Last month, I addressed the question, what is modesty? Today, I want to take what we learned and expand upon it. Namely, I want to talk about why modesty is important.
The world has changed a lot in the past few decades. Immodesty has become the norm, but that does not mean that modesty isn’t relevant to today’s society. Modesty is as important as ever, and the need for it is greater than ever before. Modesty is important for several reasons, but in the end it is all about love–love for the people around you, love for God, and love for yourself.
Modesty as Love for Those Around You
So often, I hear people say, “I should be able to wear what I want, it’s not my problem if men lust after me,” or, “If what I am doing causes other women to feel poorly about themselves, that’s their problem, not mine.” And I agree with this. To a point.
Yes, we are accountable for no one but ourselves. But, it is true that our actions can have a great effect on those around us. If, by wearing revealing clothing I could help one man fall to the sin of lust, it is not worth it. If, by conducting myself in an immodest manner I can help one woman to fall to comparisons and self-inflicted pain, it is not worth it.
Through love of those around me, I choose daily the simple act of putting on a little more clothes. I cannot control what sins the people around me fall to. However, if I know of a way to help them, why would I not choose that? I think, as a society, we need to stop thinking so much about how a thing such as modesty places a burden upon ourselves. Instead, we should be turning our view outwards and thinking, how can I better love the people around me? How can I better make their burdens a little easier to bear?
Modesty as Love for God
This one is fairly simple. If you are Christian you know that modesty is something God asks of us. If you are a Christian, I feel it would also be reasonable to conclude that you love God. Probably a lot.
Sometimes, when people love you, they ask you to do things that you may or may not understand. Even when you don’t understand why they are asking, you do it anyways, don’t you? Maybe you ask for an explanation…maybe you even feel conflicted…but if you truly love that person, you do it. You do it because you trust them, and because you know that whatever it is that they are asking of you, they are asking it because they want what’s best for you.
So many times, people pick and choose which messages of God’s they want to follow. Maybe it’s because they don’t like it. Maybe it’s because they don’t understand it. But, if you believe God is who he says he is, you also have to agree that he is always right. And he always wants what is best for us. If that weren’t true, he wouldn’t be God.
Sometimes, I think it’s okay to do something simply because God said so. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek to understand why. We absolutely should. But, until we do understand, doesn’t it make sense that we should follow God’s commands–even the ones we don’t understand or agree with?
I think that modesty can fall under this category. Even if you don’t understand modesty at all, I think it’s a worthy aim simply because God asks it of us. By doing his will, even when we don’t understand, we are wordlessly showing him just how much we trust him. And just how much we love him.
Modesty as Love for Ourselves
Have you ever watched a movie, and you could tell just by looking at someone what kind of character they were going to be? Or read a book, where the author pays painful attention to describing a new character’s appearance? Examples like this show a fact that all story tellers intuitively know–appearance is an extraordinarily important part of character development.
As humans, we get a lot of visual cues from the world around us. There’s a reason why people tend to judge each other off of looks alone–it’s part of our nature. In real life, things aren’t quite as black and white as they are in the movies. Most people know they shouldn’t judge others off of looks. The tendency remains, however.
This tendency can be a powerful tool. Fashion is a way in which we can reflect our inner selves to the world around us. By dressing modestly, we draw attention away from our bodies, and towards our true selves.
You are wonderful. You have more dignity, more worth than you realize. You are more than just a body. You are a human person in a body. Don’t you want your fashion choices to represent that fact?
Modesty is important not because our bodies are shameful, but because they are very, very good. They are worthy of being veiled in mystery. They are worthy of being saved for the right person–not given away to anyone who passes. We should dress modestly because we recognize the fact that we are worthy of being loved, and because we love ourselves.
Modest dress is important in today’s world. In a world where people are constantly sharing too much–giving away little pieces of themselves to this person or that–modesty is a shroud of mystery. It is grace, beauty, and humility. It is love.
What do you guys think about why modesty is important? Help me get this conversation started!
I highly recommend reading “Why Modesty Should Be Important to All Women (Not Just Religious Women)“–a great post on this topic by the wonderful Liz of Downtown Demure. It’s a great read and explores further the topic of why modesty is so very vital!