The lady walked through the church parking lot, right in front of our car. She was beautifully pregnant but had the tightest dress on, a high slit on the left side of her leg. As she took a step forward in front of us, I could see clear in and was so bothered by her immodesty.
We were leaving church, and the more I looked around, the more upset I got to see so much skin and short shorts in a gathering that was meant for worship.
Why doesn’t the pastor address modesty? Why do the older women allow their daughters to come in such short skirts? Why doesn’t the church look any different than the world?
I had so many thoughts racing through my head, many revealing my own journey with modesty and how The Lord had transformed my thoughts and understanding of it all.
You see, at one point in my own life, I was the one who showed too much skin, too much of my midsection. Although it had been years, there was still a time when it was me who sought attention in the way I dressed.
It was only by the grace of God that I was later convicted of my pride, and it was by His gentle teaching that I slowly made the changes that eventually freed me from that way of dressing.
His Word guided me, and I had the blessing of knowing a young man, who revealed to me the thoughts in a teenage boy's mind when he is presented with a scantily clad woman’s body. It was eye-opening, to say the least, and something that really led me to further consider my clothing choices.
The thing about any virtue, however, is that it, too, can become an idol. It too can lead to a prideful heart.
If one is flashing their modesty in superiority over others, it doesn’t matter how many dresses you wear and what length they all are. At the end of the day, your heart is still naked before The Lord and He sees your intentions and motivations.
In that moment, He saw mine, and I was quickly called to repentance.
I said a quick prayer as I drove out of my parking spot and as I turned the corner, I saw a bumper sticker on one of the cars in front of me.
“Student Driver. Please be patient.”
I gasped in understanding and couldn’t help but smile at The Lord’s faithful way of helping me see.
How many times had I been a bit more careful around student drivers? How many times had I smiled in encouragement when I saw them making mistakes?
I didn’t wave my finger at them in frustration. I didn’t think of myself as better because I could drive and they couldn’t.
There was a softness in my heart toward them, a hopefulness. I wanted to see them do well. . . and would often cover them in prayer as I drove by.
I couldn’t help but think: what if new believers had a sticker that read “New Believer. Please be patient.” somewhere on their backs or on a name tag?
Would we smile encouragingly and offer help if we saw them stumbling along? Would we cover them in prayer? Would we be less likely to lift our heads in arrogance as we walked past them?
The reality is that unless we take the time to get to know others more deeply, we will never truly know where they are in their faith journey. We will never fully know what The Lord is doing in their lives.
But we do know that He is faithful to see His work unto completion. And He is loving and patient through it all.
Yes, as believers, we are called to holiness and righteousness. We are called to be faithful with His Word and to share His truth, including His call to modesty.
But we must also remember that our own path has been covered by His grace and is a work of His Holy Spirit, for there are none that are good, “not one.” Before we call out the “speck in our [sister’s] eye,” let us make sure to remove the plank from our own.
And most importantly, let us seek to clothe ourselves with what ultimately matters to Him: compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)
For as we wear our garments of praise and love, it is from there that we can exhort one another in mercy and truth.
I pray that we will be faithful . . . in our homes with our daughters . . . and in the church. For His ways are so very good.