Teach Your Boys To Own Their Own Sins

Pendulum swings- that’s what we do.  Churchy people have been addressing immodestly dressed women for, well, as long as I can remember and I have a very long memory and I’m in my fifties.

It’s not that this is entirely a bad thing- it’s perfectly true that immodest dress is an issue that Christian women should care about and the Bible does say that quite clearly.  It’s just that we’ve only been addressing one side for most of those 50 years.  We don’t fix that by trying to toss all concerns about dressing modestly out the window, as I have seen many do lately.

We do it with good strong admonitions like this one, addressed to men:

We blame women for our struggles with sexual sin. Drawing attention like that sent the message: “Look what she’s doing to me! I am pure, but she tries to make me unclean!”

It’s time for Christian men to stop having immodest reactions to immodesty. Yes, female immodesty is a real thing, the Bible makes that clear. And women have responsibilities when it comes to modesty. But I believe it does you no good to think overmuch on that. After all…

1. Your purity is your responsibility. 

Does that mean you can do it on your own? No, but by the grace of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, we are talking about your house, your responsibility. Why am I emphasizing this? Because too many men blame women for their struggles with lust, even to the point of anger.

There’s more, and it’s really good stuff to teach your sons.  When we teach them that lust is something the girls make them do, we, and not those ‘bad’ girls, are actively putting stumbling blocks before them.  We are telling them that when they sin, it’s somebody else’s fault. They cannot overcome something if they don’t even think it’s their responsibility.



I have touched on this before

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  1. Rachel
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    The exclusive focus on women’s clothing in modesty discussions bothers me, too. In part, I dislike the notion that modesty is about sexuality/purity. It’s also about self-respect and the fact that there are just some things that other people don’t want to see.

    Mostly, I think that modesty is about social honesty. Neither men nor women should behave like they are available when they aren’t, nor should they behave like they are committed when they aren’t. I’ve written about that here: http://trialanderrorhomeec.blogspot.com/2012/02/morality-and-mansfield-park-part-ii.html

    I also think that male modesty is shamefully ignored. Male modesty isn’t just about teaching men to avert their eyes and discipline their minds (as we should all do), it’s also about teaching them to dress respectably and with consideration of the messages they send with their clothing and demeanor. This is where the “things people don’t need/want to see” thing comes into play: http://trialanderrorhomeec.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-clothes-make-man-boys-and-modesty.html

    Thank you for bringing this issue up. We all need to talk about it more.

  2. Lisa Beth W.
    Posted May 5, 2014 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    Absolutely. We should always teach our children to deal with their own individual struggles and sins, being very serious about them and looking to the Lord for help. NOT to be finger pointers.

  3. abba12
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 7:50 pm | Permalink


    I dress modestly, in fact I am skirts-only, I’m one of those ‘crazies’ who considers pants immodest/unfeminine
    But men equally need to control themselves. My husband and a close male family friend, who both grew up in christian households with no sense of modesty for women, were very confused when they encountered me, because, to them, averting eyes and controlling your own thoughts was THEIR responsibility, and they hadn’t encountered the idea that I, as a woman, should have anything to do with that.
    That is how it should be. This male friend of ours controls his thoughts, his mind and his actions, and if he thinks something impure that is HIS sin, completely. I dress modestly for many reasons, a big one for me being self-respect and believing I am worth more than being on public display. But last week I accidentally wore a top which was lower than I realized, and I had no way of covering the extra skin by the time I realized. If a christian man was having impure thoughts about me as a result of that, I believe it’s entirely his fault, not mine. Had I intentionally gone out with an immodest top I may be considered sinful, or at least unloving, by not caring about stumbling others. But I believe the bigger sin would actually be not valuing my body the way God intended and keeping that which should be special and sacred as such, and displaying myself sexually when I am married and should only be sexual with my husband.
    And lets face it. Some men find the mystery of a Burqa arousing. Some men will have impure thoughts no matter what you wear. This is a far more complex issue than whether or not a man should be able to see my shoulders or how many inches from the floor my skirt should be. My standards are mine, based on respect for myself as a daughter of the Lord, respect for my husband, and glory to God.

    And then there’s male modesty. It is true men are more visually driven, but does that mean women are not visually driven at all? Or that NO women are more visual than most? I’m sorry, but I find being surrounded by a bunch of shirtless men around a pool just as inappropriate as a man surrounded by girls in bikinis. I admit it caused struggles. And I don’t find it ok for a man to walk around in his underwear without any shame or concern (ok, in that instance it was actually just gross, but you get my point, women don’t walk around in their underwear when guests are in their home, but I’ve encountered two men comfortable doing so)

    • Headmistress, zookeeper
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

      Good points, all of them.

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