Christ-like attitudes to cultivate and express in clothing and manner. But I can't stop there. I must speak the Gospel, live the Gospel, match my heart to what my clothes preach.

There are people going to heaven who wear ripped jeans and tank tops. And those people dressed in long sleeves and jumpers may not. Double repeat: Outward appearances are not the Gospel.

What, then? Do we give up dressing modestly because it only goes so far? Do we, as one Christian lady encouraged, not wear skirts exclusively lest we be thought cultists (or fuddie duddies)? No, of course not. We must continue to make purity statements, modesty statements and encourage brothers and sisters in the Lord to dress for Jesus. That does not give us the right to determine who is "in" and who is "out" based on their dress.

And a word of warning to us who preach partial amnesty on this issue: Are we too liberal? I don't believe I've ever found anyone who floated their boat down the middle of this issue. We point fingers too at "weaker" siblings in Christ and pray for their "deliverance." I speak, primarily, to me.

Immodesty is not evidence of "freedom in Christ" nor is it necessarily an indication of heresy, either. Modesty is not necessarily an indication of a "captive for Christ" nor is it a prude alert.

A little grace, please. And a little more judgment of our own outward appearance.

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6 impressions

  1. I still think the strangest question was when we were asked if we were Greek. That was plain weird. :D

    *hugs* I agree with you (why wouldn't I?? After all you were my role model when I was younger -- and you're up there with ladies I feel comfortable talking to) ;)


  2. Dear Maiden for Jesus,

    Thank you for posting this. Perhaps the principles given in Romans, chapter 14, will help christians who disagree on certain matters of life-style. I do believe, however, that what we wear also reflects our attitude toward authority. I prefer to wear skirts and dresses because it reveals how I feel about being a woman. God wants even my clothing to demonstrate the joy of modesty and femininity and gladly accepting the position He has given me. Our clothing should say, "I LOVE being a woman, and I am in submission to His will for my life." On the other hand, I pray this will not be a divisive thing between other Christians. I have many godly women friends who wear slacks more often than skirts. So, as you stated in your post, godliness or regeneration is not determined simply by what one wears. May we be aware that a critical attitude and spirit about this would be very sinful and grievous to our gracious Lord and Savior.

    Loving you always,
    Mrs. Reinke

  3. Agreed.
    I don't wear dresses everyday, like you, but I try to be modest in spite. I agree with you whole-heartedly. Don't you ever wish you could walk up to those half....ah-hem-those ones who aren't dressed modestly and tell them to cover up a little? I wonder if that would be considered rude. You would have to be kind and loving how you say it, but I think even if you don't say it, how YOU dress is a good example to them.

    Very well said, Bailey. I admire you for your knowledge and convictions.

    BTW, I love your new picture!

  4. Forgot the Greek incident. Super sweet lady, nonetheless. (You sound all buttery with that you're-up-there-with-the-ladies comment. ;o)) *HUG*

    You once told me, Mrs. Reinke, "Wearing skirts is my personal statement against feminism." Love, love, love it. :o) You're so right, as usual, and I think the important thing in this issue is the heart...as I'll expound tomorrow. (Yes, everybody groan...one more post on this topic coming. I was on a rant.) Thanks for praying for me last week. ((hugs))

    KT! I don't really know what I would do with an immodest girl. I mainly feel sorry for her, that she (1) either has people who care for her and ignores their advice or (2) has nobody to care for her and thus attracts (bad) attention by dressing immodestly. So many girls today just don't know. So you're right - positive peer pressure is key. (As an aside note, I think it's rude to walk up to somebody and comment on their immodest dress, unless I know them well or it's really severe...or I'm a sweet old lady who can't appear anything but innocent. ;o)) Love ya!

    BTW, my dear Watsons, the mystery picture in "Deceit and Appearances" is a photo of a speaker. Yes. Really.

  5. I also enjoy wearing dresses and skirts for primarily two reasons: modesty and feminity. The Bible doesn't explicitly state "dresses only", but it most certainly addresses issues of modest dress and embracing our femininity (God created male AND female and it was very good). Has anyone noticed how much the unisex look has taken over: both genders wear jeans, sweatshirts, long or short hair, etc.

  6. I think that jeans and sweatshirts style is the "college look." ;o)


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