Bless Your Heart by Cindy Colley

Q and A: Addressing the Undressing

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Dear Cindy,
As with the beginning of warm weather every year, it seems the issue of modesty has come to the forefront again. We had a high school girl walk in to worship this morning in the most appallingly low cut top and very short skirt. This made me sad for her, embarrassed for the body, and sorry for those men who were sitting near her. I feel like I should perhaps say something to her, because she is not very close to anyone there. She is relatively uninvolved in the youth group due to too many extra-curricular activities. I’m not sure how to approach the situation so that she will be sure that it comes from a place of sincere love for her soul. Any advice?
Thanks,
Candi
Dear Candi,
My first suggestion would be to go to the elders (if you have them) and ask them for their advice, since the offense was in front of all who were there and is not a private matter between you and her. They may want to speak with her parents or with her themselves, since they have the responsibility of watching for her soul (Heb.13:17). My next suggestion would be to study the series Pure on Purpose or GIFTS with all of the teen girls. This is a problem they will all deal with. Hannah and I have prayed that these studies could help with practical decisions that might prevent the loss of purity in the lives of teen girls. We think decisions about dress are very much related to maintenance of purity. Next, I would try to meekly suggest that there is teaching being done from the pulpit, as this is not an isolated problem and we all need the teaching in this society of porn and promiscuity. Then, if the elders want you to address it, rather than them, perhaps it might be better to go to her parents (if she has them) and see if they will be cooperative and talk with her. This is primarily their job (Eph, 6:1-4) and they may resent your usurping this area. If none of this works, I would probably prayerfully confront her, because so much is at stake, not only with her, but with your middle schoolers who are looking to the high schoolers for precedents. It might even be a good idea to write your thoughts in a very loving and kind note to give to her. This way, your motives and your actual words cannot be misrepresented in the case that your words are not received into a good and humble heart. I will pray for your wisdom, for her heart and for the dilution of this negative influence in your congregation. I believe all these suggestions to be Biblical as I have thought about this all too common scenario. The combination of I Timothy 2:9,10 and Matthew 5:28 leaves women with a responsibility about dress. Agape for our brothers demands our discretion as we help them keep their thoughts pure. Blessings.
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