". . . Instead make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."
Setting: Weekend outing
Action: Girl walks down in to the living room. Dad says she isn't wearing that. Girl whines. Dad puts foot down. Girl changes.
This is a universal movie scene that almost every girl in America is familiar with.
My favorite scene comes from one of the great classic movies, Clueless. Cher walks down stairs in a tiny white dress and her dad says, "What the heck is that?" She responds by saying, "A dress!" Cher's dad fires back with, "Says who??" Cher confidently tells him, "Calvin Klein." Cher ends up keeping the dress on. I usually wasn't as fortunate.
I remember even back in my early teens going shopping with my mom and getting so upset with her when I couldn't get the cute outfit from Limited Too because it "looked to old for me." Duh, mom. That's the whole point. Look like an 18 year old at 12. Get with the program.
It didn't stop there it continued on to my high school career and, I'm embarrassed to say, even college. The saying she says has evolved some, though. Instead of "that's too old for you" it's now more along the lines of "that's too short" or "that's too low." At that point I proceed to defend myself and explain it's really not that bad because it could be much worse.
Then about a year or so ago she told me something with so much pure love that I was so humbled I couldn't even be mad or upset with her nagging. I'm probably not quoting this verbatim, but I can get pretty close. "Jackie, I know you try really hard to reflect Christ in your life and lead others in how to live for Him but sometimes that is not evident in the way you dress."
Geez. It still stings.
After that I tried to focus more on my clothing choice, but I have to admit all I really did was focus on who I would be seeing me in those clothes. If I was going to be around adults I knew personally I would make an effort to dress more conservatively. However, if I knew I would most be around people my age I wouldn't be as concerned with whether or not my shorts were close to to my fingers.
Recently, though, God has really been working on my heart.
Before you read any farther I want to make one thing clear. This is not secretly directed to anyone I know personally. So if you are feeling that way - don't. These are my convictions and something that I want to get better at.
So let's get to scripture. We've all heard the story (and laughed uncomfortably in kid's church) about when God first created Adam and Eve they didn't have to wear clothes. They walked around naked. (ha!) But I want to focus on two verses that come after the fall of man.
Genesis 3:7 "Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves."
Upon noticing that they were naked they didn't just go about their day. This realization was a big enough deal that it spurred action. They made something to cover their nakedness.
Genesis 3:10 "He (Adam) answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
So now we see a little bit of what Adam and Eve's thought process was. Once they realized they were naked, it scared them. They were so afraid that they hid. I'm sure we can all agree our society has a little bit of a different view of nakedness then the first man and woman did.
Flipping over a few books to Proverbs let's look at a verse dealing with men looking at women. Proverbs chapter 6 verse 25 says,
"Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes."
OK, I know what you are thinking. That verse is talking about guys looking lustfully at women so what does that do with me? A lot.
In his song "Praying For You" Lecrae says, "can't even hit up the mall cuz every lady's half-dressed temptin' him to lust and fall." . . . Get it now? Later on in the song we find out that Lecrae is really praying for himself.
Now am I saying that we should take all the credit for men lusting and they shouldn't shoulder any of the responsibility? Not. At. All. What I am saying is that we have done a pretty poor job of helping them out.
Romans 14:13b ". . . Instead make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way."
This can look like a lot of different things, but in this instance it means stop dressing with the intent of making them stumble!! And remember I am talking to myself most of all!
I am not saying to wear long sleeves and sweat pants every day. I am saying we have to have a mentality shift. Instead of dressing to impress guys and look sexy (consider the root of that word. . .) dress to impress your Creator.
God made us beautiful! Each of us! Know the difference.
I need to start considering who I have in mind when I dress to impress.
Love y'all! Really!