Beauty on Parade

I went to a car show recently and boy, there were some beautiful rides.  Perfect paint jobs were shining, chrome was clean and polished, and high-horsepower engines were on display.  It was easy to walk around and gape at all those beautifully restored mid-century cruisers and 60’s and 70’s muscle cars.  But the cars weren’t the only things on display.

While my wife and I were taking a picture of a car, a very scantily-clad young woman and her husband walked in front of us and our mouths dropped open for entirely the wrong reason.  She was wearing cutoff jeans that exposed pretty much her entire backside and her breasts were completely spilling out of her top.  The two of them strutted on by, and it was obvious that the woman was enjoying all the attention she was generating.  Our first impression was that she was dressed like a prostitute, and while that may not have been true, there was no doubt that her choice of clothing was meant to garner sexual attention.

I guess what struck me the most was the fact that her husband couldn’t care less that people were staring at his wife in such a derogatory manner, most likely viewing her in some inappropriate, sexual way.  Basically, this woman put her beauty on parade and was very openly revealing what only her husband had the right to see.  And I had to ask myself, should a man who truly loves his wife encourage her to present herself in such a manner, to essentially encourage her to be objectified by what she wears?

I’m sure I may already be stoking the ire of some who view me as trying to step on your right to wear whatever you want.  Some may be thinking that it’s my responsibility not to look, and in that sense you would be right.  But believe it or not, it was my wife who noticed this situation first, and we found ourselves disheartened that this is not just some passing fad at a weekend car show.  In fact, it’s not just a problem with the world anymore, but also amongst some Christian women as well.  Women who are commanded by God to reserve their bodies for just their husbands to see are no longer seen as respectable, gentle spirits.  Instead, they are being seen for their sexuality and what they are revealing.

A very similar situation such as this is recorded for us in the Bible and it’s an example of how a dedicated wife should carry herself in a public setting.  King Xerxes had just finished a six month party displaying to his kingdom how awesome he was and he decided to hold a weeks long banquet, again in his own honor (Esther 1:4-5).  It was at the end of this banquet that he called for his wife, Queen Vashti, to come and parade herself in front of him and his drunk friends because she was apparently quite a looker (Esther 1:10-12).  It was the Queen’s response that showed the honor befitting of a respectable woman and the response that should be shown by any woman who claims to be a Christian.

The Queen knew full well that she was being paraded around for the sexual enjoyment of men who were not her husband.  She had enough respect for herself and enough bravery to deny the request, even though it would most assuredly anger the king.  This wasn’t some prudish act or a display of arrogance.  It was knowing how to respectfully present ourselves to those who are not our spouse.  For the Christian, it’s knowing that God calls us to a higher standard than the rest of the world wants to abide by.

Of course, in our society today, this problem is not only confined to women.  It has become acceptable to flaunt our bodies to feel proud or gain attention.  I live in Florida, so you can imagine I’ve seen my fair share of this out in public.  But this isn’t what God wants us to do.  First, we must remember who made us and who we belong to.  God has undoubtedly made creation very beautiful, and that definitely includes the human form.  But we Christians are the home of God, the Holy Spirit, and have been bought back from the slavery of sin at a very great price.  We should, therefore, honor God with the way we carry ourselves physically (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Finally, when we marry, we hand over the rights to our body to our spouse.  The two become one flesh (Genesis 2:24) and agree to fulfill their marital duties with only each other (1 Corinthians 7:3-4).  Our bodies are not meant to be put on display for the sexual satisfaction of others.  We are to present ourselves sexually to only our spouse lest we be led into temptation and possibly the sin of adultery.

To all the husbands and wives…by all means, be proud of who God made you to be.  Enjoy one another sexually, for God made you compatible for that very reason.  But keep those things sacred and private, within the confines of the marriage, so that one day you may not be judged harshly (Hebrews 13:4).

-Joe

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6 thoughts on “Beauty on Parade

  1. The whole point of Vashti’s demise was that he rebellion to disobey her husband/king might get around and all the women in the kingdom might think that it was okay to disobey their husbands. Esther was chosen because she would submit even to the slave Haggai’s instruction, how much more would she submit to her husband/king?
    Firstly, one should never assume that everyone is a Christian and has the same beliefs as a moral code. If that woman and her husband aren’t Christians, then we’re reminded not to judge outsiders. Secondly, car shows are primarily for the benefit of men – as long as they’ve been operating, scantily clad women have been part of the action. She’s basically following tradition; which, as a Christian, is something you can likely appreciate.
    The other day a Christian was complaining about the pornography being used as a weapon against masculinity itself – saying that even Christian women were wearing less and less compared to what they used to. What he hadn’t realized is that like Car Shows, Churches are dominated by men. Men primarily run the denomination, men decide what women wear – it’s traditional that way. The women are just doing what men want them to do regardless of what the men say they want. Men might say that they want women as modest as the Amish or Muslim women, but men react more favorably to less modest clothes. Since women dress for the men – and not the other way around, much of their choices are not exactly modest.

    1. Joe Butler

      Vashti’s situation was a unique one in that they lived in a society that worshipped pagan gods. It would be unwise to assume that she disobeyed her husband out of reverence for God. I use the story to illustrate that Christians today must choose to serve God first and foremost and to always present ourselves in a way that honors and glorifies him. Christians do not have the liberty to create our own moral code but to obey the commands and standard of morality that God lays out for us in the Bible. We will never be ale to attain righteousness outside of the cleansing blood of Jesus, but we should pursue righteousness and holiness just that same.
      I’m not sure I follow your assertion that church is dominated by men. If a body of believers is following God, they will treat everyone equally as is stated in Galatians 3:28. God has designed a hierarchy of leadership which is layed out in Ephesians 5:22-33, but those positions of authority are to be honored and treated with respect from those who will have to answer to God for their actions.
      Like Joshua, all I can say is that me and my household will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15), but I am also responsible to judge wisely and discern whether it is appropriate for my wife, daughter, and I to dress in a manner that doesn’t honor God. There’s no doubt that men and women react favorably to less modesty these days, and this is an area where the church has not remained holy and separated from the world. We have much difficulty in teaching these types of doctrines when the members of the church aren’t even adhering to them. That was the purpose of the post; to remind Christians that we are held to a Godly standard, not the standards of the world.

    1. Joe Butler

      There’s no doubt that some Christian women and men are failing in respect to our modesty. We have a standard to uphold and God has been very clear as to the manner of righteousness he would have us live. Of course we cannot meet that standard on our own , but we can sure try even if it’s to show our gratitude for his saving grace.

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