A Bit Of Modesty, Please
Read Ezekiel Chapter 36
Eze 36:17 “Son of man, when the people of Israel were living in their own land, they defiled it by their conduct and their actions. Their conduct was like a woman’s monthly uncleanness in My sight.
The pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Some ultra-conservative Christian groups have made a strict practice of covering up their bodies. Just a few generations ago, it was rare to see men and women dressed in any provocative way. Perhaps they went a bit overboard in the process, or maybe they had it exactly right. Each of us has our own opinion on this. Over time, you know what has happened. In our times, women and girls are parading around in extremely skimpy clothing. Men are covering up less and less, as attested to by the popularity of Speedos.
We have become accustomed to a society where modesty is rarely in play. There must be some middle ground somewhere in between these two extremes. Today’s passage will give us a hint about how God feels about modesty in regard to our human bodies. A women’s “uncleanness” is a common, regular occurrence. Our Lord, the Creator of man and woman, made them this way. Therefore, it should not carry any kind of stigma, right? Apparently, it does. How many times must we say that we don’t understand God?
There are other examples. Two of Noah’s sons turned their backs so that they would not see their father’s nakedness when they covered him up. Then we see this passage:
Dt 23:9 When you are encamped against your enemies, keep away from everything impure. 10If one of your men is unclean because of a nocturnal emission, he is to go outside the camp and stay there.
We can say that when Jesus came to earth to bring us a new covenant, He changed some of these severe treatments of our natural bodily functions. Let’s say that is true. Did He go so far as to sanction all the near-nudity that we see today? I’m pretty sure we all can say that He did not! What is our point for today? Simply this: we must be careful how far we go in regard to our modesty or lack thereof.
At a men’s SSA retreat once, two of the attendees went swimming after our first night session. They both attired themselves in Speedos. That was extremely inappropriate behavior, especially in light of the purpose for the retreat. Perhaps it is a good thing that we are losing our shame over our bodies, but there must be limits on how we react to our freedom. There is still a purpose and place for some measure of modesty.
The human body is indeed a beautiful creation from our Lord. And, when He first created man and woman, clothing was not a part of their lives. Sin changed all that. Someday, our existence will once again be perfect. I don’t know what it will be like in Heaven. We may or not have clothes. Some scriptures indicate that we will be clothed in white. The phrase “dressed in white” appears three times in the book of Revelation. Maybe “white” means something different than our concept of white. I don’t know. But I’m pretty sure we shouldn’t be parading around in front of one another naked, or near-naked.
Personally, I am too weak to handle much of that. I even try not to view works of art that include nudity or near-nudity. There is too much temptation to let my mind wander. Hopefully, you don’t have as much of a problem in that area.
One final thought. We can wonder why Adam and Eve felt the need to cover up their genitalia after they first sinned. Before that time, there was no shame or modesty necessary. Was it because there was something terribly wrong with sexual body parts? Was it because those parts were symbolic of the beginning of life, a very precious and holy part of creation? Was it because exposure opened the door to great temptation? I can’t say, but maybe all of the above.
Prayer: Father, show us where the boundary lines are drawn. Further, it would be a good idea for us to not get close to that boundary, for we might cross over it. Help us. We are weak vessels. Thank You for forgiveness, compassion, and understanding