Pastor, First Baptist Church in Hope
Let’s have a talk about dress code ethics. Last week Laura and I were in Chicago. As a guy, I was constantly having to look away as we walked down the sidewalk. I’m not talking about the scenes we saw on billboards. I’m talking about the real, live people who chose to come out of their house with too few clothes on. I feel old writing these words, but honestly, I believe they are very true. What is the most important thing you think about when you get dressed in the morning? “Do I look good? Are these clothes in style? Will I stand out wearing this, in a good or bad way; will I attract attention?” If you are a single guy (hopefully, we don’t need to have this conversation with married people), “Will this get girls to notice me?” And in reverse if you are a girl?
I believe these are the top questions that are being asked each morning. If not, prove me wrong. There must be another way. How horrible must it be to try and think about all the comments that could possibly be made before you ever walk in your closet? But that must be what drives fashion. What else would lead people to wear some of the things they leave the house with?
Here’s what I mean. When you dress to attract attention, you probably will go outside the ethical lines to accomplish your goal. If your goal is to stay up with the latest trends, it won’t be too big of a deal to bend the rules a little. There’s nothing wrong with looking good, as long as we can agree on the definition of good. What if there is another goal to accomplish in the way we dress? What if we dress to protect our bodies instead of display them? What if modesty and integrity drove our choices instead of hormones and style? Can we have a conversation here or will you write this off as old-fashioned?
What are you teaching your kids if you let them decide the boundaries of their dress code? “Everyone is wearing this,” shouldn’t have any bearing at all on the clothes you buy. “This is the style,” means nothing if it’s not something that honors your child’s body. Homecoming is coming up quickly. Why in the world would you let your daughter leave the house wearing so few clothes? Do you really want her to be the girl that every guy at the dance watches? You say, “it’s just honest fun.” It is not fun at all. A pure heart will not dress like that. A mind seeking Christ won’t want to be that kind of temptation to others. it’s not fun, it’s sad.
I expect kids to want to dress like the world. I expect people who don’t know Jesus to want to dress to attract attention. But Jesus-people have different goals. It’s our responsibility to model those for our kids and anyone else who wants to know why we dress differently. Cover your body. It matters.
God designed most of us to be married. A few are called to lifetime singleness, but most of us will live out our days within the bounds of being a husband or wife. One of the greatest gifts God prepares for our spouse is our body. It is a treasure! When we guard our bodies, we are able to give our spouses an unopened gift; a gift for their eyes only. I realize that it is a rare thing to offer the gift of a pure body to our spouse. Is our body ruined if we give it to others before marriage?
By no means! One of the most beautiful gifts Jesus gives is the redemption of our bodies. His grace has the ability to restore the treasures the enemy has stolen. His grace is strong, full and complete. But it doesn’t happen overnight, and it requires obedience on our part. A new heart always wants to walk in a new way.
My thoughts here are simple. Cover your body and the bodies of your children. Cover yourself for your spouse, and because God made your body for His glory, not your own.