An Open Letter to My Young Sisters
This letter is a plea for help. Be my ally in purity and faithfulness to God. Let us help each other go to heaven together.
With warmer months quickly approaching, I have a plea for my Christian sisters:
Though I am weak and imperfect, I strive for a pure and holy life, mind, and heart. But it is difficult. I struggle with lust. I know of no man, single or married, who does not struggle with this. This fight is more difficult for your Christian brothers than you could ever imagine. Our minds are totally different than yours when it comes to visual stimuli.
I do not expect the world to care if my thoughts are pure, but I expect you to care. I expect you to cherish the faithfulness of your brothers. This is why it breaks my heart when I see Christian women wearing what the world deems appropriate, but what God deems immodest.
By the decision of what clothes to put on your body, you are deciding either to be my ally or my enemy in purity. Before you put on anything, ask if it would help me or hinder me in my personal struggle to keep my heart focused on holy things. I want to be very clear with you. If you wear short shorts or skirts, tight pants (yoga pants!), low-cut tops, and tops that show a lot of skin, much less swimwear that covers as much skin as underwear, you have chosen not to be my ally in fighting against lust and striving toward purity. You may be oblivious to this; I do not assume the worst about you. This is not about control, or preference, or what is cute or practical, or what the (unchristian) world thinks. This is about you prioritizing our shared faithfulness. The world does not care about this. But my hope is that my Christian sisters would not knowingly run roughshod over the weaknesses of their brothers. We need your help to be the men that we are struggling to be!
There is nothing more beautiful than a woman who inspires holy and wholesome thoughts within the heart of a man. I am not calling for everyone to wear burlap sacks. But if you are confused about the type of clothing I have specified, ask a mature, faithful, wise sister her opinion. I can direct you to a few. Too many Christian parents fail to instill this value in their children. I honestly cannot understand why—other than the thought that they have just been deceived and their consciences seared by the world’s standard of appropriateness. Living a faithful and holy life will often make you peculiar and unpopular, but that should be irrelevant to us.
This is not a reprimand. This is a plea for help. Be my ally in purity and faithfulness to God. Let us help each other go to heaven together.
What If They Don’t Listen?
In a perfect brotherhood, if a male Christian made a plea to his sisters in Christ to dress in a way that will help him and his fellow brothers to keep their minds pure, all Christian women would promptly check their wardrobe and would go the extra mile to not cause God’s children to stumble (Matthew 18:6) but to make sure they are pleasing God in humble modesty (1 Timothy 2:9-10). However, the Lord’s church on Earth is not perfect (1 John 1:8). Therefore, some will hear and still will not get it (Matthew 13:18-19); some will hear and may change for a little while but soon will forget (Matthew 13:20-21); and some will hear but they will be too entangled with the world to really care (Matthew 13:22).
So, what do we do if they don’t listen?
We still acknowledge our weakness.
One main reason we are losing our battle on modesty is because we (especially men) do not want to acknowledge that we are weak in this area. We do not want to acknowledge that lust is a real threat for fear of people looking down on us. We play the game of “the strong Christian” who cannot be shaken by anything. Instead, we should remember that falling is a constant danger even for the strongest (1 Corinthians 9:27; 10:12).
Years ago, I heard a Christian who boasted of being able to go to the beach and see women in bikinis and still not have problems with lust. Later on, in a mission trip, I was talking to an elder in the church and referred to him what I had heard from that Christian. The elder said: “That Christian is a liar or he is not a normal man.”
Fathers and husbands should acknowledge this to advise their daughters and wives to dress modestly in deference to other Christian males; women should acknowledge this to carefully analyze their dress code; and young Christian males should acknowledge this to keep out of the “danger zone.”
We still acknowledge our responsibility.
The fact that some may fail does not give us a free ticket to do the same. Causing others to stumble is a serious matter with serious eternal consequences (Mark 9:42). Elders, deacons, preachers, teachers, and all Christians should burn with indignation at the thought (2 Corinthians 11:29). Sadly, we have become experts at excusing immodesty.
In the middle of this disappointing reality, we should remember that Matthew 5:27-29 still holds true for men. We still have to give 100% when others may only give 10%. We will be judged for the actions we can control, and we will not be able to excuse our behavior on others’ failures (2 Corinthians 5:10).
We still acknowledge our God.
Every sin is an offense to our holy God, and He sees everyone everywhere at every time. God was constantly in Joseph’s mind that, when he was invited to let lust run wild with a married woman, he said: “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?” (Genesis 39:9). When this lust-filled woman could not stand any more reasoning, she grabbed Joseph by his garment and demanded to be pleased. In honoring God with his mind and body, Joseph did not play the “strong” but knew it was time to run if he was to keep his purity (Genesis 39:11-12; cf. Judges 16). What a great young man for all of us—old and young men—to imitate!
May God help us as we strive to have a pure mind every single day of our lives.