Posted in Anna Wood, Christianity

A Sense of Shame

Having a sense of shame used to be considered a good thing. It kept you from making a fool out of yourself by doing things you oughtn’t, it kept you walking the straight and narrow (at least outwardly where folks could see), it kept our talk fairly decent and our women covered. We used to be more or less governed by this and consequently most of us didn’t go around openly doing things that would bring us shame in the eyes of others.

Was this a good thing? Or, a bad thing? Both, I guess. The more important thing, for a person’s soul at least, is that he is governed inwardly by a burning desire to be pleasing to the Lord in all that he does. If a man is so governed, he has no fear of man, no compunction to please man when, by doing so, he might be displeasing to the Lord. As a society, however, having a sense of shame kept us coloring between the lines.

Where is our sense of shame? Our understanding that not all needs to be put on public display?

I know the answers, of course. I’ve studied our nations fall into immodesty and intellectually I comprehend it. Spiritually, however, I don’t. How is it that women who go to church, who profess Christ, can feel comfortable flaunting their nearly naked bodies in public (and sometimes, to some degree, in worship service) and have no shame?

Is it not embarrassing for a young lady to shed her clothing and stand nearly naked in public in a string bikini? If she went to a doctor and was asked to undress down to her underwear and not cover up with a sheet she would be incensed and, yet, this same girl can strip down even further and, because she is “covered’ by two tiny pieces of cloth that she calls a swimsuit (rather than two somewhat larger pieces of cloth that used to be referred to as unmentionables) she is alright about her nakedness.

Or this same girl (or a different one…there are lots of them who do this after all) can put on tiny, tiny shorts with a tiny, tiny blouse and head off shopping and she’s comfortable with the fact that everyone who sees her sees nearly all of her. She’s gets angry though if some guy that she doesn’t know starts leering at her or makes undue suggestions.

Let’s get real, girls: you’ve undressed for all to see, you’ve shown guys you don’t know areas of your body that ought to remain private (and what you haven’t shown, he can clearly make out due to the nature of the fabric) and now you’re gonna get mad because some guy is going to look? Right. Yeah. That makes a LOT of sense.

Come on now you’re not that unwise…are you?

If you are, or if you are simply uninformed, let me fill you in: ladies, men are visual and that they are stimulated by sight. Specifically, men are stimulated by the sight of a woman’s body. If you give them part of the picture by wearing something cut down to “there”, or cut up to “here” or very tight or sheer or hardly there at all, they’re going to complete the picture in their minds.

Do you really want men undressing you with their eyes? Do you want them lusting after you? Perhaps doing things with you (or to you) in their minds (even if it is “only” in their minds)? Do you want the picture of you half-naked (or more) lingering in their thoughts for days, or weeks, after they saw you on display?

I know the argument: men ought to be able to control themselves. You ought to be able to wear anything at all and men ought not to lust after you and you’re right. You’re absolutely right. You ought to be safe from prying eyes and from prying minds…no matter what. Men ought to control themselves…no matter what. But no matter what, it ain’t gonna happen, at least not with all guys. No matter what, there are some guys who are going to see you and they’re going to lust after you. You’re putting fuel on the fire and the fire is just getting hotter and hotter.

The truth is this: It is sin to put your body on display. When you do so, you are setting men up so that they lust after you (yes, you are). When you provoke a man to lust, girls, you’ve sinned and so has the man who does the lusting. The lost man now stands more condemned before God, the Christian man who succumbs now feels shame at his lust. By your immodesty, you might cause a man to fall back into a sin he’s struggled with (such as pornography). You might cause him to look at the body of his wife who has borne him many children and compare it to you who has borne none and judge her unfavorably. Many men will struggle with pictures of you coming to their minds for days or even weeks after they initially see you nearly undressed.

And, you, my dear, will stand guilty before a holy God for your part in their sin.

Oh, yes, guilty you are…even if you don’t want to believe it.

Ladies, we owe it to our brothers in Christ to make it easier on them. We owe it to the lost men to show them fruits of true Christianity.We owe it to our younger sisters to be an example of a faithful Christian maiden (or, depending on your age, a faithful Christian woman). Most importantly, we owe it to our Lord to obey Him.

If you’re one of the girls who has sinned this way, I ask you: please don’t do it this Summer. Enjoy yourself, yes; wear pretty clothes, absolutely. But please wear clothes that cover you. For the sake of your brothers in Christ, for the sake of the young Christian man who is just coming to terms with his manhood (and is trying to remain pure in thought for his future lady), for the sake of the lost, for the sake of the girls whose future husbands you just might be causing to sin, for the sake of my sons and for your sake, dear one, please keep your clothes on. We don’t need to see all of what you’ve got to display.


12 thoughts on “A Sense of Shame

  1. Great stuff! These so-called liberated women who buy into feminism are playing into the hands of chauvinist men who only want to exploit their misguided sense of womanhood to feed their lusts.

  2. So good… but how to get this message to beyond ‘preaching to the choir’. I wish you would have mentioned tight – tight shirts that scream ‘boobs’, and tight pants that scream ‘pelvis and buttocks’. While these clothing choices are ‘covered’ – they are far from ‘not revealing’. Lord help us. This is a huge problem inside ‘christiandom’. Praying for soft hearts for our girls so that want to please Jesus and not flesh.

    1. Good point. I have written about that before but it would have been good to include it here, too. My general guidelines for my girls are as follows: nothing too tight, nothing too sheer, nothing too low, nothing too high, nothing too fancy, nothing too expensive. The last two points are important in helping us to remember we dress to honor God, not to bring attention to ourselves (I’m not against pretty clothes just clothes that are too flashy or clothes that are so expensive they take away money from more important things). Thank you very much. I really don’t comment but I read your blog daily. I LOVE IT! Thanks for everything.

  3. I just read your response – you made my day and I am honored that you stop by my li’l ol blog. Keep posting all the good stuff that you do. I’ve referred to you often in my FB pages. And your dress guidelines are exactly what I’ve upheld. But now my DD is a young woman and needs to make choices for herself – while I pray and remain an example (hopefully). It’s hard to watch them grow up while we hold our breath.

  4. Reblogged this on Justification by Grace and commented:
    Our dear friend and sister, Anna Wood, posted this on her blog, The Cross is All a few days ago and I’ve been meaning to reblog it. In this article, she goes right to the core of our problem as it is in conflict with Christian modesty and humility. This applies to men as well as women.

    I remember that when I met my wife, I was a USN deep sea diver that worked out at the gym, boxed and kickboxed, and wore shorts and no shirt when I was out on a dive job. But when I began to court her (we were in the Philippines), I began covering up more. After we got married, I began wearing long sleeve shirts if I knew we were going to be in mixed company… because no should see my bare arms but my wife. Now, many years later at 51, I don’t have the “guns” I once had for upper arms, but I just cannot wear a short sleeve shirt or t-shirt except at home… not because I have to in some legalistic way, but out of love and respect for my wife. The scriptures tell us that my body belongs to God (1 Cor 6:19), and also to my wife (1 Cor 7:4).

    Thanks, Anna, for this excellent article.

    1. Amen, Jon, Amen. It is just as necessary for men as for women. It’s just not as great a problem most of the time so it often doesn’t get addressed. Thank you for doing so.

  5. I like how you confirm that some women think they can dress however they want and men should “be able to control their thoughts”. Why are they dressing that way? To get attention from men! But men aren’t supposed to have any lustful thoughts in the process. That’s like shaking a doggy treat in front of your dog and expecting your dog to not get excited. Christian men are still human and the Bible talks about their continuous struggle with lust from the beginning. King David, Sampson, … fell to their attraction to a woman.

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