Perverted Modesty

It sounds like a contradiction, doesn’t it? Consider for a moment, however, that one of the definitions of “perverted” is “having been corrupted or distorted from its original course, meaning, or state.” As I read different opinions on modesty, I see that people are recognizing forms of it that have been “corrupted or distorted from its original course, meaning, or state.”

A corrupted form of modesty starts with a wrong assumption. Here are two examples: taking for granted that sexuality and anything related to it is inherently evil, or assuming that men are incapable, mentally or even physically, of resisting temptation.

Based on these wrong assumptions, modesty will have wrong motivations. Women may cover themselves because they are ashamed of their inherently evil bodies, or because they are afraid of licentious men (meaning all of them!)

Distorted forms of modesty also tend to have a wrong focus, fixated on the negative: that which is wrong, that which is harmful, that which is evil (some of which, as we just saw, is not even correctly defined.)

I’m glad that people are recognizing and rejecting such corrupted forms of modesty!

I also see, however, that some people are rejecting not just the corrupted forms, but the entire concept of modesty, including its “original course, meaning, or state.” Undistorted modesty is a virtue that stands in stark contrast to its corrupted counterparts.

True modesty starts with a recognition of reality. God created male and female and declared that His creation was good; sexuality is not inherently evil, it’s inherently wonderful. God intends for a married couple to enjoy what He created in and for each other.

Sin, however, is inherently evil. While it is possible to resist temptation, the reality is that temptation is a real struggle for both men and women. A man can be tempted to lust, to pursue a sexual relationship outside of marriage, or to idolize sex, valuing it more than he values God or other people. A woman can be tempted to envy others’ beauty, to flaunt her own body, or to consider her beauty and sexual attractiveness to be the source of her value and worth rather than recognizing her value and worth in Christ.

With the correct recognition of reality, modesty has correct motivations. Knowing the goodness of sexuality, a woman can cover herself to reserve her sexual beauty solely for her marriage relationship, as God intends. Knowing that temptation can be an unpleasant, prolonged, and even exhausting battle, she can select clothes based on consideration and compassion for other people rather than only on her own preferences.

Here already we see two positive points of the focus of true modesty: that sex is a great thing to be reserved for and enjoyed in marriage, and that one’s actions should be based on love, consideration, respect, and compassion for others. In addition, true modesty emphasizes the great value of God, the people that He created in His image, and our relationships with them.

I hope that more people will recognize and delight in the uncorrupted virtue of modesty!

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