Modesty – It’s For Boys Too
“Make no mistake: God is not mocked, for a person will reap only what he sows, because the one who sows for his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows for the spirit will reap eternal life from the spirit.” (Galatians 6:7-8)
Saint Paul tells us in his Letter to the Galatians that we are responsible for own actions; we reap what we sow. This is most often forgotten when it comes to modesty. We commonly err in the belief that modesty only applies to how girls look and act and that modesty is to protect men and boys from lusting. However, modesty encompasses much more than girls’ dress to include thoughts and actions and even the dress of boys.
Modesty Isn’t Just About Preventing Lust
We are called to love our neighbor as ourselves, and love means willing the good of another. This includes preventing and leading others away from sin, not being the cause of temptation. Modesty certainly includes this aspect – not being a temptation nor causing others to lust. However, as Saint Paul tells us, we are still responsible for our own thoughts and actions. We are to remove temptations from our paths, certainly, but as we live in this world, we will always have temptations among us.
Women cannot bear the full responsibility of removing lust from the world. Furthermore, just as women can cause lust, so too can men. In fact, immodest dress is more than just revealing clothing. Clothing that causes the objectification of anybody, regardless of gender, can be considered immodest dress. Furthermore, the lack of clothing is also immodest and can be seen on both men and women – just walk by an Abercrombie and Fitch store. On the one hand, immodest dress causes the temptation of lust, but on the other hand, we are still ultimately responsible for our thoughts and actions and must act accordingly by either removing ourselves from the immodest situation or being modest ourselves.
It’s In The Heart
Through speech and actions, men can be immodest. Really, it’s quite common to assume that boys and men make more crude jokes and sexually explicit speech than women. Impure thoughts and actions have just as much to do with immodesty as dress. To be modest means to respect ourselves and respect others – to love other as God loves us. If we objectify others, whether men or women, through our speech and actions, then we are acting immodestly. This is a particularly difficult thing for men – just think of locker room talk. However, if we are to live modest lives, then our thoughts and actions must also match our modest dress. Our hearts must also be in accordance with modesty:
“But the Lord said to Samuel: Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. God does not see as a mortal, who sees the appearance. The LORD looks into the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)
Although modesty is most often attributed to how women must dress and act, men are just as much called to the virtue as women. Through speech, behavior, and appearance, boys can be immodest. Especially in today’s society where the male and female bodies are objectified through advertisements, movies, and TV, it’s more important than ever that both boys and girls live modest lives. For we must treat our bodies as gifts from God and temples of the Holy Spirit:
“Do you not know that your body is a temple* of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)