While vacationing in San Diego last week, my family and I went to Sea World. As we entered the park, I noticed a large group of people wearing matching “Team Jesus” T-shirts. How bold, I thought. Christ front and center. Score one for religious freedom!
As we stood in line to ride a roller coaster, several teenagers from the group talked animatedly ahead of us. The two girls wore a typical teen summer fashion: short shorts (when did those make a comeback?). I’d guess they were no older than 15, and each wore makeup, which I thought was unnecessary on such young, fresh faces.
I watched these teenage girls with “Team Jesus” displayed across their chests and wondered why their parents, particularly their fathers, allowed them to leave the house in such tiny shorts and made-up faces. Most teenagers are vulnerable to peer pressure and are tempted to follow the latest immodest fashion trends—I expect more from Christian girls. But it’s not all their fault: They need guidance from the church and especially from their parents.
I observed the girls out of curiosity, knowing that some of the men standing in line observed them for other reasons. I thought about the Christian men who had to make an effort not to gawk at all the flesh on display in the park and could only imagine what they deal with on a daily basis.
Then I thought about the unbelievers in line. If I noticed that the message on the girls’ shirts and their clothing were incongruous, surely others in line did likewise. Did unbelievers think members of the entire group were hypocrites?
While it’s true that teenage girls are well aware of their power of attractiveness, I also had to wonder if the older women in this Christian group, especially the mothers, had explained to these girls that how they dress could encourage or deter lust in men, which as Christ said, leads to adulterous behavior, even if it’s just a look. Of course, each of us is responsible for our own sins, but Christ also taught that believers shouldn’t lead others, especially little ones, to sin in thought or deed. Plus, as Paul writes in Titus, older women “are to teach what is good, and so train the young women … to be self-controlled, pure,” which will not only help discourage lust, but also encourage the wearer to seek holiness.
When God made Adam and Eve, they weren’t ashamed of their nakedness. After the Fall, they were ashamed and covered themselves. Through their disobedience, sin came into the world. And while believers are no longer slaves to sin, we’re still born with sin natures. So even though women and teenage girls can show little or no flesh and still be the object of lust, Christian women should do their part, even in this age of political correctness, to deter sin by dressing modestly and encouraging their younger sisters in Christ to do likewise.