Modesty: The Mirror Of Love

Modesty allows us to love, and in a world that so desperately wants and needs love, it’s a shame that more people are not striving for modesty. This probably goes against what you think of as modesty because typically when we think of modesty, or humility, we imagine people who are scared of the world or think poorly of themselves. They act timidly, avoid eye contact, and do not state what they believe for fear of offending others. If you act like that, you won’t form healthy, loving relationships. That’s not what humility is. That may be our society’s misconstrued view of it, but timidity is not modesty.

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True modesty is realizing that our entire worth comes from God and then striving to live in that truth. That being said, God gives us a lot of worth. I mean, He is God after all, and God is love, so He is the most loving Father that could ever exist. And we’re His kids, so yeah, we have no reason to feel ashamed or embarrassed about who we are. So why should we be humble when we are that awesome? We should be humble so that we can reflect the glory of God, like a mirror reflects light. I first heard of the idea of being like a mirror in a prayer that mentions St. Therese the Little Flower. She is said to have been a “mirror of angelic purity, of love strong as death, and of wholehearted abandonment to God.” (I’m not sure who that was originally accredited to, but you can see a full prayer here). Mirroring God is a beautiful thing that we should all strive for. I don’t know how they make those distorted mirrors that you see at carnivals, the ones that make an image appear skinny, fat, twisted or upside down, but arrogance is what turns the clean, smooth mirror of our souls into that type of mirror. When we become arrogant and focus on ourselves, we become inverted and twisted. That is not how we were made to be because it prevents us from reflecting the pure, perfect love that comes only from God. We are creatures of love. God created us in love and for the purpose of reflecting His love into the world. If we want to show love to anyone, whether it be our boyfriends/girlfriends, spouses, parents, friends, or perfect strangers, we must first practice modesty.

In order to strive for modesty, we need to consider if what we are doing, saying and wearing is modest or not. Because we are used to applying modesty only to how women dress, considering our actions in the context of modesty is difficult. To make it easier, I suggest that instead, we consider if what we are about to say, do, or wear is loving or not.

 Living in modesty, and so living in love, hinders us from being judgemental towards others, as well as from getting jealous of others. It causes us to realize that all of those around us are our equals because they are human beings. We realize this because we recognize our fallen human nature, everyone else’s fallen human nature, and their God-given worth and beauty. When we realize that all humans are, well, human, then we realize that we cannot look down on others or judge them because they are no less than us. They may fall in different ways, but they fall and we fall. Our duty as Christians is to help each other get back up when we fall and to try to help others avoid falling by setting good example through modest dress. When we have a loving demeanor, others are less tempted to have lustful or hateful thoughts towards us. Modesty hinders jealousy, because, again, all are equal to us. They are human and we are human. They fall and we fall. They have God-given talents, just as we do. Ultimately, we are all part of the same fallen human race that is created and redeemed by God.

Truly understanding all of this would allow me to love so much deeper than I do. I wouldn’t be helping someone because I pity them, but because I love them. Instead of getting jealous of others, I would love them. Instead of being unjustly angry with someone, I would love and try to help that person. Instead of wondering if someone is worth my time, I would simply love them without question. Instead of thinking badly about myself or the mind and body that God gave me, I would love myself. If I could become a truly modest person, it would change my life. How would it change yours?

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What is Modesty?

photo(3)Typically, when people hear the word “modesty” they view it in the context of fashion. Many think of it as covering up, hiding, or wearing extremely unflattering clothing. Modesty in its original meaning actually refers to a particular virtue, humility; humility in both character and in conduct. Now, this obviously extends to clothing, but it is much, much more.

“…God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6. We should strive for humility in order to magnify something bigger than ourselves; God. Ultimately, He is the one who gives us our worth. Mother Teresa said, “If you are humble, nothing will touch you, neither praise nor disgrace, because you know what you are.” – and what you are is a beloved child of God by His grace! Without Him, you and I are nothing. With Him, our dignity is restored. We must wear an attitude of modesty in order to acknowledge our beautiful worth in Christ.

As I mentioned earlier, modesty does extend to clothing, but it is not limited to outward appearances. The outward expression of modesty in dress should reflect what one is striving for on the inside. 1 Peter 3:3-4 states, “Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in the fine clothes, but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.” Therefore, the focus is on inward beauty, and dressing modestly is a manifestation of one’s attitude.

Moreover, a modestly dressed woman is showing men that there is so much more to her than a body. There are gifts, talents, interests, desires, goals, and a unique personality. There is actual substance. There is a soul. A modest woman should not dress in order to cover up her body because it is something evil; rather, she is clothing herself in her God-given dignity. She acknowledges that she is made for a love so much greater than what the world has to offer. If she wants a man to respect her, she must first respect herself.

Modesty is often distinguished as a womanly virtue. However, there are concrete ways that men can practice modesty as well. Men are modest when not drawing unnecessary attention to themselves by showing off (muscles, “toys”, wealth, etc.). Moreover, when men choose to respect women through their speech, through their manners, and through their selfless demeanor, they are exemplifying the virtue of modesty. They are honoring a woman’s God-given beauty and honoring themselves and God.Modesty honors beauty article