The Responsibility of Modesty (Part Two)
By Shannon Moeller, a strong Christian young man from Illinois. Originally submitted as a text response to TheRebelution.com’s Modesty Survey.
Deuteronomy 22:8 says, “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.” My sister has often heard from other girls, “It seems the whole point to this modesty thing is to try and hide the fact that I’m female. If I do that, how will a guy ever notice me?”
In my opinion, modesty is no more about hiding the fact that a woman is a woman than having a parapet around a roof is about hiding the fact that the roof is a roof. The primary purpose of the parapet is so that no one falls off the roof and dies, bringing guilt upon the homeowner. One primary purpose of modesty is to prevent men from “falling” on account of a woman’s unguarded body.
“But won’t certain men lust no matter what?”
Yes, just like certain men will jump off a roof, despite the parapet. If a man wants to jump, you should do what you can to stop him. But, if he forces his way past and jumps anyway, the guilt is on his head, not yours. The parapet is there to keep men that don’t want to jump from falling. It’s the same with modesty.
“But how do I know what’s modest and what’s not?”
This question can be likened to asking: “How tall does the wall around my roof need to be?” Some people judge this choice by asking, “How low can I make the wall and still fulfill the requirements?” While others ask the better question, “How tall should the wall be so that it will protect those on the roof?”
The “how-low” group might build a 12-inch railing or a fence with four-foot gaps between the posts. Technically speaking, the roof has a parapet either way. The problem is that these railings might actually do more to cause someone to fall off the roof than if there was no wall at all. There is no safety.
The “how-tall” group of people might build a nine-foot-tall, solid-brick wall ensuring that even Goliath would have a hard time forcing himself over the railing. This would certainly fulfill the requirements, but it’s obviously overkill. Instead of a roof with a parapet, you’ve got a two-story house with no roof at all.
Conclusion: In Modesty, You Are Protected
You don’t have to hide the fact that your house has a roof or that you are a woman. You don’t have to build a nine-foot wall or wear a gigantic paper bag over your body. But you do have to do what you can to protect the lives of your guests and the purity of your brothers (the Modesty Survey should be a great help with that).
In this, you are protected. If someone falls, the guilt is not on your head. You show love and honor to your God, your father, your husband, your children, others around you, and yourself. Your modesty shines. Even if a guy doesn’t know what it is exactly, he will notice you and that there’s something different about you. That’s the right kind of attention.
Additional Modesty Resources
- The Modesty Survey Petition: A list of seven encouragements from Christian guys to the girls reading the survey results.
- The Soul of Modesty: C.J. Mahaney’s heart-focused, grace-filled, gospel-centered audio message on the topic of modesty. Made specially available for free download by Sovereign Grace Ministries.
- The Responsibility of Modesty (Part 1): Excerpted from the survey results, a 20-year-old Christian man shares a powerful summation of men’s responsibility in this area.
- The Purpose of Clothing: John Piper explains both the negative and positive messages God communicated by clothing Adam and Eve after they fell into sin.
- Free To Be Modest: Nancy Leigh DeMoss explains how living under the Ownership and Lordship of Jesus Christ, frees us to be modest.