Have you ever heard of clothing that puts you in the hospital? A 35-year-old woman in Adelaide, Australia, had to be treated at the Royal Adelaide Hospital for loss of circulation. She was on an IV for four days! Why? The official report used scary words like “hypoattenuation,” “oedema of muscles,” and “myonecrosis.” The bottom line was that her skinny jeans were too tight. Coupled with squatting frequently while helping a family member move and wearing these overly compressed pants, her legs and lower extremities were so numb that she could not walk (via jnnp.bmj.com). The truth is truly stranger than fiction.
Is there any dangerous clothing in your closet or wardrobe? Especially as summer weather heats up, some reveal clothing that could be dangerous to themselves and others. Consider this.
- Clothes may be too tight.
- Clothes may be too short.
- Clothes may be otherwise too revealing.
- Clothes may contain provocative words or sexually suggestive phrases.
Frustrating for both those trying to defend or condemn immodest clothing is the fact that Scripture does not give specific guidelines for clothing God finds either acceptable or unacceptable. True, we can point to how God clothed the first couple in the Garden of Eden, but they had the right to see each other completely unclothed. We can talk about the priests’ garments under the Old Law, but they wore it doing things, offering animal sacrifices and worshipping with mechanical instruments, that keep us from binding that as a pattern for clothing today. New Testament passages about modest clothing (1 Tim. 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4) seem to primarily address over-dressing, though the principle about clothing which can easily produce lust may be applicable. Yet, especially clothing that strongly resembles lingerie and undergarments, extremely short-shorts, clothing that clearly outlines parts of the body that should not be publicly seen, and the like can be dangerous for the wearers and the observers. God made men and women sexual creatures, and clothing that “feels” and “looks” sexy can stir feelings in people toward people they do not have the right to feel.
As we assess the clothing in our wardrobes, it is good to ask some important spiritual questions:
- Does it help me present my body as a sacrifice that is holy and acceptable to God (Rom. 12:1)?
- Does it reflect that I am conforming to the world or being transformed by God’s will (Rom.12:2)?
- Is it an “anything” that causes my brother to stumble (Rom. 14:21)?
- Is it “lust-producing” (cf. Mat. 5:28)?
Frustratingly, this requires some common sense and some thoughtful examination. Individuals must use propriety in the absence of a “thou shalt” or “thou shalt not.” Yet, neither should we feign ignorance in a world where fashion designers tout clothes that are “hot,” “sexy,” “dangerous,” or the like. No preacher or Bible teacher can force their personal standards of modesty on anyone else, but he or she can appeal to the heart and ask that Christlike love for the souls of others be exercised. After all, clothes can be dangerous even if they don’t land you in the hospital!