Your Elders recently received the following note:

There has been something on my heart for a while, and I haven’t been sure about the best way to address it- so I will submit it to you and trust that the Lord will lead you to handle it as it should be handled.

Today at work, an email went out that stirred me to write you. It was an email regarding appropriate dress for the workplace. We have a handful of ladies around the office who tend to dress rather inappropriately- and it can create a tough work environment sometimes. Ladies can feel embarrassed and undervalued in the presence of these women, and I would guess the men here at the office either find themselves uncomfortable or distracted. The email did not go into detail about why certain manners of dress are inappropriate- it was pretty obvious. Around the office, we need to treat each other with respect and professionalism.

Even more should the concept of respect apply within the fellowship of believers. I have worked with groups of young women in the past and made it a point to address the issue of modesty within them.  My teaching has focused on the practical – what to avoid – but also on the deeper issues of the heart behind why they should avoid it.  I occasionally had to pull a girl or two aside and remind them of how important it is to help our Brothers in Christ stay pure in a sexually saturated culture.

However, the dress issue has not been confined to the youth group; I have noticed a number of adult women in the Body who tend to dress inappropriately from time to time.

I believe that there are two possible motives in the hearts of the Sisters I’ve noticed dressing this way. One motive is that the outfit was selected for its fashion appeal and flattering design. The other, and I believe the more prominent motive, is that the wearer is an extremely busy woman, most likely a mother, and the blouse with the V-neckline was most easily accessible in the busy course of her morning.

In either case, we ladies must be challenged about this. We must remember that if we are doing our job as a church, we are going to be surrounded by people who are at different stages in their walk with the Lord. A father of four may think nothing of the V-neckline. But the odds are that someone at the church will find himself struggling against it or lead into lust by it. This battle is everywhere for our men and boys. The Body of Christ should be a respite from this fight, not another battle ground.

Are we women were too busy or too concerned with our appearance to come along side our fathers, brothers and sons to help provide a safe place for them to relax and just enjoy the fellowship of believers? Maybe we just haven’t thought of it that way. Maybe it’s time to start.

What a blessed woman!  Her note reflects grace, practicality, and a deep love for her brothers and sisters.  About 9 minutes after receiving her note via email, another arrived from Focus on the Family.  The introduction is as follows:

American girls are increasingly being fed a steady diet of products and images that pressure them to be sexy. From clothing to cartoons, choreography to commercials, the emphasis on sexuality undercuts parents’ efforts to instill purity in their daughters.

The article goes on to describe the fashion trends that our daughters find themselves surrounded by these days and encourages parents in ways to keep their daughters safe.  If you would like to read the rest of the article, the link is here: Sexy Too Soon.

This morning I checked out the new Resurgence web site and saw that they posted (on Thursday) a great article titled Why What You Wear Matters.  Check it out – it’s good, short, practical read.

It is certainly coincidental that all these crossed my path around the same time.  Can I share just a little more?

On Tuesday I had to fire a man (“Frank”) at work.  In short, we determined that Frank was posting his former boss’ phone number on various bathroom walls and (most despicably) on a wall in a “viewing booth” in an adult bookstore.  She was receiving lewd calls at all hours of the day/night.  It got really bad when her 11-year-old daughter was propositioned by one caller.

When I confronted Frank, he lied about his involvement, saying he does not go to adult bookstores.  And why would we not believe him?  Frank is an associate pastor at his church, after all.  He is well known as being a kind, prayerful, and compassionate man.  Sadly, when confronted with irrefutable proof, Frank admitted that he frequents the bookstore where his former boss’ number was posted.

In the note that we received, the writer said, “A father of four may thing nothing of the V neckline.”  That is my only point of disagreement with her.  Yes, a particular father of 4 might not, but I believe most men have eyes like magnets that easily find & lock on to an attractive, sexy woman.  Even in church.  Maybe especially at church.  A godly woman exudes something attractive that is not physical, but draws men in nonetheless.

You may consider this semi-confessional.  I do not find myself leering at women in church (often), but I would rather be completely honest than create a false image that causes others to suspect me impossible of sins such as Frank’s.  Frank is in bondage, and he didn’t get there by asking brothers to pray for him.  I struggle here.  I suspect most of us do.

At work, where the struggle is strongest, and where we have many attractive women who know they are attractive, and use their appearance to manipulate men, I have written on my whiteboard a very short statement: “he does not know that it will cost him his life.” You will recognize it as part of Proverbs 7:23.  I was looking at it yesterday, not long after a woman left my office; a woman whose shirt buttons strained to contain her…(yes, I noticed)

I will not repeat the oft-stated point that men are visual creatures.  Got it.  Agreed.  But something in our culture is changing.  A lot of recent research is finding that women are becoming trapped in addiction to pornography.  It might not surprise you that upwards of 70% of men are looking at porn online, but are you shocked that research shows that around a third of those visiting pornographic web sites are women?

The implication here is simply this: women can do us a favor by covering up.  But guys, we gotta help our sisters too.  I’m not actually sure here what women would find sexy in a guy…it’s apparently not the same thing we see in them.  But ask your wife if you look appropriate for church.  My wife tells me to button one more button from time to time.  If you are not married, ask a trusted female friend with a male friend present.