I’ve gotten some pretty intense comments about this post. Which made me realize I should clarify a few things.
1) yes, I am angry. I am angry for the beautiful young women I love and know who are constantly shamed and broken by boys who won’t deal with their issues. I am angry for the hurt and pain caused to so many people because of this issue
2) I did not give any credit to the men who ARE fighting for their purity and the purity of the women they encounter. I’m sorry I did not acknowledge the beautiful and intense battle you face. You are my heroes. You are the men who need to call out the boys placing the blame on women. But you are so strong and I am so grateful for you! I pray for you and see Jesus in you.
3) Ultimately this comes down to a matter of respecting one another and caring for our hearts because we are brothers and sisters in Christ. The motives of my heart of why I wear something matter just as much as a man expecting me to be completely covered. We will stand before Jesus someday and be held accountable for our own thoughts, motives, and actions. Only ours. Which is sobering and beautiful.
There have been plenty of articles and Facebook updates and blog posts recently about Christian women not wearing certain clothing items as to not cause men to “stumble.” Now to be totally transparent, I haven’t read all of them or studied the topic with every moment of free time but I can come to you as a woman who grew up bombarded by the messaging of not causing men to stumble.
I think it’s one of the most harmful and condescending messages sent out to young women.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard these phrases:
You’re beautiful, so you need to protect your brothers and yourself by the way you dress
Men are visual and you need to pay attention to what you wear
It says in the New Testament that we shouldn’t do things to cause our brothers to stumble which is why you shouldn’t wear that
Oh my goodness!!!!
Do you see a theme here? Every single one of those phrases (and countless others) places the responsibility, control, and issue with a man’s lust struggle squarely on my shoulders. And what’s even worse is that it absolves men from ALL responsibility of dealing with their stumbling issues.
But you know what I don’t hear?
I don’t hear men calling out other men telling them that the responsibility is theirs and theirs alone to battle through lust. I don’t see men out there fighting shoulder to shoulder to view women (wearing ANY type of clothing) in a pure and holy manner.
What you do is SHAME me into covering my body because my body causes some man to fall into temptation.
Guess what…. there are plenty of moments every day where I struggle with lust. I lust after emotional intimacy, having children, financial security, the things others have, I battle lust all the time. Never once have I thought to tell my friends that they should keep their children, relationships, things etc from me because it causes me to sin. Are you kidding me?? Can you imagine what kind of world we would live in if we had to do that? It would be absurd.
But you know what I DO do to battle lust? I run to the heart of my Papa and put boundaries in place in my life that are specific to my temptations and my struggles and MY sin.
As a woman and a Christian, my call is to live a sacrificial life that points others back to Jesus. To care about what He thinks more than anyone else. To put Him on the throne. It’s not just about making sure my ass is covered or my shirt isn’t too low because a guy walking down the street might have an inappropriate thought.
The way I reflect Christ is in all manners of life: my thoughts, my words, my actions, my attitude, my interactions. I can be much more seductive and cause men to stumble in greater ways by letting my unredeemed self control any and all of those areas. I guarantee more “sin” has been committed because of the seduction of a person through one of those ways over a low-cut top times ten.
But regardless of all of that, my heart breaks for the message being communicated to women that covering ourselves is the only way to keep men from stumbling. This message sets us up for shame and blame. In the majority of crimes, the one who commits the crime is held responsible. Not the victim. So why is this ANY different?
The battle for our beauty is hard enough in this world. The battle to trust that we are lovely and beautiful and wanted and worthy and adored is the battle that drives so much of our actions. The wounds that have been left because someone sliced into our beauty identity often is why we wear things to draw attention.
So here’s a thought, brothers in Christ, why don’t you try to affirm and love my beauty exactly where it is and regardless of what I’m wearing.
Why don’t you try to love me and serve me by dealing with your lust issues.