“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
This has been a question I’ve been thinking about for a long time: how do you define modesty? Can there be one definition of modesty?
So, I decided to look at a few sources to get an idea of what different people think modesty is.
According to Wikipedia, modesty is “a mode of dress and deportment intended to avoid encouraging sexual attraction in others…”
Although I guess that if you dress modestly, this can be a side effect, I don’t think this definition covers even a fraction of what modesty really is.
Saint John Paul II said that the problem with pornography wasn’t that it showed too much, but that it showed too little. What does he mean by this? Pornography shows not only the human body, but the person, as a sexual object with a sole purpose of sexual pleasure and instant gratification. Humanity is worth so much more than that, so much more than only being used for pleasure. In this Lifeteen post, the author says that this is the problem with immodesty.
So, with that in mind, we can say that immodesty is an objectification of the human body, and modesty is seeing the body as a vessel of the person within.
I once said that I wasn’t modest. I’m still not sure if I am. Sure, I cover what needs to be covered, but in all honesty, it’s not to reflect the dignity of my personhood, but to cover what I think is ugly.
So, I’m going to define modesty: Modesty is a way of dress which glorifies the Lord and reflects the dignity of the person.
We are called to glorify God in all that we do, not man. That includes modest dress and immodest dress. If we are dressing modestly simply to make sure that no one is sexually aroused by us, we are putting man before God. We are trying to please those around us.
Similarly, if we wear what is “cool” with the knowledge that it is not pleasing to God. We are putting man before God.
When you put something on, don’t think what your grandmother or brother or father or best friend would think: think about what God would think.