Being an outspoken woman of faith comes with it’s challenges. Most people think for me it’s about the entertainment industry and how I manage to maintain my moral integrity while choosing the right part or show to be a part of. While that can be challenging, I don’t think it compares to the scrutiny I’m put under on my Facebook page. Social media has become a breeding ground for negativity, “knowing it all” and letting someone you don’t know know everything you think about them even when it’s rude and downright mean. We all see those who become “courageous” when they are protected behind their computer screen. And maybe there are some who honestly think they’d say what they write to your face… I mean, if they ever actually met you.
Maybe negative comments aren’t your thing. But maybe those thoughts run through your mind at times only you hold them in and quietly make judgments in your head like you know their situation better than they do. I’ve certainly been there and done that. We say things under our breath, we exhale in frustration and then stick a smile on our face so that person doesn’t know what we really want to tell them. Maybe we never verbalize it, but we’re still thinking it and our heart takes on a proud know-all-it position instead of a compassionate one in loving truth.
The most negativity I receive on FB is about my clothing and modesty. I do realize I took a position of modesty while I was on Dancing With the Stars and because of it, people are that much more attentive to everything I wear. And understandably so! And while I’ve blogged about modesty several times and I’m sure I’ll do it several more times, I couldn’t help but share this article I came across last night by Kimberley Suchta.
She was beaming with excitement on this early Sunday morning. Up until just a few months ago, she would have probably been sleeping off a hangover right about now. But not today. A christian co-worker, who had befriended her this past year, was faithful in sharing the gospel with her.
As she shared with her the heartache she had over a broken relationship, and the emptiness and fear that she had in thinking about her future, her friend told her about Jesus. The One who came to take her sin and guilt away.
So now, here she was, a new christian herself. She knew she was forgiven. She had Jesus! She was anxious, yet excited, as she thought about going to church that morning for the very first time.
She nervously picked through the skirts and tops in her closet. She wanted to honor her new Savior, and felt a tinge of guilt as she ruffled past the pieces in her closet that she used to wear to get the attention of the guys at the bar.
She picked out what she thought was the most appropriate skirt for a church service. It rested just a few inches above her knees. It was the longest skirt she had. She looked at the clock and realized she was rushed for time, so she quickly threw on a pair of high heeled sandals and chose a tank top and headed out the door.
As she walked into the church with her friend, she caught the disapproving glances of a couple of women around her. Her friend introduced her to a few people…but by now it just felt awkward. Even before the service started, she was convinced she didn’t fit in.
Here she was again…another hectic Sunday morning. Her kids were arguing in the other room and she was fighting back the tears of frustration as she attempted to put on last year’s jeans. In her weight battle…she went up another size this year. She would just have to bear with the uncomfortableness.
She picked out a top that she felt would draw the least amount of attention to herself, and headed off to church, shamefully fumbling to hide her cleavage. On the drive there…she condemned herself again, asking herself why she couldn’t just get her act together and get those 20 pounds off.
Instead of rejoicing in the love and acceptance of her Father that morning… she spent that time in the worship service, sitting in her tight clothes, wondering what other people were thinking of her. She knew she wasn’t being purposefully immodest. But was worried other people might be looking at her like she was.
She dreaded Sunday mornings. Her mother just had to drag her to church each week. She was almost 18. Why couldn’t her mom just let her do what she wanted? She had to admit though, that deep down, there was a part of her that was glad her mom insisted she go. There was hope in the messages she heard there.
She longed for acceptance and struggled a lot with insecurity. She didn’t realize this was one of the reasons she chose the things she did to wear. She just knew she liked the attention she got. It made her feel like she was worth something.
One Sunday morning, an older women in the church approached her. “You know, darling, your mom should have told you, you shouldn’t be wearing outfits like that…and especially to church. It doesn’t honor the Lord. And the young men here are looking for respectable girls.”
For the next couple of months, she made it a point to hide the best she could each Sunday. She never forgot that conversation. What that woman said just reaffirmed what she always thought…she wasn’t accepted after all. She was too broken. She turned 18 a few months later, went off to college, and never returned to church again.
When we start bringing the gospel into the subject of modesty, there is a lot to think about and a lot to say. Much more than a simple blog post can manage to tackle. ( I have a great book reference listed at the bottom of this post.)
So it is my hope that this post will simply focus on and challenge our own hearts on the judgments we make when we see someone we deem as immodestly dressed, walking into our church.
It is my hope that we will come to realize that behind each immodestly dressed woman, is a broken woman. Christian, and non-christian alike.
I can’t help but wonder what our churches would look like, if the gospel so captivated our souls…that even the most immodesty dressed woman could enter into our presence and feel accepted?
What would happen, if we approached each other like Jesus approached the woman caught in adultery? The very first thing he told her in her sin, was that she wasn’t condemned.
So shouldn’t the banner that is flying over our churches be, “There is no condemnation here!”?
What if, instead of being so quick to judge what we see on the outside of each other every Sunday, we actually looked at each other and saw what God was making of us on the inside…envisioning all that we will be someday on the other side of eternity?
Imagine what it would look like, to be so caught up in the grace of the the gospel, that we can celebrate and delight in each other, even in our messiness? Even in our immodesty?
What if we saw in each other what our Father in heaven sees when he looks at us?
The bible says when he looks at us, he sees the life and death of his perfect Son.
C.S. Lewis said that if we could see each other as beautiful as we will be in heaven…we’d be tempted to worship each other.
What would our relationships look like if we had that kind of grace coursing through our veins?
This doesn’t mean that there isn’t a time and place in the confines of our relationships with one another, to call each other out on our sin. Jesus told the woman caught in adultery that she wasn’t condemned. And then he called her to obedience.
But before we do that… (to continue reading, click here)
Please continue reading the article in its entirety on Kimberley’s blog before coming back to post a comment below! I’d love to hear your thoughts.