קהילת תלמידי ישוע
Talmidei Yeshua Fellowship
95 Milvan Drive, North York, Ontario

Modesty and Decency

Modesty and decency are another one of those sensitive topics to many nowadays yet both are extremely important. Despite this, Scriptures only give indirect hints to things such as dress codes while dedicating a great deal to actions. Since this subject is often a distinguishing characteristic between the world and believers, we have taken a great deal of interest in this. Some of this may seem a little subjective and not completely Scriptural (because of the noted incompleteness of explicit information) but we will note where this is the case. Accepting our views on these areas is completely optional - they are here only to give perhaps another view on traditional ideas.

Decency can be a very difficult concept to grasp. After all, Torah only gives a single definition in Sh'mot / Exodus 28:42: "And make linen trousers for them, to cover their nakedness, reaching from the waist to the thighs". Obviously, only covering the flesh from just above the knee to the waist would not be exemplary decency for either a male or a female believer! At this point personal discretion is required. Yeshua provides an important concept to consider in Mattityahu / Matthew 5:28 when He says that "Everyone looking at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart". Mere lusting is actually as grave a sin as actual enactment! It is thus important for all believers to take care to remove this stumbling block from another's path. We believe that applies to men and women alike - both must be attentive to this in order to go above and beyond the Biblical minimum in a discretionary manner. This concept extends beyond simply covering skin but concealing one's form (again with discretion). Tight clothing should be treated with extreme caution. As a good rule of thumb, one should honestly ask his or herself why there is a desire to wear more questionable clothing and what he or she thinks about possibly putting another in danger of violating Yeshua's command.

This second paragraph addresses a controversial opinion but one that seems to have a lot of Scriptural corroboration. Moshe wrote in D'varim / Deuteronomy 22:5: "A woman does not wear that which pertains to a man, nor does a man put on a woman's garment, for whoever does this is an abomination to יהוה your God." 

The second subject is modesty, which is different from decency in that it is not the covering of one's physique but being conservative in dress. Shaul warns women of this in I Timothy 2:9-10: "Likewise, that the women dress themselves becomingly, with decency and sensibleness [modesty], not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly garments, but with good works, which is becoming for women undertaking worship of God." Extravagance of clothing and action is forbidden by Scriptures. Quite simply, attention must be taken off the physical vanities and onto the lasting matters, worship of God. In many cultures, such vanities serve as a symbol of wealth, a worldly value, which should be tangential to dedicated believers. While this order from Shaul was addressed to women almost two millennial ago, we believe that men should also read this carefully as well. Vanity has increasingly become an issue in males, particularly those of the latest generations. To them the same message holds: turn your eyes off this world and set them on the next!




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