Monday, July 17, 2017
The Cover Up
Like that? Nice spooky sounding title - sounds like some conspiracy theory post about towers and bombs and planes..... nevermind. I wont get going on that, or there's no knowing where I'll stop.
It honestly may be a little overkill of a name, but it's kinda on topic. I'm gonna tackle that great big monkey/elephant/gorilla (whichever you prefer) in the room that no-one likes to touch for fear of the sounds it makes.
I'm gonna talk about modesty.
See what I did there? Cover up.... modesty....
Anyway, moving on.
So this topic came whirling around.... again... recently. These internet topics come in waves it seems.
Someone put up a post on how girls shouldn't worry as much about what they wear as some people think, because, after all, you cant stop what someone else is thinking - you cant 'cause someone to sin' by what you are wearing. Satirical articles came out about women lusting after men in their suits. It got laughs, and did the rounds.
And so, here I am. Here to disagree and be different. Again. Both guns blazing, taking on the internet.
I wish to preface what I am about to say by saying something.
(That sounded Bernie Sanders-ish didn't it?)
The main point of the majority of the modesty posts flying around is that girls cannot cause guys to sin.
I WISH TO STATE LOUD AND CLEAR THAT I WHOLEHEARTEDLY AGREE WITH THAT. What goes on in a guy's head is his own problem. Literally.
That clear enough?
So, let's outline a few things, just for perimeters.
Why modesty? Why shouldn't guys see everything they want?
Mostly because God says the only womanly body a guy should see, and focus on, and enjoy visually is his wife's. Simple premise, hard to enforce.
Now, I'm not here to start talking inches and proof texts on exactly what and how women should wear. Those lines don't exist. I am here to give you a deep look into the inside of your average, red-blooded, straight guy - The only people I believe that are actually qualified to talk about what actually goes on inside a real guy's mind.
To the average Christian man, not looking at girls is part of the daily routine. It's just as much of a part of our daily struggle to walk the straight and narrow as the rest of our call, especially in this overly sexualized world.
Now, I can already see it. There are already people lining up to protest about that statement, something to the tune of 'you can't lump all of us together, we are not all the same, blah blah blah.
True - not all guys are the same. But all guys, are still guys.
Girls, unless you have had a good talking to by a very honest guy, like a Dad or a solid Christian brother, you have literally no idea how guys work. I know girls say us guys have no idea about girls, and I'm saying that is a two way street.
Everybody tries to make the case that not all guys are turned on by the same thing - some guys are butt guys, some guys are boob guys, some guys are who knows what else. But Every. Single. Guy. Out. There. is, or can be, extremely easily turned on visually.
I had to learn what got a girl turned on after I got married, and I was surprised how different guys and girls are when it comes to getting turned on. Guys tend to be turned on visually, girls tend to be turned on by touch.
Guys love to see boobs, butts - the whole enchilada, as long and as often as we can. And there is literally nothing we can do about that desire. Dads don't have to sit their thirteen-year-olds down and give them a talk on what to like to look at. To the best of my knowledge, that conversation has never happened. Guys are automatically drawn to look at girls bodies. Period. Blame that on hormones and God I guess. Seeing girls' bodies gets us turned on, and gets our bodies asking for more.
But before I go any further, I need to stop again.
Just because that is our first instinct, does not mean guys are justified morally by following that instinct. Some of you out there just thought I said that guys can't help themselves - let them look and lust while they can.
NO. Way. Hose-A. They are 100% not justified.
But therein lies the battle.
Girls, let me line up a small story for you - it might be a bit graphic, but lets see if this helps get the story across.
Every day, Jimmy gets up for work, puts on his jeans and t-shirt, climbs in his car, and drives to work. He sees a scantily dressed woman on a billboard. He passes a gym and sees a fit young lady in a sports bra and tight shorts going in. He passes a hair salon with a provocative picture of a model on the window. Business woman is walking down the sidewalk with a rather low neck-line. He arrives at work, and passes one of his co-workers that tends to wear short skirts. He sits down at his computer, and 50% of the advertisements on every webpage have more skin showing in various flavors, all day long.
The average Christian guy, on some level, has to apply some level of effort in every one of those cases to not let his eyes override his God-given command to not look, and keep his eyes on the straight and true and not let them wander.
Now I know to many girls out there, this might worry you - if not freak you out a little bit. The thought that a guy can be that interested in girls and sex can seem daunting, and gross. I know of girls that have balked when they first heard about how guys' minds work. But honestly, its a good thing, when used in the right way. God designed men to work that way to enjoy their wives, and it is only a bad thing when used improperly, and he starts visually enjoying the other women he sees day to day.
Used rightly, however, its amazing. It means that when the day is over, the kids are in bed, and the fun begins, its wonderful. It's amazing. It's mind-blowing. And that's the way God made it to be. But only used in the right way. Fires are great in a fireplace - it keeps the house warm. But fires that burn out of control destroy the house.
So, that being said, I need to deal with the spiritual side of the matter. The entire reason we are talking about modesty in the first place. God commands us guys to not give in to that visceral head-turn reaction. He tells us guys to enjoy the wife of our youth, and not let out our fountains into the streets. We are told to keep that fire in our fireplace, and keep it good and hot. But if we take that fire out of the fireplace, we risk burning the whole house down around our ears. Or what's left of them.
Guys have to train themselves to not look at every boob and butt that passes by. That is his fight as a guy, and if he messes up - guess what - it's his own fault. That is a God given order that as a guy, you and you alone must fight, no excuses. You can't blame the girls around you for what you do in the private space of your mind.
All those hormones, all those urges, you have to keep them reigned in, and saved for your wife, either in the future for you unmarried guys, or when you get home for you married ones. And just like physical training - the longer you do it, the easier it gets. No guys is perfect, no guy is bullet proof, but the Holy Spirit, and time, and persistence does wonders. The higher a standard you set for what you will refuse to look at, the more you will enjoy your wife down the road. It takes training - it takes trial and a lot of error. I've fallen and let my gaze linger much longer than I should've - but by Gods grace, and God's grace only, I am nowhere near where I used to be.
SO. That being said. Girls, this message is for you.
No, you don't cause us to sin. At all. Period. Nothing you could ever do could cause us to sin in an exact 1 to 1 cause and effect ratio.
But any help you can give us is appreciated.
So there is no judging you girls here on my part - you can wear whatever you feel God is comfortable with you wearing, and that is for you to decide. But for the love of your Christian brother, help us out.
A recent article from To Love Honor and Vacuum stated several times the verse talking about not causing a brother to stumble obviously doesn't apply to modesty, how it only refers to actually making someone sin, etc.
Girls, in all honesty, modesty couldn't fit the topic of that verse better.
Some guys have trained themselves to be able to have a steel spine and not have any other eyes but for his wife - but the majority of guys have to apply some level of conscious effort to not look.
Girls, you are not responsible, but if you knew that if what you were wearing was causing a guy to struggle (notice I did not say sin) wouldn't you want to help your brother out? Isn't it a case of just loving your neighbor as yourself?
No, there are no lines of exactly how short is too short, how much is too much. Girls, we can't make lines like that because they are not in Scripture. But this is a plea, from every average Christian guy out there who wants to honor the Lord, wants to keep his eyes for his wife - when you put something on, just remember we are out here. Our flesh wants to look and our spirit doesn't, and any war we don't have to fight is a relief.
Some articles I read say that by saying that you can cause a brother to stumble, it objectifies women and makes them into sex objects, and not people. Nothing could be further from the truth. Honestly, that argument comes from a heart of not wanting to accept that what you wear, can affect others. We live in a world that selfishly doesn't want to think of others, and wants to do what we want to do, devoid of any and all consequences. Saying that guys struggle visually does not objectify women. Period. Who even thought of that anyway? In fact, it's exactly the opposite. A guy who just lets his mind and eyes wander....ogling every girl that walks by - that is objectifying women. Admitting the struggle, and asking women to help us is not objectifying.
A satirical article was posted making fun of the visual problems men have, about how men's suits caused women to stumble and lust. This is honestly ridiculous, and spits in the face of every man out there trying to fight the good fight. Women aren't visually turned-on, and making a laugh out of it laughs at the struggles of honest Christian men. Is that loving a brother? Is that helping him out in his time of need? Or does it rather make him feel like a pervert for struggling with something that God gave him, and is trying to use properly.
There was a time I gave my shirt to my sister-in-law one day when we were playing in a river, because her wet shirt was a smidge too see-through for my comfort. I didn't judge her, I wasn't objectifying her by struggling to not look - I wanted to honor my wife and my God, and constantly fighting my eyes was making so I was having a hard time enjoying time with my family and friends. Thankfully she understood where I was at, wore my shirt, and I was able to fully enjoy the rest of our day at the river. She didn't have to do that - her shirt wasn't 'causing' me to sin. But it made my life a lot easier.
Girls, we aren't judging you. We know all the struggles you have trying to be modest and classy and attractive all at the same time. We get you.
But any help is appreciated.