Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Dress For Respect

Six years ago when we had five young men, high school students, preparing for the ministry, you could pick them out each Sunday morning. They were dressed in suits. All but one of those graduated from Bible college, and that one is continuing studies to be a chaplain. A year ago there was another high school student wearing a suit. Again, he stood out from the crowd.

From John’s description, preachers weren’t required to dress in a specific manner:

And John was clothed with camel's hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; (Mark 1:6 KJV)

While the Bible doesn’t specify how we should dress, there are a few expectations.

In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; (1 Timothy 2:9 KJV)

When my children were born at St. John’s hospital, Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother saw to our care. From 1914 into the 1960's, their white habits swept the hospital floor as they cared for their patients. I was comforted by their presence during my stays there. Their dress, wimple and all, made a statement about their dedication.

How we dress makes strong statements. We have had some teens attend church wearing clothing designed to make a statement, but not a Christian statement. Most of these are attention getting, some rebellious, some tasteless, some just thoughtless..

There are non-profit organizations based on Dress For Success, which “provides interview suits, confidence boosts, and career development ...” It is expected that successful people would be in a position to donate clothing. When asked about what should be donated, they say “To be sure that the suits or accessories you wish to give to Dress for Success are appropriate, ask yourself whether you would feel comfortable wearing them on a job interview.”

Dress makes a difference. It tells people what you think of yourself, and what you think of them. That’s what we want to get across to our Junior High girls – you must respect yourself, and dress appropriate, before you will be respected.

The other side of the question is: Do you respect God? How you dress in His house displays the respect held for Him. Does that negate this verse:

My brethren, have not the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory, with respect of persons. For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment; And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts? (James 2:1-4 KJV)

No. We are not discussing clothing of the rich or poor, though often status can be determined by such. We’re speaking of dress that displays attitude. Respectful dress, or not.

So, the question for my girls is: Do you dress as though you respect your God, and yourself?

(Regrettably, I do not have an attriibution for this photo)


  1. Dressing respectful holds a very important place in my heart because for many years I didn't. It wasn't until this last year that I was convicted and began changing mine and my daughters attire. I have taught them that the Bible says we are to be a peculiar people and that includes how we dress. My 16 yr old is pretty and used to battle with how different other girls her age dressed. I have no doubt that because of her convictions she will catch the eye one day of a good man who will respect her because she respected God and herself.

  2. thankfully my mother always taught me to dress appropriately. ive always had a like for classy and tasteful clothing. even in my crazy teenage years, my clothes got a little baggy and i'm sure mom hated them, but at least i was always covered and i wasnt flashy. i think young girls these days are desperately seeking attention by the clothing they were, whether they admit that or not. everyone wants to be pretty. they just have the wrong idea of pretty. i think that sometimes bad choices in clothing comes from parents that dont teach girls to respect themselves and could lead to bad choices in life. i'm glad that your church is making an effort to help these girls and give them someone to look up to. just be patient and understanding and encouraging with them, they are teenagers after all. everyone has gone through that stage in life. just help them to choose which path to follow now and remember that their clothes might not reflect their personality. they are just trying to fit in.


Thank you for taking time to read and comment on the blog. Comments should take into consideration this verse: Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8 KJV)