Editor’s note: This article is a first. Up to this point, CFYC has only ever featured ladies’ writing, but this post helps to give us, as women, a perspective that we need to hear. This is the first of a two part series from Anthony’s blog. We will not be featuring the second part (as it’s addressed to men), but you can check it out here.
Now let’s think about the Christian woman. Let’s go through the exact same scenario. A Christian woman walks into a grocery store wearing clothes that are too tight and a little too low. No, she is not wearing supper high shorts or even a spaghetti strap tank-top, just clothing that is too tight and starting to show the slightest amount of cleavage. What happens? As soon as she walks by, the men will turn around and watch her walk away. The men might talk to each other about the sight that they just saw. In this situation, one party is happy, the men are thrilled. However, if the Christian woman notices that men have been looking at her and teasing each other about her, she feels violated. She tells herself that men are just disgusting animals (which I would not disagree with). She thinks to herself, “What is wrong with them? I am not wearing a spaghetti strap tank-top or even shorts or a skirt that would be showing off my legs!” Unfortunately, it is my observation that many good intentioned Christian women are for whatever reason, ignorant about this topic.
Now I want all of my Christian sisters to know that it is not my intention to use this term “Ignorant” in a demeaning way. In fact, my next post will be aimed to the fathers and husbands of the Christian women and my tone will not be as kind. You are all my sisters in Christ, and this post is not meant to upset anyone but rather to encourage and give you the perspective of a Christian brother.
Jesus says, “but I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” Matthew 5:28. Paul makes it very clear in 1 Corinthians 8 that we should not cause a brother to stumble. He says in verse 13, “…if food causes my brother to stumble, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause my brother to stumble.” Sisters, if a Christian brother can commit adultery in his heart with you just by looking at you and if you cause it by dressing in a way that a man will see as sexually appealing, are you not causing him to stumble? Paul was concerned about eating meat, do you not think that causing one to commit adultery is even more serious?
I have heard the argument, “They shouldn’t be looking at me in that way!” This is very true, and if the brother is one that is righteous and follows the ways of God, he will not be looking at you in that way. However, why put that temptation before him?
Here is the dilemma that I see from talking to my wife and other sisters in Christ: Women often do not know what is ok, and what is too suggestive. Sure, you all know that certain things such as bikinis and shorts that almost expose the ladies underwear is not acceptable. However, there are some articles of clothing that women are indeed surprised to find are suggestive. Do you realize that to a man, clothes that don’t show any skin yet are tight, can show a man exactly what you look like under those clothes (and yes, they think about it). So how do you get around this? ASK! Wives, ask your husbands. Young girls, ask your father or brothers.
A sister in Christ that went to school with me at Bear Valley did something while we were all freshmen that has left me impressed until this day. The sister that I speak of was one that was not raised in the church, yet after being baptized had a passion for serving the Lord. While she was here, she determined in her heart that she would never cause a brother to stumble. So what did she do? She went to the mall and took pictures of ladies dressed in different attire (it was not attire that was obviously raunchy, yet attire that many women in the church might wear). She then proceeded to ask her husband, and all of the single guys what they thought of each bit of clothing. She asked us to be honest, and we were. She was shocked to find that clothes that are totally accepted by the world and even Christian women are often times looked upon as sexually suggestive to men. She took notes for every picture she had and then had a woman’s class and shared with all the women (married and single) what the men thought of each picture. It was a huge blessing to see the change that took place, even at a Preachers School!
I believe that this sister did a great deal of good for the kingdom that day. I pray that more good intentioned sisters in the church follow her lead. I realize that men can be irritating. We are very sexually driven people, yet I pray that each one of you can be honest with yourself and ask the questions like: “Is this shirt to tight? Am I showing a bit too much skin? Do these pants hug my body and show it off too much?” If you ask these questions, you will indeed be helping your brothers in Christ out!
One last word (and I will be hammering this in my next post to the men). This whole idea of encouraging my sisters in Christ to dress in a modest way is not just to protect the eyes of men, but also to protect my sisters! This world has turned into one that uses women and their bodies to do so many terrible things. This should not be the case and I, along with my brothers in Christ, should fight to make sure that the church family is a place that our women are safe!
By Anthony Warnes
Anthony and his wife, Andria, worship at the Miller Street church of Christ in Wheat Ridge, CO. They have been there for almost three years. He is the full-time preacher of the congregation. Andria is a stay-at-home mom to their daughter (Brooke) who is nine months old. They’re expecting a baby boy in June.