Thursday, March 21, 2013

Less Skin, More Dignity

It's spring. And with the green leaves, and beautiful flowers comes something I dread so very much:

A lack of clothing on girls and women. 

Every year I know it is coming. All winter long those large coats, thick pants, and scarves have covered all the ladies I see, but that is almost over for most. And with that thought, I cringe. I actually cringe more now than ever. Now it just doesn't make me sick, it also makes me angry. It should have made me this upset before, but something about the fact that I am married makes it even worse. I have a husband. And when I see a lady dressed immodestly, I want to avert my husband's eyes immediately, because I feel like she is being unthoughtful and quite bluntly... rude.

Where does it all begin? On the large signs in stores, on the racks of girl's swimsuits, but mostly in homes where it is accepted.

The culture is so saturated with immodesty that most of us hardly even notice it. It is everywhere. So, let's imagine that we are standing in a little shop in 1913 (100 years ago). The women surrounding you are dressed in long dresses and lovely hats. There is a row of magazines in the distance. The National Geographic, The Saturday Evening Post and, wait.... There is a horrible picture in front of you that catches your eye. A woman is dressed in nothing but a few patches of cloth and strings. Sports Illustrated. A modern magazine is placed in a early 1900's world. A model in a string bikini. And you... well, you would have been mortified and probably very angered by such a risque magazine.

Yet in 2013 we just ignore it. Why?

Why do we tell girls that dressing the way many do is okay? That it is good? Many of us are in relatively safe communities and towns. So 6 year olds wearing mini skirts doesn't seem like a big deal. But there are countries and cities all over the world where little girls who wear things like that are automatically abducted and thrown into sex-trafficking. They would do ANYTHING to get to wear lots of clothes and be safe in a good home. It's a horrible truth.

By letting daughters dress immodesty and dressing immodesty ourselves, we are smacking beautiful femininity in the face. We are saying that nothing is sacred. We bare all and show all and say, "Oh well, that's just our day and age."

It literally makes me want to cry. It is breaking our girls. If the girls and women in our churches wear immodest clothing then the world will only be worse.

Would you feel comfortable if you saw a 16 year old girl walk into church one Sunday wearing only a bikini? Probably not! But why do we think it is okay to wear it around the same people at the pool? Plunging necklines on prom dresses. Is it okay? No. Please hold the rotten tomatoes!

I was told once that I was judging the girls and women who dress that way. It isn't judging if you tell them in love that that the clothing or lack of there of, is disobedient to God. Sure I do many things wrong, but to not address a problem because "no one is perfect" is not the answer.

Many dress the way they do because they don't even know that it is wrong. Most women don't realize that the way they dress, that the things they wear majorly affect the men they are around. Men can avoid temptation, yes, but to torture them with the opportunities to think bad thoughts over and over is just uncaring. It affects them very differently than it does us females. It's a much more fierce battle of the mind.

See, if we are followers of Jesus, then our bodies do not belong to ourselves. So we should dress in a way that pleases Him. Don't be ashamed to dress modestly, because it is a beautiful dignity.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 
Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Safe is Not The Answer

Let me paint a scenario. 

A man gets to the heaven. This was not your average human being on the planet of earth. This was a nice middle age, middle-class American. A Christian, middle-class American. He stands before the throne of God Almighty. THE God. After he has fallen to his face and worshipped his Maker, it's time for business.

"Well, congratulations, my child. You succeeded in living the absolutely safest life you possibly could. You in no way went out of your comfort zone."

The soul in front of him is little taken back. But he knows better than to argue with GOD. God goes on. 

"You disagree? You did read My Word. But somehow the Enemy persuaded you to pick and choose what you liked to follow. You loved the 'don't judge part' but you struggled with 'go and make disciples. of all nations'."

The American's mind goes back to the car wash he had participated in just a few months before he had died. He had handed out a few tracks. What about that? He hadn't actually talked to anyone. He has been too afraid to.

"My child, if you honestly thought that handing out a few tracks and singing 'Victory in Jesus' from the soft pew at the back of your comfy church was a enough to make me say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant,' then you were mistaken."

The man reaches in his pocket to play with his change. It was an old habit that he had had for years. When anxious and under pressure, he would reach down in his pocket and jingle the extra coins that always happened to be there. 

God hears the jingle.

"You know, many all over the world starve to death. They could live weeks off of what you play with in your pocket now. But no, you always put it in a jar in your house and use it to buy your soft drinks."

The anguished soul looks down. 

"My son, I love you. But as a Father, I only wish that you had obeyed me... that you would have heeded my Word. But you took it as an option. It was not an option. It has never been an option."

Compassion floods His voice. "I had so many plans for you. So many that I wanted you to lead to me. You turned me down. You were content with your well furnished house, nice car, vacations and 401K. You were supposed to share it. You were supposed to share Me. You were created to be radically different from this world, but you and your wife and kids blend right in."

Tears trace down the man's face. God continues.

"Oh America. America fools so many into believing that they are somehow more entitled to a "good" life than those poor people around the world. That I favor you all. I don't. I blessed you so that YOU could bless others. "

God welcomes the man in. 

"Come into heaven my son. But I can not say, 'well done'." 

Grim isn't it? This story is nowhere in the Bible. I made it up. Yet the Lord keeps telling me that many of us our going to be in this man's shoes. Maybe even you or me. I don't mean to depress you, but I do mean to wake us up... wake me up. 

Though I don't usually heed or believe anything I read in a fortune cookie, I had to agree with this quote I once saw in one:

"A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why ships are built."

Let me re-word. 

"A Christian living the American dream is safe, but that's not what Christians are meant to do."

Safe is not the answer to serving God. He wants you to be wise, yes. But radical, purposeful, and compared to the world... He wants you to be crazy.