Dressing for Safety and Success
I will… that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, …(which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. (1Timothy 2:8-10)
Today’s text is abbreviated. You may want to read all three verses in the reference. America is in a public storm over sexual harassment of women by powerful men in the work place. It is dredging up a lot of mud that suggests the problem is bigger than is being reported. It has roots.
This week, CBS presented an expert who advised women on how to dress at upcoming office parties. Two pieces of advice: 1. Avoid skin-tight outfits. 2. Avoid a plunging neckline. This advice was offered about the current news on sexual harassment of women in the work place. Google brings up CBS news articles on how women ought to dress that go back 20 years or more.
If you go to Google Image and type in “dress codes in the work place,” you may be amazed at how many hundreds of thousands of connections those words will bring up. If you type in School Dress Codes, you will get a long page of articles.
I went to Google Images and typed in: “Modest Dress.” It brought up a long page of images of women attired in modest attire. I typed in “Modest school dress.” Then, I tried something else: I scrolled from top to bottom to find even one dress with a hemline that came above the knee. I didn’t see one. Google seems to believe that “Modest Dress” is a garment that does not come above the knee. Also, there was a striking absence of plunging neck lines and very few of the garments were tight-fitting. Google knows exactly what modest dress is. Christians would do well learn from Google, and the Bible.
Years and years ago, I read somewhere that a woman’s attire should be tight enough to show that she’s a woman and loose enough to show that she’s a lady. (Whatever that is.) If another axiom is helpful: “a woman should dress to draw attention to her face.”
Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics) strongly believed that maintaining a professional image should always be a very important aspect of the Mary Kay business. My first encounter with that was in a random newspaper article. I thought: “Hmmmm. Mary Kay Ash knows some things. This article appeared when it was not fashionable to be taking her position. Not only did she believe her sales ladies should dress modestly; their modesty should look nice and business like.
Isaiah had a word to say about nakedness. What is nakedness? Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate. Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man. (Isaiah 47:1-3) In that culture, in that time, exposing the thigh was commonly known as “nakedness.” It was that way in America until the last generation or two.
Men and women do not think alike because they are not made alike. Men are attracted first by what they see. If a woman wants to be responsible, she will not dress to provoke men to lust after them. Notice what Jesus said: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)
I have had to wait at the counters in auto parts warehouses, electrical supply houses and plumbing supply houses. At almost these places of business there were several large calendars hanging on the wall with large pictures of scantily-clad young women staring down at the male customers. It keeps the men from complaining about having to wait so long to be waited on.
During World War2 pin-up pictures of movie stars were everywhere in barracks, ships, submarines, and painted on the nose of bombers. They were in their “most attractive” poses. Nobody complained.
Many women do not understand what makes men tick and they dress for whatever looks good to them and sometimes they may dress to “show their womanhood.” Christian women, especially, should dress responsibly and modestly. Some women grew up as “touchers” and “huggers.” That’s ok when you’re little, but be very careful what you are communicating to the men in your work place.
We are told in Scripture: Salute one another with an holy kiss. (Rom 16:16) (See also: 1Cor. 16:20; 2Cor.13:12; and 1Thess.5:26) Yes and no. It was a strongly-entrenched practice for the men to greet one another with a friendly kiss on the cheek. Judas kissed Jesus that way. We call it “The Judas kiss.”
In the Western World we greet one another with a hand shake, primarily. Maybe a hug. In Southern churches, especially, we do a lot of hugging and maybe even have the instruments to play a lively hymn while we greet one another. A lot of “howdy” and hugging goes on at that time. In all of that there may sometimes be an inordinate amount of “pressing of bosoms.” (I’m being plain here. Somebody needs to be plain.)
It has been American culture for a long time for the woman to take the lead in touching a man. If she offers her hand, then the man responds by extending his hand. If the woman proceeds to hug, then the man follows. That’s…..fairly safe, I guess….maybe. I determined years and years ago that I would not hug a woman outside the family front-to-front. If I see it’s going to happen, there’s no time to lecture the woman on how she ought to do her hugging. I grasp her arms at the elbow and lean over slightly to let her touch me as she will. But, I remain in charge to prevent a “close-in.”
Sometimes, I hug a woman by turning sideways and hug by reaching around her and squeeze her arm against me. But, more often than not, if it’s hugging time in church, I extend my hand and shake hands.
Someone may say: “Why are you getting into this in a devotional?” Because I need to. Because I have been seeing stuff going on for 60 years. Because I have been listening to sad stories in my office. That’s why. If you can profit from this paragraph, please be my guest.
BUT IN THE OFFICE…..IN THE WORK PLACE, you ladies don’t go around being forward and assume all the men will be understanding of your friendliness. You’ll get yourself into big trouble! And please!!!! Don’t pick out a man in the office to be your comfort zone in spilling out your woes and the short-comings of your husband. Have you lost your mind? I’m as serious as a heart attack. Women must be wise, today. VERY WISE! WISE WIVES! Don’t bring sexual harassment onto yourself. Please dress for safety and success. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
DECEMBER 18, 2017 - MONDAY
A.M. Jonah 1-4 P.M. Revelation 9
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Song for Today:
Farther Along (8:05) (Joni Eareckson Tada – Vestal Goodman - Gaither Group)
About This Song: Joni Eareckson Tada dived into a shallow pool over 30 years ago and was from that moment paralyzed. Hear her testimony as she leads the group in this song and is then joined by Vestal Goodman. You will be blessed by this testimony and song. I let this play over the week-end and today.
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