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Friday, August 7, 2015

What If It Is my Son?

I’m wondering:
Do Christian movie makers have sons?

If they do, do they want them to watch their movies with pure thoughts? Do they care if the women characters sometimes display as much sex appeal as they do God-appeal?

My daughters and I recently watched a Christian-themed production that I’m not sure I want my son to see. Yes, he is an adolescent and just learning how to fight this battle that all good men must, but should I let him sit with me and knowingly put something before him that will steer his thoughts in a direction I am trying to help him overcome?

I don’t like to be critical. I like to be positive. As a writer, I want to applaud the artistic efforts being put forth to make these Christian-themed movies. And as a Christian, I want to support the lifting up of righteous viewpoints in the Hollywood realm. I don’t want to be an angry conservative. I don’t think Jesus was. I don’t want to be known as the woman who is always “riding a hobby horse” about dress, as they used to say.  But I can’t “not” say something about this. This is about the men in my life and I care about that.

And somewhere a woman needs to raise her voice and say to this new Christian movie industry “This isn’t okay; you need to clean this up just a bit more. You can’t mix sex appeal with Christ appeal.”

Maybe they don’t think it is sex appeal. Maybe it’s unintentional; maybe it hasn’t even entered their minds. Maybe to them it’s just the way women dress today. But, if they’re men, and many movie directors are, then they can’t be totally unaware.

Maybe it is the wardrobe personnel, which tends to be women, who push the line with the clothing used on the set. After all, let’s be honest. It is somewhat difficult to find trendy, attractive clothing that is also not sensually appealing.  Maybe these women think nothing of this since most of us tend not to be fully aware of the power of our bodies and of how little it takes to push a man’s impulses to the temptation zone.

Perhaps it is simply that these directors, men or women, are so accustomed to working in a field where total onscreen nudity is accepted and rampant sensuality is flaunted that “tame” immodesty doesn’t even register on their alarm status.

But tell me, does the degree of sex appeal matter if the outcome is the same? If a man is enticed to lust by a short skirt, does it matter that she isn’t bare to the waist?  Does the large transgression mean that the smaller one isn’t significant?

Perhaps it is my environment that makes me more conscious of this matter. Are men from “conservative” environments more aware of low necklines, high hemlines and tight contours than men in environments where this is the norm? In other words, can one become immune to a certain kind of stimulus? Or are men everywhere, of every ethnicity and background, every social and intellectual status, affected the same way by the power of female beauty and the degree to which it is uncovered before them? Men readers, I really would like to hear your voices here.

If they are, then we need to quit playing games.
Ultimately, this is the destiny of souls we are talking about.
Yes, it’s that serious.

There probably isn’t a man breathing who hasn’t given in to the temptation to lust at some time.  And yes, God knows the onslaught of hormonal and visual tides men must brave every day. And yes, He forgives and offers grace. And no, women are not responsible for a man’s unbridled appetites.

But. . . .

What if it is my son who is learning to overcome manly temptations and you are the one who wore the short skirt?

What if it is my husband who has to spend several minutes focusing on Scripture and taking his thoughts captive and you are the one whose camisole wasn’t high enough to conceal cleavage that should be your husband’s personal privilege?

Is it okay for you to throw your body in the way of my men’s spiritual progress?

Is it all right for you to make them figuratively cover their eyes and still try to relate to you as a sister in Christ?

Is it all right for you to be an enticer?

If my husband is on a diet, is it okay for me to bake his favorite dessert and put it on a plate in front of him? No. So is it okay for you to display your body and thus invite him to sin? I think not.

True, the action will be his choice, but do you care so little about me and my marriage that you are determined to exercise your “right” to wear whatever you want and let everybody else deal with it?  If a man discards his diet and eats cake, it is not necessarily sin; but if he discards his integrity and surveys you, it most certainly is sin.

If sexual lust is a universal temptation, then every Christian, regardless of gender or spiritual maturity, denomination or theological classification, wants to triumph over it through Christ. Therefore, considerations of dress are not an issue of “conservative” or “liberal” but totally within the realm of what enables all of us to advance in Christlikeness. Oh, how I wish that we could return to the rightness of the premise of this discussion and not be distracted by the ecclesiastical politics which always surround it.

Will the whole world read these words and suddenly agree to help us all on to greater godliness? No, but I hope those of us who call ourselves by His name will care deeply about glorifying Gods in our bodies which belong to Him. Ultimately, this matter of avoiding sensuality in dress is for Christians to discuss and model before a pagan world. They must come to Christ first and foremost; He will deal with the surrounding issues. But often the problem is that after sinners in our culture come to Christ, they are not prompted to think differently in this area because many of us look the same as they do, many Christian women give less thought than they should to the sex appeal they are (maybe innocently) displaying.  So these baby Christians read God’s Word and see it through the template of the older Christians they know and therefore think little should be changed.

This should not be.

My husband says “If my faith is not changing me, it is not saving me.” New life in Christ always promotes change in me. As I am conformed to His image, I am doing all I can to let Him be seen in me. And that is difficult to accomplish if my body is prominently displayed in appealing ways.

I don’t have the answers. But He does. If we put aside our peevishness and seek His counsel, He will show us. If we have honest discussions with the men in our lives, they will tell us those things that they are acutely aware of in our dress that we think nothing of.  If we sincerely set our hearts to know and follow Christ and support our brothers and sisters in His family, then we can help each other on to that great city where we will see Him and enjoy Him forever. That is the goal of all this, right? 

9 comments:

  1. you have it right on!!!!!!

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  2. Great article. I have recently been disturbed by the high hems and low necklines in our movement. I am startled at how much cleavage is being displayed in "Christians." Where will we draw the line!?

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    1. Thank you, Wendy, for your comment. Our goal is not to be "hot" but to glorify God with our femininity in all we do.

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  3. Excellent article and very relevant to men and women, esp. christian men and women. Men are commanded not to look with lust. Christian women have this admonishment: "I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves not with elaborate hairstyles, or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds appropriate for women who profess to worship God." 1 Timothy 2: 9,10.

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    1. Thank you, Anonymous, for your observation. Yes, everyone has guidelines to follow - both men (about looking) and women (about dressing). We cannot take responsibility for the other, but we must take it for our own conduct.

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  4. This article is right on and it is something all us as Christian women should seriously think about. What kind of an image are we giving to those that do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior.

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    1. Yes, Anonymous, we are to honor God in everything we do; our feminine beauty is for His glory, not ours.

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  5. This is the first I have read of any blog. I am very much encouraged to see these issues addressed. But I have noticed in the Holiness movement the dress guide lines and with these strictness comes with women not caring about their weight. I, too, come from this and it was hard to dress attractive without the acessories. Then comes so what!!!! The message and vibes I got from friends was I got a man now, I can not compete with the world attractiveness, so why try??

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    1. Dear Anonymous, Thank you for your candid observation. Yes, we must not allow our carefulness to be "frumpiness." Dressing and grooming ourselves in a becoming, yet appropriate, way honors the God who gave us the gift of femininity as well as our husbands whom we covenanted to love and to whom we are to "do good" all the days of our lives. (Proverbs 31:12)

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