He Said, She Said #2: Modest Mouse or Men

Much is written for women on modesty, but what of the men? Following up on my wife’s post in part 1, I now look at the impact of the issue for men.

We know what modesty means for a woman, what is a man’s responsibility in all of this?

Let’s be real, a woman’s immodest dress is not the cause of a man’s sin and cannot be used to absolve his responsibility over his own eyes. As men, we cannot blame Eve, prescribe burkas, and declare the problem solved. Sin will find a way. Controlling lustful eyes is primarily the responsibility of a man.

Secondly, in as much as dressing immodestly provides an opportunity for a man to fall, so too does the single guy encourage a girl to fall into immodesty by giving his attention to provocatively dressed girls. Christian bachelors need to walk the walk, not perpetuate the problem by giving into worldly ways of thinking.

Is modesty also for men?

The Bible talks about the issue of modesty in terms of not drawing attention to oneself. It seems to me, the issue in view is not lust at all, but rather a call to humility and away from vanity. Although the primary Biblical texts directly address the issue to women, in a metrosexual world the concept may ring true to male and female.

A man should not be caught up in vanity, needing to call undue attention to his appearance. I love photos from the 30s and 40s where men wore suits, maybe even a bowler cap. Men looked classy, but uniformly so. It’s the man who shows up in a powder blue suit who may need to question.

Today, I wonder if hair and shoes are often a man’s choice medium of immodesty? It’s not uncommon to find even men in the church sporting tasseled, punk rock hair and avante garde shoes – standing out significantly from those around them. What does such a look seek to accomplish? If our clothing goes beyond looking respectable or put together it may be wise to consider whether a threshold of trendiness has been crossed where the goal might be vanity.

Of course, he shouldn’t be a slob either – causing him to stand out in the other direction. Look nice, you won’t get a job (or a wife) if you don’t. But:

Stand out in the crowd through godliness and deeds.

Even Christian women focus increasingly on looks. I wonder if a lack of men of strong character and faith has not driven the problem – leaving women nothing but the superficial to look for. I wonder if guys are increasingly hiding behind their look, hoping to passively attract rather than exhibiting true manhood and willingness to lead the charge.

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4 Responses to He Said, She Said #2: Modest Mouse or Men

  1. Grace says:

    First of all, I agree…there will always be very immodest things for men to see so ultimately they have to control their own eyes. I also agree that our world in general is so looks focused. I think it’s always been looks focused for women…but men? That does seem a little strange to me but I notice it as well.

  2. Zac Martin says:

    Rick, thanks for taking time to bring this up because I do think men need to address their hearts in modesty though I don’t know that I agree that modesty and vanity are the same issue. Song of Songs and the idea of sex from the Bible should inform modesty more as in men and women should be hiding away their bodies for their spouses or future spouse for their unique enjoyment, which again both men and women need to heed.
    However there is nothing wrong with dressing nicely and fashionably as long as it is not an idol and again wanting to draw undue attention to self.
    I think when you say things like this,

    “Today, it seems hair and shoes are a man’s choice medium of immodesty. It’s not uncommon to find even men in the church sporting tasseled, punk rock hair and avante garde shoes. What does such a look seek to accomplish? If our clothing goes beyond looking respectable or put together it may be wise to consider whether a threshold of trendiness has been crossed where the goal is vanity.”

    We have to be careful we are not placing our convictions about dress upon others. Respectable and avante garde shoes are very subjective and I think a better approach would be to ask questions rather than make assumptions. Vanity is an issue of the heart and because of that, we can’t look simply at the appearance and assume vanity is the issue.
    Men certainly need to be addressed again in modesty but I think it would be more questions about excessively tight pants, shirts that are too short or tight, or pants that are too low, again with the idea of the men being called to hide away his body for his future wife.

    Again a good discussion to get started and thanks for seeking to bless by getting men thinking about this issue.

  3. Rick says:

    Thanks Zac, good thoughts. I definitely agree about the concept of saving/protecting oneself for marriage.

    When I sat down to think about how modesty might apply, revealing clothing came to mind as an issue in the media especially, but I was questioning how often it seems to be an issue for every day men?

    Then reading 1 Timothy 2:9 and 1 Peter 3:3-4 it struck me that it was going deeper – one could not be “revealing” and still be seeking personal attention.

    I don’t think fashion is wrong. If I understand correctly, the fashion industry is a lot like modern art. People scratch their heads at first, but the real idea is the materials, colors, shapes, etc. So real fashion is about the clothing, not the person and that would be consistent with humility.

    My point and main question is – if you are standing out a lot, looking uber trendy – why? And more important than a focus on looks, is a focus on godliness – maybe modesty is a red herring?

  4. Intersting, Rick. I enjoy reading from a male/female brain. I am with Grace and Susanna, in not viewing this as merely a “bad-girl” issue. So many girls are oblivious to what they wear….and I think the church is too focused on modesty as a movement. It can suffocate and simply call out and cast out…girls who have issues that are deeper than..skin deep.

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