As many of you know, I somewhat recently wrote what I thought was a strategic and tactful blog post on modesty, the one linked as follows.
A Recent Event
Since I published the post there has been a lot of awesome conversation on the topic of modesty and the deeper issues behind it. Recently though an issue of criticism had come up, and it was not in any way what I had expected. Some people, no idea who they are, does not really matter who they are, had assumingly skimmed through the post, and had quite a harsh response. As a result of this, and why I say assumingly, they came to the conclusion, having taken a small portion of the article out of context, that I personally have or even still look at the chests of women. While this is not true, nor was this ever stated by myself, what bothers me is not the fact that someone would say such things, I know the truth, which is what matters, but that one would draw such a conclusion without taking a single bit of the context into account. And not just take the words of context, but then share them and their formulated opinion with others. The portion of the article is below.
1. “Shocked, surprised, stunned, speechless and shaken might be a few words to describe what a woman might feel if she lived in a man’s head and body for a day. As a brother to my sisters in Christ, it is my desire that women protect both themselves and men from the danger that they (or you if you are a woman reading this) have the potential to cause. The way that a man’s mind works is like a hypersensitive camera that does not have the capability to turn off or erase images. This camera is always aware of appealing sights in any given room on any given day at any given moment . . . Church, chapel, meals, athletic activities, class, and so forth. The camera always comes with us and is always on. Things that cause this camera to take photos are a plethora of things such tight jeans, form fitting shirts, tops that reveal cleavage even if it is only when a lady bends down or when a man is taller than a woman and can see a shadow of cleavage, holes in jeans that reveal skin, lower backs that can be seen when a lady bends down and the list goes on. Men don’t go searching for these sights and many men do everything within their power to avoid seeing things like this. Men can fight against it but it is the reality for pretty much all of us. Our minds are like cameras. It takes a split second for a picture to be captured and a lifetime to erase the images from our minds. Our flesh and Satan want us to play these images over and over in our minds which we must fight against all day long. This is where the help of our sisters in the Lord would be so valuable. My heart is often times grieved for both men and women on this matter. Ladies, please care about your brothers and understand that men have enough sights to avoid in the world. Our sisters in Christ should not make this harder on us than it needs to be. From my own experience I can honestly say that the number of women who I have not seen their cleavage at least once (which is enough to always remember) can be counted on one of my hands. Please Don’t straddle the line of something being “a little too tight” or “showing a little too much.” Don’t even go near it! If something is questionable run the other direction! In that there is great integrity, modesty, and Godly character. THOSE are the kinds of reasons that you want a man to like you. You are valuable. Please remember that and dress like that, which will help your brothers in Christ love and respect you as we ought to. God bless you.”
This was written by a dear MARRIED friend of mine, who had his WIFE, a WOMAN, proofread what he had written. As things go there is not a single word I feel he is wrong about, nor out of place. Like myself he takes the issue pretty seriously, was truthful, reasonably transparent and shed light on a very real truth many not dare utter. This is a reality that needs to be heard! If you have a problem with that, look me up, I am in the book.
To the Point
All of the modesty post and issue aside, I wanted the incident to serve as an example of the importance regarding how we read and respond to things online.
First, if you are going to read an article, blog post, Facebook Status, Tweet(whatever that is), or anything whether online or off, paper pad or I-pad, read it carefully. If you cannot do so, either do not read it at all or keep your opinion to yourself. Most people put time and effort into what they post, respect that by trying to construct the authors meaning, formulating an appropriate response, or just stop reading what they have written. It is that easy.
Secondly, I know the internet is all about being anonymous, but if you have something to say to a writer or blogger about work they posted, contact them and ask about it. Okay, some of the more famous writers may not be able to be contacted, but I guarantee most average Joe bloggers and posters can be gotten in touch with, and quite a few would probably love to converse with you about what they have written.
Third, a good practice for anybody, but in particular Christians. As believers we live, or should live by a higher standard, we set the tone, so we should not hide behind the internet to do our fleshly deeds of bashing and slandering. Just because the rest of the world does it, by no right gives us the privilege to do so also. Are we not to look different than the world or did I miss a memo? Being a believer does not stop because we are online, our testimony is just as much there in the digital as what it is the physical realms.
Fourthly, these bloggers, writers, commenters, myself, and anyone else online are all people. What a revelation right? Sure blogs, message boards, online games, people may not seem real, there may be a cold disconnect, but the people on the other side of the screen are actual human beings with actual human emotions. Things you say online, can hurt, even if people do not respond or play it off, somewhere in there it may stick. And for believers, Christ calls us to love people, that INCLUDES people we have contact with online.
A Final Thought
All of the above is as much to you as it is to me. Like I said before, what happened regarding my post did not bother me, but more so served as an effective illustration to the importance of how we both read an respond to that which is online. Be mindful of how you read and respond to things, especially to the people behind the posting. I am not trying to sound repetitive, but it is the small things we often tend to overlook the easiest. Do not treat others or their work, online or off, the way you would want to be treated, but the way Christ would want you to treat them. A good rule of thumb to end on; if you would not say something to a person face to face, why would you say it at all?