Bye Felicia: 5 Myths About Modesty (For Men)

My man is now the owner of a modern-fit suit also known as the male version of the yoga pant. We went shopping recently and after trying many on, he decided on The One. The suit which will henceforth be referred to as a/the MYP (Male Yoga Pant).

How am I supposed to focus on the Spirit when he is wearing this? 
It was actually 3 years ago today that I posted a quote from THIS blog post. The comments on it (my post) were rather intriguing. I've found that the topic of modestly has the ability to bring out the angriest emotion in anyone. There's no middle ground really. 

Because of that, and because this is my space, I will therefore share my thoughts and a rebuttal of sorts despite being 4 years late to the conversation. 

This all came up because I couldn't control my thoughts with David in his MYP. Therefore I've decided to share some modesty myths, the male version.  

#1 Myth of Modesty: It's her job not to look

Men, you are responsible for the pants you put on, therefore you are responsible for the way we as women respond to said pants. The amount of lust I have is directly related to how much of your body is available to lust after. The less you advertise, the less opportunity you give me to covet your body. 

Any time I attend church, I am bombarded with impure thoughts because all of the men are wearing suit pants. Some of you are even wearing skinny ties and 2-button suit jacket. How am I supposed to be able to resist that? And then sometimes there are even cuff links. It's too much guys. 

Not one single man wears carpenter jeans which are pretty much the only acceptable form of bottoms a man can wear and be modest. I mean, when you sit down guys, I can't help but take notice of what's happening in your pants.  And when you're teaching Sunday School and that soft, often thin fabric sits close against your skin, how am I supposed to not think about that huge...tin of breath mints in your pocket? 

It is not just our job not to look: it is your responsibility to provide nothing provocative to look at. You cannot blame women for what you instigate, and it is time for men of God to start acknowledging your responsibility in this matter, taking up your cross, and honoring God with your dress.

Stick with your 90's suits guys. They are more appropriate and more aligned with church standards than today's fitted suits. 

#2 Myth of Modesty: Setting Standards Is Legalistic

I don't want you men to email me and tell me that you wore a suit one Sunday and it was NBD. I realize that it is not my job to write your personal standards of modesty. But since we are on the topic of MYPs, let me share some things my friend commented to me when I was writing this post:
“MYPs make it difficult to focus on the spirit when the boys are right there and the pants are so tight, it’s basically like the guy is naked. A friend of mine even said when a man wears a MYP … it shows all the form and features while covering up flaws, like imperfections of the skin or a possible lack of abs. They are designed to be appealing.”
Additionally, a young woman in a female group I once taught upheld this view. She told us it was tough for her to attend church activities where there are guys wearing suits, setting up tables right beside her. It was a struggle not to lust after them. She would have to make herself leave the vicinity to do her own setting up with the still-present threat of remembering their image and stumbling later on. Yet another friend told me that it pained and concerned her that her boyfriend would go to the church in his suit to work with the Primary President, but she didn’t feel she could ask him to stop without being perceived as controlling.

What is the real issue here? Is it what not to wear? In our hearts we know it isn’t. It’s a standard of behavior, not a standard of dress, that is ultimately missing from your lives when you fail to be modest.
Mark 1:6
And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey;
Because John was an apostle and in the scriptures we should follow his example. John wants men to dress with ‘camel hair and a girdle of skin about his loins…' as appropriate for men who profess to worship God (like him). This high calling to be a man like unto John (who is an apostle) is to be your standard of behavior, which directly influences your standard of dress. It calls you to be different from the trends, the culture, and the leanings of the modern church. It calls you to align your spiritual life with your outward life in all things, willing to make personal sacrifices in order to do so.
Setting standards is not legalistic. Saying that modesty is required in order to be saved is legalistic, and regulating others rather than looking into your own hearts is legalistic. Many men spend a lot more time telling the women of the church to quit looking and the other men in the church to quit dressing the way they do, and they never evaluate their own closets.

#3 Myth of Modesty: Women don't care what I wear

We do care. We care deeply. 

On a simple level, we like pretty things. We notice when you get an undercut or sport a pompadour. We like when you wear your chucks and cuffed jeans. We like nice things and we like when you wear them. 

Because of this, you have a great power. You have the power to draw our eyes toward you for one of two reasons:

  1. For the appeal of our desire based on revealing enough of your bodies to entice us; or
  2. To appear attractive in personality as reflected in how you dress.

This leads me to my next point.

#4 Myth of Modesty: Lust is HER Problem

Lust is a rampant problem in the church and in our culture. Most often lust is addressed with men, but it is also a major issue in the lives of women. It simply looks different for women than it does for men. For women, it looks like a man in a suit. 

Lust is a desire for that which is not ours to have: the body of a person who does not belong to us. When a woman ogles a man’s chest, legs, or derriere, she is focusing on the parts of him that are not hers, and yet she takes them visually and mentally, cheapening the man and demeaning herself. That is not appreciation: that is lust.

When you give into your desire to for a woman’s attention, at the expense of her endeavor to honor God, you are giving in to the lust of your flesh and encouraging the lust of her eyes. 

#5 Myth of Modesty: Modesty is Just Something I Do 

“The more you cover up the more [a Christian woman] will want you. Women like some mystery, and when you reveal that mystery walking down the aisle in church, there is no reason for them to pursue you. They’ve already gotten their reward.” – My anonymous friend

Do you like to reward women with a glimpse of your body? Cause you aren't hiding much when you wear that modern suit, especially with a skinny tie. We can see all that ab.

Your choice in what you wear to church is a clear reflection of your openness to allowing God and his word affect your life. It's a bold statement. But it's true.

When you stubbornly resist the call to cover up and wear your 90's minimalist suit, you reveal hearts that have misplaced priorities. You reveal your desire to be trendy over your desire to obey. 

Modesty affects us.  It affects us greatly. It affects how you are perceived, how you are respected, how you advance in your careers, and even whether you will hear the word yes to a request for a date or a marriage proposal. 

When you dress in a way that causes a woman to lust, you create an unnecessary war against her soul.
Think about that for a moment.
Dressing in the way God commands – with modesty, propriety, and decency – protects the women around you from waging a needless war in their souls. When you REFUSE to accept your responsibility to protect your sisters – our brother's wives and and daughters – from lust, you are creating a war and inciting unrest in the church.
Yes, it is the responsibility of us women to turn our eyes away. So entrust us to the Lord and let Him deal with our responsibilities while you concern yourselves with your own.  I am asking you to join forces with the men around you in this endeavor. 
I want to trust myself around you and I want you to trust your wives and girlfriends around my husband

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