When you think of modesty, the first thing that probably comes to mind is clothing. Although modesty primarily refers to how one dresses, there is more to the picture than fashions and trends. Even more so, modesty doesn’t just refer to girls or even just teenagers. Married people are not exempt from the conversation, and there are no circumstances where immodesty is OK. From people to places, here are three myths about modesty that you’ve probably never thought of as being false.
1. It’s All About Dress
It’s a common misconception and rightly so, but modesty entails more than what outfits you pick out at the store. Furthermore, and more to the point, modesty is not about improper or indecent dress. Although modesty certainly includes propriety and decency, these are ideas dependent on circumstances. After all, it’s not immodest to wear jeans, although it might be considered tacky and improper to wear them to the gym to workout.
Modesty is an attitude and a way of life. It’s behavior and thought – how we act, what we think of ourselves and others, and how we speak. Modesty manifests itself in not just our appearance, but our words, our actions, and how we carry ourselves. Crude jokes, sexually explicit speech and gestures, and impure thoughts and actions all indicate immodesty. Modesty is a way of life, not just a shopping spree.
2. It’s Only For Girls
This is a myth commonly believed by both men and women, moms and dads. However, just as modesty is not just about dress, it’s not just for girls. Male clothing can also be considered immodest – from tight shirts to sagging jeans. Just because the clothing is not revealing of any one body part like is most often the case on female clothing, immodest clothing includes anything that accentuates the body through the objectification of it.
Furthermore, because modesty includes thoughts and actions, men and boys are not exempt from it. It’s more tempting for men and boys to make crude jokes and speech, particularly when talking about women. You’ve often heard about locker room talk or playful banter, but these things can be just as immodest as the often-discussed short skirts and low tops on women.
More to the point, modesty is not just for single people, and married people are not exempt. Especially in marriage, modesty in important in keeping the vow of fidelity. Infidelity doesn’t just refer to cheating on one’s spouse, but rather acting in an immodest way or dressing immodestly so as to illicit sexual responses. These responses can be thoughts or actions coming from someone other than your spouse.
3. Immodest Dress Is Ok At Certain Times
This is a popularly held belief, or rather excuse, among the physically active. The thought goes like this: “I’m not dressing like this to illicit a response; it’s too hot to wear anything but my sports bra or no shirt at all (if you’re a man); and this tight clothing is necessary for functionality. So really I’m not being immodest and it’s ok to dress like this.”
Wrong. Even if you’re intentions are not geared towards lusting or getting another to lust, you may still be contributing to this response.
“But I’m not responsible for another person’s thoughts” may be the response. This is true. A person is ultimately held responsible for his or her thoughts or actions. Furthermore, you could be dressed modestly all the time and still be the recipient of lustful thoughts. However, this doesn’t mean that everything goes. We are to dress modestly not because we’re preventing another from sinning, but because it honors God and respects ourselves and others. By showing ourselves respect by dressing accordingly, even while exercising, you are showing to others that you are deserving of respect and not those lustful thoughts or actions.