Recently a Christian woman wrote a blog post about why she was no longer going to wear yoga pants in public. Here goal was to honor her husband and to lift up modesty as important. Little did she know the storm that her simple post would cause. She ended up getting so much attention that she and her husband were even on a popular, national morning show being interviewed about it. She garnered much support for her stance and at least as much criticism. Many were left wondering:
What’s the big deal?
Many have been left asking, what the big deal is. After all, they’re just pants. But, I would argue that it is a big deal. It is more than just pants. In fact the issue is about more than just cloths. It’s about LUST and accountability among believers. It’s about avoiding sin and helping others do the same.
What does LUST have to do with it? The Jews of the New Testament knew that adultery was bad, but they limited it to an actual, physical act. Jesus, however, raised the bar on that thought saying, “…everyone who looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”(1) You see even the things a man might think when looking at a woman matter. Jesus is saying that simply have lustful THOUGHTS about a woman is the same as adultery. If your reading this and don’t think that what a woman wears can lead a man to have lustful thoughts, then you don’t know men very well.
It’s not my job to police men’s thoughts. This is a popular argument that comes up with the issue of modesty. There is some truth to this statement. The Bible instructs us to “take every thought captive.” (2) Therefore, we are responsible, ourselves, for the thoughts we have. But, Paul takes it a bit further. Some people see Paul eating meat that had been sacrificed to idols and they ask him about that. He goes on to explain that since the idols are simply manmade things, then they have no power and the food sacrificed to them is OK to eat. But, he ends this discussion by saying,”…if food causes my brother to fall, I will never again eat meat, so that I won’t cause my brother to fall.”(3)
Paul knew the meat was harmless. You see, Paul knew that this meat was harmless and OK to eat, but there were others for whom eating this might lead to sin. So, Paul tells us that if by eating meat he might cause someone else to sin, then he was not going to do it. Paul is specifically talking about meat in this instance, but the bigger principle Paul’s teaching is that we should not do ANYTHING that might cause a brother to stumble.
Yoga pants ARE harmless. In and of themselves, yoga pants or tights, or whatever other name these types of things are given are harmless. EXCEPT in their power to cause another to sin. Is it a woman’s fault if she wears these pants and a man looks at her lustfully? NO! But, could she have done something to help him? YES! As an adult; as a maturing Christian would you intentionally do something that you knew would cause a sibling to sin? As children we may have done this, but we are not children any more. The Bible refers to fellow believers as brothers and sisters in Christ. So, would you, as an adult want to do something to cause your brother or sister in Christ to sin? I would hope not.
Preteens are not adults. Certainly as an adult and as a Christian I think most of us would say that we would want to avoid doing something that might cause a brother or sister in Christ to sin. But, PRETEENS ARE NOT ADULTS. Preteens lack many of the filters that we learn as adults. In some ways this is beautiful as it allows them to be creative and spontaneous in ways that most adults are incapable of being. But, it also means that they can’t see that the way they dress can effect the people around them. It is our responsibility, as parents, to provide these filters for them.
This is not about YOGA PANTS. This post is not about yoga pants and whether Christians should wear them or not. If I’m honest I don’t think that any woman should wear them in public, but that’s not what this post is about. This post is about modesty. This CAN mean yoga pants or it can mean short skirts or low cut blouses. It can mean any number of things.
The point is that we should think about the people around us when we make choices in life. This can be the choice about what to wear. This can be the choice about what to do or what to drink or eat. The Bible instructs us that “…whatever you do, do everything for God’s glory.” (4)
A good friend of mine brought up a good point regarding this issue. I think I was too broad when I said that yoga pants shouldn’t be worn in public. When worn under a long blouse or similar garment that covers the butt, etc then they are harmless.
Thanks, Jennifer Bunker for helping me clarify my thought.
- Matthew 5:28
- 2 Corinthians 10:5
- 1 Corinthians 8:13
- 1 Corinthians 10:31