That awkward moment when you realize that you’ve so absorbed the world around you that you hadn’t even noticed the dichotomy in your own life. For me one such moment happened a few years ago when I realized that the horror movies I had thoroughly enjoyed watching most of my life were damaging my soul and mind. I realized that those movies were influencing the way I looked at things; I found myself more prone to objectifying others after watching a movie of that genre and that my soul felt darkened.
There are countless other ways in which our culture seeps into our lives unnoticed by us, but the one I wish to speak about today is that of immodesty, specifically summertime immodesty. In our culture, it is so ingrained for women to wear bikinis and ‘barely-there’ clothing, which it seems most Christian women don’t even bat an eye at donning a bikini at the beach or pool. And it really astounds me that so many people see it as socially acceptable, when the bikini is really nothing more than glorified underwear. Check out Jessica Rey’s discussion of it here.
I have heard many women complain that there are simply too few options out there for modest one-piece bathing suits or tankinis, which is the fault of the fashion industry to be sure, though there are options (1). But then there are those women who think that it’s not their job to be responsible for how men see them and the men should be more mature and control their thoughts. And it’s to these women that I speak now. Believe me when I say that I want to control my thoughts; I try mightily not to look at you as an object. I have a beautiful wife whom I want to be faithful to in body and mind, a beautiful little girl whom I hope can look to me as a model of masculine respect and virtue, and two amazing boys whom I hope will want to imitate my example.
But I can’t do it alone.
God created men and women to help each other, didn’t he? (2) We are meant to be our brother’s keepers, aren’t we? (3) I need your help. We need your help.
And to those women for whom Biblical arguments don’t hold much weight, I reference a blog I recently read by Kaylin Koslosky who noticed her own hypocrisy when it came to modesty and swimwear. In her post she tells of her own struggle with seeing other women in bikinis and how she found herself judging and criticizing them, which in a certain sense is still objectifying them. This fits with something I’ve learned over my short 38 years… that most men struggle with lust and most women struggle with judgment. And so I challenge those women who think it’s solely the man’s job to control his thoughts when he sees a scantily clad woman: hold yourself to the same standard. Try not to objectify the other person; it’s not so easy.
So please, help your sisters and brothers out and find something modest to wear. And gentlemen reading this, it really doesn’t matter what a woman wears or looks like or how she acts. She is made in the image and likeness of God and deserves your mightiest efforts to treat her as such. For that is a valiant cause.
As I finish typing this post we celebrate the Solemnity of the Assumption of Mary and I can’t help but think how fitting this is. The Assumption of Mary teaches us many things such that our bodies and souls are intimately united and inform us who we are. Our bodies are not just random vessels carrying the important soul, but integral to our personhood. Our bodies inform us who we are and who we’re made to be, a mysterious gift to the other. And one day, when all is finished these bodies of ours will be reunited to our souls in heaven for all eternity. This temple of your spirit and of the Holy Spirit is something to be treasured and reverenced. Just like the temple of Israel, the Holy of Holies was shrouded with a massive curtain, not because of shame or fear, but out of reverence and mystery. Should not our temples receive the same treatment, more so even because of the indwelling of the Spirit?
Check out http://www.reyswimwear.com/ for fashionable and modest swimwear for women. My wife pretty much wants to own them all.
- Gen. 2:18
- Gen 4:8-10