I'd been traveling all weekend, and my flight from California to the East Coast got in at midnight. All I wanted to do was go home, drop my suitcases and hit the sack.
But the story my husband had waiting for me made me drop my jaw and want to hit—well, not the sack!
"She was just visiting our church service this morning," he began haltingly.
He didn't notice her at first, he said. But then came "greeting time."
"Bob, I'd like you to meet John's cousin," a friend said as he introduced her.
That's when my husband's mind began to whirl. He'd heard about her. She was the one with the perfect—well, let's just say she qualified to be a fitting model for Victoria's Secret. You figure out what was perfect!
Through the rest of the service he was restless. Intrigued. Annoyed.
He wasn't the only one; I asked.
Many of our friends were introduced to her that day, and like us, they had heard about her unique career. I asked all the men the same question: "What did she look like?"
The funny thing is, none of them could quite remember her face. But they all remembered her skin-tight leather pants with the lace-up fly.
Please understand that my husband, Bob, is a godly man in full-time Christian ministry. Like most men, though, he is subject to visual temptation.
Christian psychologist Mark Laaser estimates that 30 percent of Christian pastors and leaders struggle with pornography. Among Christian men in general, more than 60 percent are estimated to struggle with continual sexual compulsions of some type.
Those are scary numbers. I wouldn't share them with you if they hadn't been substantiated repeatedly.
My husband's ministry involves helping men of all ages live lives of mental purity—a battle he himself wages daily. Bob gets into the faces of other men and asks them to name the specific distractions they need to remove from their lives in order to live in sexual integrity.
You'd expect them to name temptations such as the Internet, R-rated movies, magazine covers, even the giant Victoria's Secret display ads in the mall. But sadly, they often point to a surprisingly different pit—and they fall into it every Sunday.
"I'm struggling with the way women dress in church," they groan. They are specific in adding those two words—in church—because the location is what makes them feel so vulnerable.
After all, isn't church supposed to be a place where they can go to be free from temptation? What's a guy to do when the woman in his Sunday school class keeps showing up in a tight shirt and miniskirt, announcing it was a little cold in the parking lot?
I suppose he could sit on the front row every week. But come on, sisters! It's time we accept some responsibility for this predicament.
Many of us are sinning where the men in our churches are concerned—and in the process, we're sinning against God.
As Christian women, our greatest desire should be to please God in everything we do. First Peter 3:3 reminds us, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment. ... Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight" (NIV).
But some of us are getting up on Sunday mornings and adorning ourselves in ways that aren't pleasing to God. The outfits we choose are intended to cause all eyes—especially men's eyes—to be on us.
For the sake of our brothers in Christ, not to mention the health of our personal relationships with God, we need to do four things:
1. We need to understand the power of certain kinds of visual images. Have you heard of the Gestalt theory? It's a visual design theory that teaches designers to control the attention of their viewers by forcing the viewers to mentally complete a visual image.
According to the theory, the challenge of completing an image that is incomplete intrigues the human brain. Our minds will always pause to finish an unfinished picture.
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