Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Some Thoughts on Modesty

17 February 2009

"For there are no locks, guards, or bolts that afford better protection to a maiden than does her own modesty."
-Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

"Her modest looks the cottage might adorn, sweet as the primrose peeps beneath the thorn."
-Oliver Goldsmith, The Deserted Village

"Modesty is to merit, what shade is to figures in a picture; it gives it strength and makes it stand out."
-Jean de la Bruyere, The Characters or Manners of the Present Age

"In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works."
-1 Timothy 2:9-10 KJV

The quality or state of being modest; that lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one's own worth and importance; absence of self-assertion, arrogance, and presumption; humility respecting one's own merit.
Natural delicacy or shame regarding personal charms and the sexual relation; purity of thought and manners; due regard for propriety in speech or action.
bashfulness, celibacy, chastity, constraint, decency, delicacy, demureness, diffidence, discreetness, humbleness, humility, inhibition, innocence, lack of pretension, meekness, propriety, purity, quietness, reserve, reticence, self-effacement, simplicity, timidity, unobtrusiveness, unostentatiousness, unpretentiousness, virtue

All women want to be beautiful. It is a natural tendency for our heart's to warm when someone gives us a nice compliment, or to look in the mirror and admire ourselves. When I go somewhere, I long to stand out and look so stunning that people comment, "What a pretty girl!" Certainly I want to dress modestly, but I can still joke around and be frivolous as long as I'm well-covered, can't I? But when I look at the definition of modesty, it tells me that modesty is essentially humility or "a sense of one's own unworthiness through imperfection and sinfulness"( To put it bluntly, you can't exactly be modest and sexy at the same time. But we (unmarried women) aren't meant to be.

We are definitely meant to stand out, but in a different way. The bible says we're to be "shamefaced" and "sober". You're probably thinking what I was thinking when I read that. "Shamefaced and sober? Where's the fun in that?" But I was reminded of our pastor’s sermon on Sunday where he preached on Ecclesiastes 7:1-14. Out of all his good notes and explanations, the one that stood out to me the most was his comparison of New Year's Eve in Time's Square, and the incident of 9/11. New Year's Eve is a wonderful time! Everyone packs themselves into Time's Square and watches the ball drop and it's a time of celebration! But which glorified God more in the end? New Year's Eve with people getting drunk and having a good yet meaningless time, or a nation watching in horror, then seeking God in a time of crisis?

So should we go around wearing black bhurkas and frowns? Certainly not! We are to shine God's light in a dark world. Pastor Gerald made some really good points on Sunday and I wish you could've heard him because I can't really grasp it myself. How to be joyful and sober at the same time is one of the concepts I've struggled with. I suppose the scripture that best answers that question is Ecclesiastes 3:1, "For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven..." I don't understand everything in the bible. But one thing I do know. As Christian women, we are called to be so chaste and modest that we stand out. Phillipians 2:15 says, "...become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and perverse generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe..." and when you think about it, what's more beautiful than a star?...


Elspeth said...

Thanks for this post.

I've been blogging about modesty on my blog recently, you can read it by clicking my name.