Shocking title, isn't it? I offer no apology. There comes a time when you have to call it like you see it, and it has reached the point where you don't have to look far to find a little girl dressed in "the attire of a harlot" (Prov. 7:10). As a matter of fact, you don't have to look outside the assembling of Christians! If this is how they dress inside, when meeting with the saints, how are they dressing when they are going to school, playing outside with their friends, or in any other public place?
The attire I speak of is something you might see Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera wear in their latest scintillating video (that is, if you watch MTV---a problem in and of itself). This "clothing" consists of skirts that barely cover the loins, let alone the thigh, blouses that show the midriff and barely cover the chest - all painted on so tight you wonder if the sizing on the apparel is wrong. Such clothing is expected if you see a prostitute on the street, but is not expected when you see our little girls in the church - girls who are supposedly being raised in Christian homes.
This problem is not isolated to our teenage daughters. Immodesty in teenagers does not happen by accident. It is the result of parents who encourage immodesty in their little girls twelve and under. While encourage might seem like a strong word, how else do you describe a situation where parents actually buy this immodest attire for them. It takes purpose to instill modesty and it takes purpose to instill immodesty. We reap what we sow.
The Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it" (Prov. 22:6). If children are taught to wear clothing that God considers nakedness in their young and formative years, what kind of clothing, conduct and behavior will be reaped when they are old? The natural tendency is to grow more liberal, not more conservative. Thus, it takes a major paradigm shift to swing from immodest to modest. However, such a paradigm shift implies a period of many years where children were encouraged in sinful conduct - for it is sinful to dress immodestly (1 Pet. 3:1-7; 1 Tim. 2:8-10). Such being the case, why are we surprised when our little girls go the exact way we trained them to go?
If this isn't enough, rationalizations are offered for functional uniforms that are also immodest. For example, cheerleaders are typically required to wear very short skirts and bloomers that often have text stamped on the backside; their routines require them to expose themselves in a way that is anything but modest. Other sporting uniforms are similarly rationalized (e.g., swimsuits, running shorts, dance attire, etc.). Since their children engage in these activities, parents argue that the immodest attire cannot be helped and should therefore be tolerated... even accepted.
Contrary to popular belief, it can be helped and it must not be tolerated. Such activities are optional, not mandatory. Such activities should be discouraged, not encouraged. Were they discouraged at a young age, they would not be desired in future ages. Our little girls do not need to take dance class to be well-rounded Christians. Being a popular cheerleader is "a way" that leads away from God, not closer to God. A quick look at an NFL or NBA cheerleader provides adequate evidence. Do you want your little daughter to grow up and dress in such a way and engage in such activities that draw men's eyes toward them in a lustful way (Matt. 5:28; Luke 17:1-2)? Immodesty in our little girls is the first step of a much larger plot, devised by Satan, and unwittingly orchestrated by parents to so desensitize their little girls' consciences and soften them up for a much larger world of immorality. If Satan can get them to forget how to blush, they are primed for a whole new genre of sin in their lives (Jer. 6:15). So, how does whetting your daughter's appetite for things they must turn away from when they are older prepare them to be godly Christian women?
The wise man wrote, "It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth" (Lam. 3:27). To set one standard when children are young, and expect another when they are old, is not only contrary to the wisdom of God - it is folly! Parents fail their children when they fail to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Eph. 6:4). While it is true that this burden ultimately falls on fathers, reality cannot be ignored - the church is directly impacted as well.
When parents fail to take responsibility for their children's attire and behavior at a young age, and their children's conduct becomes unacceptable as they grow, elders and brethren are forced to deal with it when the children are older. Defensive (and guilty) parents accuse preachers who preach against such immodesty of "targeting" their children. Elders who stand strong against such behavior are labeled by the same as "out of touch" and "binding where God has not bound." Thus, the expectation of the parents of these children is to compromise, lest they lose their children to the world. Unfortunately, some of these children are already lost to the world and it is not the church that is to blame. Nevertheless, some will blame the church, its leadership, and those who call it like it is. The truth is that the parents trained the child in the way she went and everyone associated is left to bear the fruits of these labors and pray that the grace of God will remain long enough for her to return to the Lord. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Parents must train children in general (sons can dress immodestly too!), and their daughters in particular, to appreciate modesty and disapprove of immodesty. The church must expect modesty and reprove, rebuke and even discipline those who teach and practice otherwise (2 Thes. 3:6). Let us not dress our little girls like prostitutes, but like girls who will grow up to profess godliness with good works.
By Jonathan Perz
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