I don’t like to wear shorts when I take the bus. Even if it’s boiling hot outside, I just don’t like it.
It isn’t because of the way the seat feels on my bare legs or because I never take the bus in the summer. Nor is it that the bus has amazing air conditioning either. No, it isn’t any of these things. Rather, it is because I think something bad might happen to me if I wear shorts when I’m traveling on my own.
Shorts make me feel extra vulnerable — even though mine aren’t “uber-short.” I worry about other people’s perception of me. I worry that guys will try to approach me and take advantage. I’m scared to wear shorts, even when the rising temperatures scream that I’m crazy to wear jeans because of what my culture, both Christian and secular, has taught me about men.
But I’m learning that this mindset is wrong. Plain and simply, it is destructive.
I don’t care whether you believe in modest dressing or not. I don’t care how Biblically sound your ideas are. I am not here to debate with you or argue over the value of modesty for Christians or dismiss your ideas and beliefs. I just want to say that a girl’s worth should not be rooted in how long her shorts are.
For a long time, I believed that dressing modestly somehow protected me. That if I wore higher shirts and longer shorts I would be a less likely victim. To be honest, I do not know what the statistics are for sexual assault victims*; however, I do know that what we wear as Christians or even as non-Christians, but as people, should never define who we are as human beings.
We live in a sex-saturated culture. I’m sure that’s clear by the advertisements and movies and music that we come across everyday. But contrary to popular belief, this fascination with sex is far from absent in the church. Oh no. It simply takes a different form at the altar. In Christian culture, sexual fascination takes on the form of legalized purity.
“But how can this be true?” You may ask. “After all, didn’t Jesus command us against sexual immorality?”
Yes, against immorality. But God didn’t tell us that our sexuality should somehow determine our worth.
In the Church, we’ve become fascinated with purity, particularly sexual chastity. While that’s great in and of itself, I believe we’ve taken it a bit too far. Nowhere in the Bible does God say that we’ll be saved based on what we wear or that there is no forgiveness for pre-marital sex or that sexual purity is the ticket to heaven; but that is the way that I believe some Christians have made God’s grace out to be. On the other hand, God calls us to love Him, first and foremost, and then to love our neighbour. Attaching a person’s worth to a clothing choice is simply not loving because we are whole people, worth more — much, much more — than a single clothing choice.
We were created in the image of God, our creator. Now, I’ll be honest — I haven’t always lived that idea out. I’ve spent my life critiquing others’ clothing choices and actions and monitoring my own. I haven’t always seen others as whole people, humans, created in the image of God for His glory. And I haven’t always seen myself that way either. But now, I want to change. I don’t want to see anyone’s — my own or another person’s — worth wrapped up in their chastity or lack thereof.
Because we were created for more. Much, much more.
We were created to love and be loved infinitely by our Perfect Creator.
We were created to serve God, create as He did, and bring about justice.
We were made to enjoy and live and work and build relationships.
Created in His image, first and foremost. That is our true identity.
You’re worth more — much, much more — than any old pair of shorts.
So now, let us live in the freedom and joy of Christ.
*Just so it is clear, I am NOT by any means advocating that “statistics” can show who is at fault. I firmly believe and know that a victim is NEVER at fault because of their clothing, words, or actions.
Today, I stumbled across this AWESOME post by an amazing blogger on modesty and worth. It is extremely well-written and insightful; she writes from this same perspective, though I think she conveys her thoughts much better than I did in this post. I encourage you to check it out!