By Beth Winze
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2
Is it really about what we wear, or is it more about the mindset in which we view clothes on people?
Recently, I stumbled across a thought-provoking, riveting, and riled up blog post addressing the idea of lust that is so commonly blamed on the clothes women wear. This article was from an altered viewpoint that made the entire problem seem diabolically imprudent. People actually spend time arguing for hours over a topic that has a simple solution – check your mind, before you blame the person.
The article, “When Suits Become a Stumbling Block: A Plea to My Brothers in Christ*” quickly and effectively shoots down long time arguments blaming the “lust of men” on the “yoga pants of women.”
For some reason, society, more so Christian society, has converted women to thinking that because of the way they dress, they are the cause of a man’s sinful thoughts. Excuse me while I call this one on the mat.
In her article, L.P. goes on an immense rant journey (a much needed rant journey) about her love for a man dressed in a dashing suit. Now here’s the cold hard truth. I am also extremely attracted to men that dress in fitted suits. A man who can hold himself professional while pulling off those gloriously tailored seams will get my attention any day.
Example: *heart eyes, heart eyes, heart eyes*
But I don’t allow my attraction towards him to overpower my mind. I check my mind before I would blame him for wearing something that causes me to “stumble”.
Is the suit gorgeous on him and make me want to walk into a haberdashery just to see if you can really look like that striking in business attire – sure. But if I allowed my thoughts to go further than the suit, than that would be entirely my fault for not keeping my brain in check.
Should a man, dressed respectably for his job, be told to change how he dresses because it is a potential “lust stumbling block” for the majority of the female population? No! If I approached a man in a suit and told him that he was distracting me with the way he were dressing, I would get scoffed at. Ergo, no woman should be told that her errand “yoga” pants are a stumbling block for men either.
New flash – *we (women) have curves and booty and such – and sometimes, they aren’t the easiest to hide.*
Now in all fairness, I must give a personal example otherwise this would not be a constructive case. This past year I attended a local community college to finish up my high school credits. I was with a bunch of twenty-something year olds who don’t retain a rudimentary level of tact. I was called out numerous times because of the dyed color of my hair. I learned quickly that red-heads have certain – ahem – reputations, shall we? Just because these men boys called me out because of what they thought my hair color represented, does not mean that I caused them to sin. In fact, that particular day I was wearing a ratty hoodie and my “mom” jeans and they called me out only because of my hair color. They made comments about the reputation my hair color supposedly “gave” me. Because even though I wasn’t wearing anything near “bodaciously provocative”, they still found some way to call me out. I can’t blame myself by saying it was my fault they “lustfully” commented on me. My hair color is innocent. My actions were innocent. My clothes were innocent. Yet, their minds were not.
Before you throw javelins and spears my direction – I am not advocating wearing whatever you want no matter what. You need to know your own personal convictions. But I do know that in a world that so greatly encourages women to see themselves as beautiful no matter what their pant size or ab count is, the Christian society has turned around and told us to find it while being as non-physical distracting as possible. Sometimes accepting your curves is the best way to start on a path towards confidence in your heart. Wearing a dress that flatters your curves or highlights and accentuates the better areas of your body are enough to make a girl feel like a million bucks.
No, I am not burning crosses here or playing the blame shame game – because frankly that game is what got us here in the first place – I am simply bringing to light the fact of making sure one’s mind is in check before they blame the object of their “lustful” nature.
So even though I have a powerful, drastic minute attraction to men in suits, I will keep my allures in check. It is a matter of what I like to call, Christ-control. The whole WWJD bracelet thing may seem old, but it still rings true. Can we all be reminded that Jesus was a man too, that He was presented with every temptation we have ever had to face, which I can safely assume includes sexual temptation of some sort. But he remained controlled over these enticements. That doesn’t mean He didn’t notice they were there, but it means that even when he faced them, he still remained in control of his human desires.
I enjoy my little black dress, six inch kitten pumps, smoky eye, winged eyeliner, and my hair a little mussed up and dyed red. Just because I like to dress, act, and look like a girl does not make it my fault for causing someone else to sin.* So dress the way you want – personal convictions people – but don’t let words like slut, whore or skank**, define you, because someone else struggles with lust. God created you the way you are. Sexy is overrated. Be confident in how God created you. Along with those curves that may say “hi” sometimes, cloth your heart in pure intentions and know who you are in Christ. Guys and girls are going to be physically attracted to the opposite sex. But pure intentions are what matter. So telling someone to dress more appropriately or telling them that they are a tease is showing your heart’s desires –not the person wearing the clothes’ intentions.
Just like Romans 12: 1-2 states, we are a living sacrifice for Christ, but God doesn’t condemn us with rulers and the height of our shorts. He measures us by the intentions of our hearts.
*This is not self-glorification in the least bit.
** The bigger question if/when (I hope you never get called this) is “How was I acting when I was wearing those yoga pants/tank top/ bikini/little black dress?” Don’t let it become an excuse to have a twerk-off or grind party.