Dear Christian Girls,
This is a letter I’ve been meaning to write for a while. There are a lot of letters out there regarding the issue I’m going to talk about, but I personally disagree with most of them. I think it’s time for something fresh and new. I believe it is time I told you all the truth about clothing, your body, and modesty.
First of all, God made you in His image. That’s probably not something you hear all the time. Maybe it is. I don’t really know. I do know that it is true and that you need to hear it. Plus, knowing that even we as females are made in God’s image helps unravel the truths of His desires for us. You were made in God’s image, and are loved by the Father. Chains do not become you.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.
Secondly, you’re absolutely beautiful. Your face, eyes, hair, smile… they reflect God’s glory and make you radiant. But I’m going to tell you something that you probably won’t hear very often, at least not from a Christian. Your whole being is beautiful. God made you that way. He made you different from men, with shapliness and curves, so that they would desire you. And there is nothing wrong with that. He thinks you are beautiful, no matter what anyone else says. You do not need to hide behind a chain, beautiful girl.
Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, for she was taken out of man.’
Genesis 2: 22-23
Next, I want to remind you that you’re sinful. But of course you knew that because Christians have been blaming you for your own sins and the sins of others since the fall of man. I’m not here to tell you that though. Instead, I want you to know the truth. Even though you have sinned, you are no longer condemned. Although you were born sinful and deserve to be chained, beaten, and killed, Jesus has paid the price. He took your sin on his shoulders and bore your suffering. You are freed. There is no reason to live in the bondage of chains.
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.
And now, I want to tell you something truly earth-shattering. Or at least it was to me when I first realized it. Because of these three things, all of those modesty lectures and articles that tell you to cover up if you’re a Christian, that you’re a stumbling block to your brothers in Christ, and that any girl who wears a bikini to the beach doesn’t love God enough are not true. They are lies and you should not believe them. Modesty should not ensnare you like a chain.
Don’t get me wrong–I don’t think you should run around naked either. I know that after sin came into the world, nakedness brought shame. I know that there are certain parts that God wants to be covered. And I know that God talks about modesty in the Bible, too. But it still shouldn’t be a chain.
He answered, ‘I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.’
What we wear does say a lot about who we are and modesty is important, in my opinion. However, I happen to know that these things are not as important as some people tell us. Did you know that dressing modestly is not one of the ten commandments? Did you know that modesty is barely ever spoken of in the Bible? Did you know that God cares more about your heart than the length of your skirt or the thickness of your shirt? The clothes that you wear are garments and not chains.
But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
1 Samuel 16:7
You see, once I was you, beautiful girl. I felt sinful for what I had worn. I was ridden with guilt and cursed the way my clothes seemed to stick to me. I was ashamed of the body and gender that God had given me. My ‘modest’ clothing was a chain around me and I could not run free. And then I heard the good news that my chains had been broken by the greatest strength. My sins were forgiven and I was free. And that forgiveness is open to you, too.
Jesus said to the woman, ‘Your faith has saved you; go in peace.’
I know that probably sounds blasphemous to you, but I hope this letter will help in some way. Christianity is not defined by the clothes that you wear–Jesus defines it all.Your beauty should not be enmeshed in shame–there is no reason for that. Jesus has paid the price for your sins–you are not condemned. And God looks at your heart not the clothes you choose, whether ‘modest’ or ‘immodest.’ He does not chain you in guilt, shame, or worries about necklines–and neither should you.
Your sister in Christ, Elizabeth