What Would Grandpa Say?

     [EGW editor's note: Published in the August 2013 issue of Think magazine, used by author’s permission.]

Modesty
by Jim Mettenbrink

     Societies’ curse of pornography did not begin with the internet, but is seen on the ancient vases in Greek museums and the ancient sculptures of Corinth and Ephesus.  Pornography blatantly adorned the walls of the homes preserved in the AD 79 eruption of Mt Vesuvius at Pompeii.  Although the dictionary states the root word for pornography is a combination of the French “porne” and the Greek “graphos,” meaning writing about prostitutes, the root porne actually comes from the ancient Greek “porneia” meaning unlawful sex, or any sexual activity outside the marriage of a man and a woman.  Literally, pornography is writing about prohibited sex.  However, referring to the 7th commandment in His sermon on the mountain, Jesus said, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Merely looking at a woman who is not your wife, with unlawful sexual desires is a mental sin – adultery.  “Looking” is the key.
     A person can look at a modestly dressed woman with admiration of her beauty and character without causing sexual desires
.  On the other hand, when a woman dresses in such a fashion as to cause lust, she sins for at least two reasons.  She has let her Christian light go out, and, she causes men to “look,” leading to lust, even when they have no desire to do so, thus she is a cause to their sin.
     In the same sermon, Jesus declared, “
The lamp of the body is the eye.  If therefore your eye is good, your whole body will be full of light.  But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness” (Matthew 6:22-23).  The eye fills the mind of each of us.  It is indeed the door to our heart.  Everything about you the person comes from the depths of your spirit – “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).  The greatest challenge of life!

     Grandpa says “Guarding your heart begins with guarding your eyes,” – what you simply see
.  Most societies are image conscious, thus advertising begins with the visual.  When you first see a person, you observe how he/she is dressed.  T-shirt logos exist because of this fact.  The expression, “Clothes make the man” acknowledges the impression made through our eyes.  Now regarding pornography and our eyes.  Can a person’s clothes be pornographic?  What is pornographic and what is not?
     The word modesty immediately brings to mind, modest clothing
.  The reason is “...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), which obviously applies to how women dress.  In summary, the meaning is to dress appropriately, which to the Christian means to dress so as not to cause unlawful sexual desires in others.  Do your clothes stir people to have thoughts of fornication?
     It is ironic that folks dress their little girls in short dresses, then as they enter the teens, parents insist that girls dress modestly, that is, they cover their bodies so as not to be sexually provocative
.  That is where the battle begins – parent vs teen!  In a 2007 study, a researcher for the primary religious pollster, George Barna, stated, “Our studies show that the faith principles and practices that a child absorbs by age thirteen boldly shapes their spirituality for the duration of their life. The seeds of dressing immodestly were planted by the parents, then as the child grows, the parents want a caterpillar to butterfly transformation.  The divinely inspired wise man wrote “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6).  That training, teaching and discipline starts at birth and must be consistent.  Modesty must be part of this training.

     In 1960, the most beautiful girl in high school, who was smart and an excellent student to whom all were attracted, dared to shorten her dress to reveal just a part of her kneecap
.  All of us boys could not wait to see her come into the room, to incite our porno thoughts.  Shortly thereafter, British designer Mary Quandt introduced, or better stated, “seduced,” the willing womanhood into the miniskirt…  and the boys loved it or more candidly, foamed lustily at the mouth for it.  At that time she said, the miniskirt declares that a girl is willing, its simply a matter of her choice with whom.  Her basic attitude was, “Good taste is death; vulgarity life.”  In that same interview, she was asked “What is the point of fashion, where is it leading?”  She replied, “Sex.”  In 1988, she stated her aim was, “to dress women so men would feel like tearing the wrapping off.”  In other words to incite thoughts of fornication.  Now the world is drowning in lust.  We often see runners in their sports garb.  Never mind the short, short sports shorts!  This summer, I saw a college student in training, running down the main street in her bikini.  Was she a person or an object?
     A 2009 Princeton psychology study of the effects of fully clothed women versus those in bikinis on young men revealed that viewing women in bikinis “activated brain regions associated with objects or ‘things you manipulate with your hands,....’” Women were transformed from persons to objects!
     When a woman asks, “Is this too short?”, or “too tight?”, or “show too much?”, what is she revealing about herself
?  She wants to present herself as a piece of meat for consumption!  The godless attitude of Humanism (I am my own god, so do as I desire) now prompt, “I will dress as I want to, your thoughts are your problem!”  Remember, immodesty changes a woman into real life pornography – an object, no longer a person.  It also reveals a lack of “love your neighbor” sin.
     Ultimately, your love for your neighbor begins with your concern for his thoughts.

     In this society how can a man guard his thoughts
?  After all, the pornographic revue begins at the Walmart parking lot, or the Sunday newspaper ads...or ...does it begin when your daughter or wife walks out of the house each day?  What are they advertising?
     Commentator Michelle Malkin sharply stated, “From Madonna, to Britney and Christina, to the under-dressed teens at the mall, legions of girls have been raised to believe that letting it all hang out is the only true path to womanhood....The era of radical feminist sexual liberation has produced a generation of shameless skanks
. She further admonished, “Where were their mamas – and dadas – to teach them that slutty is not sexy?
     Indeed
!  Where is the Christlike love of husbands and fathers to ensure their wives and daughters are not contributing to men’s mental sin?  Grandpa says, “Girls, present yourself as you would to Jesus, not as porn!
     



      © Jim Mettenbrink; used by permission; courtesy of the Brookings church of Christ; 150608
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