Hyper-Modesty in the Church, Part 2

 Does Hyper-Modesty Lead to Lust?

Yesterday’s post dealt with the subject of hyper-modesty with regard to how we dressed, the preoccupation of not showing cleavage, not accentuating a woman’s figure, diverting eyes when seeing female joggers on the road, staying away from public swim areas and areas where people are dressed immodestly, etc.  I also discussed how we turned magazines over in the grocery stores that depicted sexual images or even suggestive titles in our aim to help protect our children from these visuals.  The lady who came to the pastor seeking counsel, but was transferred to a woman for counsel because she was immodestly dressed was also mentioned.

In comments here on this blog and in personal e-mails, I’ve read about stories of rules and legalism which created lots of problems in churches.  Our church was no exception and I’ll continue with more from our personal story:

Look – – I get turning over magazines at grocery store check-out aisles.  Some of the images and even titles are inappropriate in an environment where children are present.  But a magazine is not a living, breathing soul.  It’s an object.  Its “feelings” are not going to get hurt, unlike that lady who came to the church seeking help.

But you know what . . . . . I think the hyper-modesty stuff may have backfired.   I discussed earlier how our youth seemed to get in trouble with issues involving sex in unofficial youth groups or outside activities.  I’ve never seen a higher percentage of sexual immorality in young adults in any other church I’ve attended.  It is my belief that the hyper-modesty led to hyper-obsession with sex (including pornography).

I’ve kept up with a number of the kids who were teens when we were there and some have shared with me.  Now they are young adults.  One person who was baptized while we were there is a male stripper/dancer.  I know of a female who does nude modeling.  Some of our young adults are now living with their boyfriends or girlfriends.  Some are having casual sex with with no real commitment.  Some have issues with pornography.  These are bold choices of sexual immorality that are being exhibited compared to the expected lifestyle of a young adult Christian.

For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.   

For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  

But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.    Romans 7:18-20

In any church a percentage of young adults will walk away or test their faith, some trying alcohol, drugs or go through phases of experimentation with the world and all it has to offer.  The large percentage of young adults who have completely walked away from their faith and who are living a lifestyle completely different from their upbringing shows the fruit of that environment.  The fruit was rotten.

Was this caused by the rigid rules and legalism? Our adult kids are certainly not rotten.  They only reacted to the very strict/legalistic teachings.  Being caught in sexual sin, sitting through long meetings with the pastor, perhaps multiple meetings, getting spanked by parents (yes, high school students were spanked) and having more meetings with parents, and then hearing weeks-long series on Wednesday nights on the dangers of sexual immorality does not give one hope, but despair.

There was no way to measure up.  They felt there was no way to be a Christian.  If they felt they were Christian before, they became confused and thought they were on their way to hell because of their sin.  It was too difficult.  They couldn’t stop sinning.  Why bother?  They convinced themselves they must never have been a Christian to begin with – that it must have all been fake and now that they know what a Christian is “supposed” to be, they know it is impossible to maintain that lifestyle – especially because they are so easily tempted by sin.  Do you see the thought patterns?

Evidently, I said something that highly disturbed someone during our last days.  I said that the spark of joy was absent from the eyes of our teens.   That didn’t go over very well.  It was a very obvious sign of despondency to me.

 

The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!  Matthew 6: 22-23

Legalism does not produce good fruit. It produces complacency and an idea that it doesn’t matter what I do, I cannot achieve Christianity.  This is the message I have heard from young adults (including my own).  This is not what the Bible teaches.  Christianity is not based on what you do or do not do.  It was a false message bringing despair and condemnation, not hope.

Folks, this is part of the spiritual abuse that was going on – it was sending  wrong messages that turn people away from Christ, not toward Him.  So many of these young adults were not just experiencing merely a crisis of faith, but   completely abandoned the faith.  There simply was no hope.  Why bother trying?

. . . . . to be continued

16 comments on “Hyper-Modesty in the Church, Part 2

  1. Amen. The law was made to point out sin. If you are focused on the law and the rules, then guess what, you are focus on sin. I'd rather not put my focus on sin, I'm done with sin. I want my focus to be on Christ. If we are actively following Christ, then avoiding sin will just simply be a natural outpouring of our walk. It is one of the natural, organic fruits of our relationship with God. People who focus on the "obeying the rules" apparently have a problem obeying the rules themselves.

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  2. Paul wrote: "But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith." 1 Tim. 1:5. I've attended several legalistic churches – it sounds like the legalism was a bit different – and I know that whenever outward appearance is emphasized above heart, conscience and faith, there are bound to be numerous problems.

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  3. Julie Anne Wrote: It is my belief that the hyper-modesty led to hyper-obsession with sex (including pornography). Me: Correct, it does 100%. It leads kids to have a very bad view of sex, going between guilt/shame and do what ever they want. This kind of stuff also attracts the sexual predators – I recently learned about the sexual predators in Sovereign Grace Ministries (cult I was a part of years ago). While I was in that church, I had a college age friend pressured into admitting that he and a female (same age) had sex. They went through all of the same meetings, etc that you described.

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  4. I have a friend who was a part of an SGM church and who recently sent me an e-mail. As soon as I read the first few lines of her e-mail, I knew the story and couldn't believe my friend and her family was at that church – the church where a sexual predator was protected and his family was basically abandoned. I had become familiar with the story earlier by reading SGMSurvivor.com (which is where I learned so much about spiritual abuse, what it looks like, how the leaders behave, etc). The patterns are all the same. Just change out the names and the names of the churches. It's so sad. That's why I'm getting so many e-mails. It's touching a personal nerve with people as they read these stories. They can be on the opposite side of the world and read a personal story and identify with it.Thanks for your comment, Freedom.

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  5. There is a parable about two buddhist monks, one young and one old, who come to the edge of river. There they encounter a young woman who is unable to cross out of fear. The old monk hoists her on his back and carries her across, setting her down on the other side. The two monks carry on by themselves in silence for some distance. After a time the young monk says, "How could you do such a thing? It is impious to have such physical contact with a woman." To which the older monk replied, "I only carried her across the stream, but you have continued to carry her in your mind."

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  6. Wish you all the best. I'll be praying for ya. Tired of these fraudulent preachers and its not just your experience but they are all over the country. Even the ones on TV that seems harmless is fraudulent and just false. There is a reason why you left that Church the heavenly father doesn't want you expose to such a toxic atmosphere and if church members were turning their heads when they saw you this just proves that they do not have they love of the Father in them and are not being taught properly but instead have the spirit of their leader on them.

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  7. Galatians 3:12And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.1 Timothy 1:9Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawlessThe purpose of the law was to INCREASE sin. Tell someone not to do something, that is what they will do.Tell Adam and Eve NOT to eat of the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, and what do they do?Grace means much more than the law, and legalism. Grace is the opposite of the law. The law is works, Grace is no works. Works is obeying the law of Moses. Grace is obeying the law of faith.It is Law vs. Faith; NOT Law PLUS Faith.

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  8. We were in a church where the dictator/pastor would rant from the pulpit if a man in "his" church was seen eating in a restaurant with a female that was not his wife. So if I would have bowed to the wishes of this tyrant, I would have had to say to my female coworker, "No, you go in and eat your Sub sandwich. I'll eat mine out here in the car, so that people don't think we are having an affair." This stuff is legalism, like the scribes and religious hypocrits that Jesus rebuked. He alse said that people could only go to "church approved" movies. So my pastor thought that he would tell me and my wife where we could go on a date? Yeah right!!! Lol!! I have the Holy Spirit to tell me those things. He also tells me that I don't need to put myself under such legalistic bondage. He also told me to "come out from among them and be ye separate." I no longer put myself or my family under the bondage of the religious institution. The Word of God at home is enough.

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  9. I have such a huge amount of respect for you, Julie Anne! This cannot possibly be easy. You are facing the cause of such pain and torment head-on. You are questioning that which you are not "allowed" to question. You are calling out to others, warning them of danger. All while staying true to exactly who you are, all while maintaining confidence that your own belief is strong, all while KNOWING that what you're doing must be right and helpful and good. (And it IS!) I'm really proud of you. The things you are exposing and questioning MUST be shown to the world. This is important stuff!!

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  10. All you have to do is stop tithing. If the hirelings aren't getting money, they will go away. They cannot MAKE you tithe. Let 'em rant all they want. Stop feeding them with your tithes and offerings and this harlot religious system that calls itself "the church" will expose itself as the extortioners that Jesus said they were in Matthew 23.

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  11. Wow! That floored me! What I read just here:JA: Look – – I get turning over magazines at grocery store check-out aisles. Some of the images and even titles are inappropriate in an environment where children are present. But a magazine is not a living, breathing soul. It's an object. Its "feelings" are not going to get hurt, unlike that lady who came to the church seeking help.And then in your next paragraph:JA: But you know what . . . . . I think the hyper-modesty stuff may have backfired… I've never seen a higher percentage of sexual immorality in young adults in any other church I've attended. It is my belief that the hyper-modesty led to hyper-obsession with sex (including pornography). I could talk informatively, for days, about the backfiring of this sick ‘hyper-obsession with sex’ within the fundamentalist church! days i tell you JA: Was this caused by the rigid rules and legalism?i believe there is a spirit of wickedness behind the controlling and judging actions of these rulers and systemsJA: Legalism does not produce good fruit… Christianity is not based on what you do or do not do. It was a false message bringing despair and condemnation, not hope… Folks, this is part of the spiritual abuse that was going on – it was sending wrong messages that turn people away from Christ, not toward Him. So many of these young adults were not just experiencing merely a crisis of faith, but completely abandoned the faith. There simply was no hope. Amen, Amen, Amen!

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  12. Pingback: 36-yr old Male Blogger Scours the Net Using Pics of Young Ladies so He Can be Modesty Police | Spiritual Sounding Board

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