Alex and Brett Harris of The Rebelution gave women an unusual, but helpful, Valentine's Day gift in The Modesty Survey. I was traveling when everyone else in cyberspace found out about this, but with spring soon upon us, it's not too late to revisit the subject. For this project, Alex and Brett hosted an anonymous discussion between Christian guys and girls about modesty. Hundreds of girls contributed to the 148-question survey and more than 1,600 guys submitted more than 150,000 responses--including 25,000 text responses--over a 20-day period this past January.
The point of this survey is not to impose a set of self-righteous rules for women's clothing. Rather, it is to understand how the choices we make each day affect the men around us in their pursuit of holiness. Many men wrote poignantly and directly about the need for modesty among believing women:
(Age 24) Sisters in Christ, you really have no concept of the struggles that guys face on a daily basis. Please, please, please take a higher standard in the ways you dress. True, we men are responsible for our thoughts and actions before the Lord, but it is such a blessing when we know that we can spend time with our sisters in Christ, enjoying their fellowship without having to constantly be on guard against ungodly thoughts brought about by the inappropriate ways they sometimes dress. In 1 Corinthians 12 the apostle Paul presents believers as the members of one body - we have to work together. Every Christian has a special role to play in the body of Christ. That goal is to bring glory to the Savior through an obedient, unified body of believers - please don't hurt that unity by dressing in ways that may tempt your brothers in Christ to stumble.
(Age 23) There is one that is more in love with you than any man can ever be. You are incredibly valuable to Him, and you never need question His commitment to Him. He thinks you're beautiful in the morning without your makeup, and He'll think you're just as beautiful when you're 80. He is Christ. In you should treat Him with the loyalty and respect of a Husband. There is no need to attract a man to you - Christ will lead the right man to you. And when someone that loves you as much as Christ arranges a marriage, you may rest assured it will be far better than anything you could have done. You are His - be content there.
(Age 20) If I could only persuade you of one thing, it would be that God's ways are best. Our heavenly Father has our welfare in mind, and His commandments are not burdensome. Obedience is rarely easy (we men have our own battles to fight), but it is always blessed. I am convinced that a young woman who submits her heart to God in this area will experience blessing as a result. After reading this survey, some may decide to pursue modesty quite grudgingly, in order to avoid causing their brothers to stumble, but viewing it as a great personal sacrifice nonetheless. I can only hope that this is not how it is perceived by most of you. I hope you understand the value and significance of true modesty. And I hope you will not trade that blessing for a mess of pottage.
(Age 18) Sisters in Christ, we men in society have miserably failed at appreciating true womanhood. On behalf of every man out there who has painted a distorted picture in your life of what a real woman is, especially along the lines of modesty, I apologize deeply. There are many Godly men out there, as I'm sure this survey will prove, that are dying to give you their utmost respect when you choose to follow God's leading in this area of modesty in your life. We back you up all the way and want to do anything we can to help you. And we ask that you do all you can to help us as we struggle through this world of sin together.
(Age 26) In high school, the place of greatest temptation toward lust was my church. Girls wore things to church that they thought were fashionable and dressy, but they would not have passed the dress code at my public high school. Church should NEVER be a guy's greatest source of temptation, in any way. Please, be especially careful when picking out your dress clothes for church, and make sure they are modest when sitting and kneeling (if you kneel in church), not just standing in front of the mirror.
To read more, check out The Modesty Survey's results. Bonus: Alex and Brett have obtained permission to post C.J. Mahaney's pastoral message on the same topic, The Soul of Modesty. This is a must-have for your iPod!