It’s finally getting warm now in Sydney so we can finally start wearing real summer clothes!
It’s also that time of year when I start having my internal dilemna over the question – is it too short? Yes I’m referring to girls shorts/skirts/dresses. Usually the dilemna arises in several forms (all of these have come up one way or another):
- A female youth grouper brought her non-Christian friend to your summer camp and the friend wore short-shorts which the guys found unhelpful.
- A female youth grouper wore too short shorts/skirt to youth group? or a social?
- A fellow female youth group leader wore a short dress to church?
- I want to buy a new pair of shorts but last time it took 2 months to find something since the shops only sell really short ones
- I want to go to the beach/pool with Christian friends, not sure what is helpful/unhelpful, see other Christians wearing what I considered unhelpful previously…
Some of the above don’t have straight forward answers. The problem is there are so many opinions and ideas on what is ‘too short’. I also see many of my fellow sisters unsure about this area. Honestly I’m still trying to figure it out but here’s what I got so far.
1. For Christians
Firstly I want to set out the scope, is that its really for Christians only. If my non-Christian colleague turns up to a party with other non Christians then of course its not really appropriate to impose our Christian way of living on an unbeliever. Doesn’t make sense and shows Christianity is about rules. Not much point doing much unless they are a repentant believer…
2. Heart Issues
So we’ve established we’re working with sisters in Christ. I suppose the first thing I think about for myself and others is firstly, do I or the person have our attitudes in the right place?
- Do we want to glorify God in all we do? (1 Cor 6:20, 10:31)
- Do we want to live holy lives different from the crowd for Christ’s sake vs. conforming to the world (Rom 12:1-2)
- Are we concerned for our brother’s purity? There’s so much temptation in the world it’d be nice not to have to struggle inside the church
I didn’t even know guys find some things unhelpful until I wore something once and a kind brother had to point it out to me (embarassing)…also my dad had to caution me on how much skin I show in the presence of my young brother…
Addressing these kinds of questions should probably come first. If we don’t have those things right in our hearts, again just making someone wear longer shorts/skirts/dresses isn’t going to build them up in Christ but just place more rules/laws which is not what being Christian is about!
Then what does the Bible say about this? I’m sure many of us shall bring to mind this verse:
I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God. (1 Tim 2:9-10, NIV)
- Modest = Not bold or self-assertive
- Propriety = Appropriate
- Decency = Modest or appropriate haha thanks merriam webster
3. So Practically Speaking
I find many of the girls I’ve come across are lovely girls who do want to live for Jesus but they may not know how to live it out in practice in this area. This is the hardest bit. When I was a kid at church, I remember even jeans were frowned on for a while! So its hard to have ‘blanket rules’. Every culture/context will mean something different, but every culture/context will have what is considered immodest or inappropriate. E.g.
- In parts of the middle east anything outside totally covering up your body is immodest
- In India, it seems normal? to go to the beach fully clothed, anything outisde of that is immodest?
- I’ve found that generally speaking caucasian churches people tend to be more casual whereas asian churches are more formal (e.g. some asian churches would frown on thongs)
- If its freezing winter, its usually considered inappropriate to wear shorts.
- If I’m going to a wedding its usually considered inappropriate to wear casual attire
- If I turn up to a cocktail party in t-shirt and pants its inappropriate…and awkward…
So to answer the questions I posed earlier I find its useful to look at both the Culture and Context to consider whether its Modest or Appropriate.
I personally (within my culture/context…and age haha) try to go for something more like this – of course personal style is part of this too
So I don’t know, just above the knee? 2/3rds to the knee? its really hard to say. For me I try and use a judgement call based on the above, don’t follow the world and try to lead by example. If a church auntie is going to give me a look then I probably need to reconsider…
As Christians I’m always reminded to show grace:
- Since I’m easily a legalstic/judgemental type then I need to reconsider the need to rebuke someone (maybe a later time?)…probably not the first thing to confront a new christian with…?
- Let’s remember to be gentle and patient if a rebuke is needed
How do you work this out? Still thinking through…more that can be said…so happy to be challenged…am I just really old?
As the Bible says lets think about what we wear this summer and add on good works with confidence in our God shining through 🙂