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Do Your Clothes Leave You Over-Exposed?

"And the LORD God made for Adam and for his wife garments of skins and clothed them." Those words from Genesis 3:21 (English Standard Version) are a reminder that, believe it or not and like it or not, the God who created human beings has something to say about clothes and how people should dress. Proverbs 7:10 describes a woman wearing "the attire of a harlot." She was, as the English Standard Version says, "dressed as a prostitute." And then in the New Testament we read, ". . that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing" (1 Timothy 2:9). In the Bible God weighs in on the age-old problem of improper and immodest and indecent clothing. And He says some things millions in the world don't want to hear, and, sadly, some in the church refuse to seriously consider. The way many people dress is a mess. One young lady told a friend, "Whenever I'm down in the dumps, I buy myself a dress." The friend replied, "I always wondered where you got them." Then there was the advertising placard shared by two businesses — one, an insurance agency and the other a lingerie shop: "Full coverage on left . . .partial coverage on right." In February, 1995, Jerry Adler asked, "Have we Become a Nation of Slobs?" That was the title of his Newsweek article (February 20, 1995; p 56). The sub-title stated, "Let's just say that the concept of `proper attire' is hanging by a thread." Now, eighteen years later, it is clear that whatever thread proper attire might once have been hanging by has broken. Today there seems to be no standard of decency or propriety regarding how people dress. Americans strip down to show off tanned skin, six-pack abs, pierced belly buttons, body paint, and peek-a-boo tattoos on every part of the body, from breasts to buttocks to thighs to ankles. A walk down a street or a mall reveals a loss of all sense of modesty and decency concerning our bodies and how we display them. Truly, our dress, or lack of it, has become a mess. By way of mini-skirts, short-shorts, low-cut jeans, sagging pants, push-up bras, plunging necklines, shirts and blouses that stop at mid-belly or are completely removed, and pants with too many holes in all the wrong places, millions are taking it off and showing it off and letting more and more of it hang out. The result is an America that is over-exposed. All of this has forced schools, prisons, jails, judges, and some businesses to develop and enforce basic "dress codes," even as some Christians insist we can't do that in the church because, after all, what is immodest to or on one person may not be immodest to or on another. Try telling that to businesses that post "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Service" signs on their doors.

As temperatures rise, millions will take off their clothes and expose more skin. As in every other area of life, Christians are called to listen to a different voice concerning what they decide to wear or not wear. God's Book is clear: we don't have to be unfashionable to please the Lord, but we must not be immodest. Doctors declare over-exposure to sun damages your skin. And God makes clear too much exposed skin can damage your soul and other souls, too. Do your clothes please God or leave you over-exposed?

All of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" Galatians 3:27 (NIV)

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ