A well meaning forward is doing the rounds on WhatsApp. It is about a Christian grandmother teaching her grandchild the meaning of sexy, as she dresses to go to Church. Allow me to add a few of my thoughts on it below, after quoting the said forward.
LOOKING SEXY AND DRESSED TO KILL FOR CHURCH SERVICE
The following conversation took place between a grandmother n her granddaughter. “Grandma: Akosua, where are you going?
Akosua: Grandma, I am going to Church.
Grandma: Really? Please come n sit down n let’s talk for a minute before you go. I think we still have ample time before the Church Service begins? Don’t we?
Akosua: About an hour, Yes.
Grandma: The way you are dressed, in fact, you look very sexy.
Akosua: (Smiling) Thank you very much grandma. Grandma: Hmmm, Akosua, I can see you love that compliment. Please tell me, do you need someone to have sex with you?
Akosua: Ooh noo.. Grandma. Why this question?
Grandma: If you do not need someone to have sex with you, then, why do you dress ‘sexy’?
Akosua: There’s nothing to worry about, Grannie. I just want to…
Grandma: (cuts in) …dressed to kill, as usual! Akosua, a Godly girl should never feel proud or swollen-headed when someone tells her that she looks ‘sexy’. In fact it’s a very bad and insulting compliment. The intention of dressing sexy is to arouse men, That’s all. That’s the reason why prostitutes dress this way. They dress this way because they want someone to have sex with them n pay them. They do everything possible to ‘look sexy’ n attractive – not to just one person, but to the entire men in town! They expose, they wear things that will reveal all their endowed curves – just to ‘look sexy’ and attractive to men, for money. Please, Akosua, are you also trying to look that way so that you will be attractive to men for sex?
Akosua looked down, and was speechless.
Grandma: You are young, fit and attractive, although you are a Christian, yet you always look so worldly. When you dress like this to Church, the probability of bringing even the pastor down is very high. But remember that *’woe betide the one by whom a righteous man is made to fall…’* I know you can remember this scripture very well. Well, my beloved grand-daughter, I am done. You can now go.
Akosua : Thank you very much, Grandma. I have never looked at it like this before. From today onwards, I promise never to dress again ‘to look sexy’ . I will rather dress to look beautiful and glorify GOD with my dressing. Thank you very much Grandma.
Grandma: You are welcome, my dear. (Seeing that Akosua started going towards her room, she said) But, are you not going to church anymore?
Akosua: I will go Grannie. I just want to change my dress, first.
Grandma: May God bless you for doing that.” Please share this story with your friends, most ‘sexy looking girls’ do not have someone to tell them the truth.
Sisters, don’t just read it, please react to it- just as Akosua did because we are addressed the way we dress. Let us dress right to reflect the Godliness in our lives!
Here is what I think about that message above from a Christian perspective :
The human body and beauty
The human body is created by God. God wanted to and He did. (Genesis 1.26-27).
He created all things and found it good. After creating humans, he found creation very good. So, beauty is God’s gift.
Shame came after sinning (Genesis 3).
Nakedness or no clothes was not sinful in creation. Until they sinned humans didn’t feel the need to be covered in cloth.
The problem of sin
But sin has entered the world, as a consequence of our actions. It caused a feeling of inadequacy, a sense of “not good enough”. Lust comes under one of those. Note Jesus’ words to those who have lust towards a woman, even a fully clothed woman (like in his times): But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28). Adultery in the Old Testament is punished by death. The grandma in the story seems to have forgotten that verse.
If one can’t stand feeling lustful with a woman who is wearing a dress of her choice, the problem lies with the beholder. It shows a lack of the presence of the fruit of the Spirit in them, one of which is self-control. Such people, ought to ask for grace and more of the Spirit.
If sexiness is about sex, then…
Sex within a God ordained relationship ( as seen in Adam and Eve) is sacred, beautiful and part of God’s plan (Genesis 1.28). Sex outside marriage is not part of its purpose, and is neither fulfilling nor sacred. It creates unwanted complications in relationships and much trouble and dissatisfaction within the soul. Any leading towards sex outside a marriage relationship, is to lead towards sin, be it man or a woman. Any such sexiness that is meant to evoke sexual feelings ought to be towards one’s spouse. In a Christian understanding, it is God who blesses and seals a marriage. That’s where that kind of sexiness becomes meaningful.
Too sexy for your shoes? Varied meanings of sexy.
Linguistics tell us that words have denotative meaning (what it actually meant) and connotative meaning (layers of meaning, that add on over time). Sexy originally means something that evokes sexuality (denotative).
However, over time and due to over use, the word has become part of casual conversation to describe anything that is attractive. Sexy phone, sexy shot (cricket), sexy interiors (houses), sexy beats (music), in addition to the word in its actual sense. This causes confusion. The way she uses it may not be how I use it or how they use it. It doesn’t, these days, always imply “I want sex.” It has, however, become more of a substitute for attractive, no matter how unfit you may think the term is. That’s a lot of connotative meanings or additional layers.
Dressing sense is common sense
A sense of dressing is important for any occasion. I’m sure that not many interview candidates who wore shorts to an interview for a Corporate ever got the job. Why? Isn’t the candidate free to wear what s/he wants? Obviously, the candidate uses the gift of common sense and determines that something more formal would suit the occasion.
It’s the same when it comes to worship, youth group and camps. Since the focus is on God, his beauty and Majesty, wouldn’t it be robbery to steal the limelight by wearing a flashy outfit- be it boys, girls or even clergy? 😉 I think so. May God be the centre.
God admires beauty because He is its creator. He has also given the gift of common sense.
The Indian situation
When it comes to the Indian situation, most of us ( I’m addressing Indian christian youth) worship in an intergenerational setting. Elders, youngsters, kids, couples, etc. all of whom find theirselves at different stages of their life. The various people grew up in varied points of history with distinct social etiquette. Their sensitivities vary.
What might be shocking to the other could be normal to another. However, as Paul suggests, Christians must be sensitive to the setting and then make their decisions. Will what I wear cause a disturbance in the community when it comes to worship? Will I hog the focus, even though its not my fault? Then sensitivity is paramount.
What is ultimate : Seeking the salvation of all.
The above doesn’t mean I live in fear and self-doubt. We ought to ask ourselves : which are the places where my beauty and attractiveness will glorify God? Be in all your splendour there! That’s the conclusion the grandma comes to which is indeed Biblical. However, responsibility on the part of the male is missing from the forward.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God — even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved. 1 Corinthians 10.31-33