As my daughter gets older, the bathing suit choices of girls (and women) is becoming more and more of a concern to me. We’ve chosen to teach modesty in our household, not because we want to be different but because we desire to adhere to biblical standards and want our children to learn to respect themselves for the beautiful person God created them to be (Genesis 1:27). We want our children to find a helpmate that loves them for their personality and morals rather than finding a partner based on pure physical attraction. We understand this is contrary to the modern worldview and we’re okay with this. We don’t desire to be pleasing to man, but to God alone. After all, we will answer for our lives and choices to God, not man.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about our clothing choices (and this includes bathing suits):
“Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” 1 Timothy 2:9-10
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
“Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30
“For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.” 1 John 2:16
“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.” Deuteronomy 22:5
It makes my heart so sad to see our children dressed in skimpy bikinis and taking pictures of themselves for all the world to see. What then are we teaching our children? We’re merely teaching them that their body is needed to attract the attention of the boys. We’re teaching them that they need to wear less to acquire beauty. We’re teaching them that it’s okay to flaunt their bodies and be lusted over by boys. We’re teaching them, at an early age, to find joy in being lusted over.
And what about the women in our society? We must be held accountable as well! When we choose to wear so little in terms of clothing and bathing suits, it’s what our daughters will do as well. We need to be teaching them to love themselves as God made them. Not only do we live in a world where the eyes of young men are lustful, but older men as well. Shouldn’t we be protecting them and loving them enough to clothe them appropriately and keeping them from the eyes of predators? Women, we too must obey the commands of God and be examples for the younger girls. We must wear appropriate swimwear and abstain from taking pictures of our less-than-dressed-bodies (also known as soft porn for boys and men). We must accept our bodies and love ourselves enough. We must teach our daughters that they are worthy, that they are enough, and that they were created in the image of God. We must teach them, that as Christians, the Holy Spirit resides in their body and that they are a temple for God and they must clothe themselves respectably in the eyes of God. We must lead by example and help them understand that the way NOT to find a suitable helpmate is for the first interactions to be based on lust and sexual attraction.
The Bible warns us about tempting others in Matthew 18:6-9, “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. ‘Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes! And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into the hell of fire.’”
Do we not realize that when we wear so little that we are causing our Christian brothers to stumble in their walk? Do we not realize that when our daughters wear so little that they are causing young men to stumble in their walk and that these young men will be the very men our daughters will one day marry? We must do everything to stop our children from stumbling in their walks with Christ. We must stop our young men from lusting over our daughters’ bodies. We must prevent our children from lust and sexual temptations. And we must love our children enough to walk alongside them in biblical standards.
And men, I challenge you to lead your family as Christ lead the church (Ephesians 5:23). Hold your wife accountable for her clothing and bathing suit choices. Do you want other men (and young boys) looking at her with lustful eyes? Do you want your daughter wearing less than appropriate and attracting undue attention of boys who will clearly not be thinking Godly thoughts about her? Stand up for your faith! Stand up for your family! This is your charge as a husband and father!
I dare you ladies… I dare you women of God… to stand firm in your faith, to be convicted by the Holy Spirit to change your appearance at the pool. I dare you to teach your daughter modesty. Let’s be the change! Let us represent Christ, even at the pool.