Christianity -- Christian Living/Modesty in Chriatian dressing
I am the pastor of a small but growing Church. I have battled with the problem of appropriate clothes for women and girls in my Church.
I am always crushed as I watch the more influential women in the Church dress in revealing trousers and the youger ladies with all kinds of clothes combination that I feel are biblically imodest.
Am I being too restrictive? Am I misinterpreting and misa pplying scriptures by requiring our sisters to dress appropriately?
In today's sexually charged society, you're not the only pastor battling this type of trouble. Now, if the women are not wearing slacks to look like men and not showing off their money or going overboard to sexually attract men (1 Timothy 2:8-10), then maybe you are too harsh. But if they really are dressing to attract too much attention, then you need more than just telling them: "Don't do that!"
Just saying "Don't" is not enough. They already know what they are doing is improper. What they lack is a reason to do what God says is good. The apostle Paul told the carnal Christians in Corinthian that much of their behavior was improper, but he didn't stop there. He told them who they were as God's beloved children and that He saved them to experience the abundant life by teaching them to identify with their Savior:
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - "Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God
Begin to teach the glory of Jesus Christ their Savior in:
* how He become sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21),
* how as co-creator He became man and even went to an unjust cross for us (Colossians 1:15-22).
* His humility which teaches us to submit to Him and learn humility (Philippians 2:12).
Teach them how the power to say no to sin does not come from good intentions or a strong will, but by examining the depths of God's grace in the gift of His Son:
Titus 2:11-14 - "For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say "No" to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for Himself a people that are His very own, eager to do what is good."
The more you teach them about the goodness of Christ's love and grace, the more you empower them to say no to sin because they will look to Jesus and not to you or themselves. As they begin to believe that God loves and accepts them, their attitudes will begin to change.
Remember that Satan always works against the simplicity of Jesus (2 Corinthians 11:3) as our Savior, redeemer, and friend who loves us warts and all (Romans 5:8).
Begin to appeal to your congregation about expressing love and thankfulness to God by honoring Him with humble modesty in dress that reflects a humble spirit. Encourage them that they don't have to give into pride and show off for anyone. They can still dress attractively, but in a way that shows love towards everyone in the congregation by not dressing for their own pleasure. Encourage them to express their love for their Savior in how they conduct themselves at all times. [And the rich don't need to show off their riches either.]
Be sensitive to the Spirit on all of this. You could find out as I did as a youth leader, that the only nice clothing they had what the 'flashy' stuff they wore every Sunday. Some women took them under their wing and got them more modest clothes that looked nice without looking 'square.' It was a great way to show the love of Christ to those young girls.
If the dress is highly suggestive, then you need to address them directly about what they are doing. Don't go alone, and approach them with an attitude of thinking about others instead of themselves.
If you help them understand the goodness of Jesus, then they will have a reason to change what they are doing. The day I came to Christ changed my destiny, but this verse forever changed how I lived my life as a Christian:
Galatians 2:20 - "I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me."
To know that living each day is by faith in my Savior who loved me so much, keeps my eyes on Him and allows me to enjoy each day as if it were the day I trusted Him to save me.
You have a pastor's heart Chima; you're concerned for your flock and yet asking God if you could be wrong in your approach. It's easy to be cruel and judgemental and try to manipulate them with fear and anger. This wasn't Jesus' way and it's not the way of us as His servants, either. Consider getting a hold of the book "Classic Christianity" by Bob George. It will really help you to understand how to appeal to your congregation's spirit instead of their flesh. You can get it at www.realanswers.net or local Christian bookstore. It is also available in Spanish.
Sorry to give you a long answer, but I'm an explainer in character. Let me know if I can be of any further help to you. Take care and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
Your fellow servant in Christ,