When we were in the show business world of musicians, recording artists, theater, and modeling, we always greeted each other with a hug and two kisses—one on the left side and one on the right side. This was body to body and cheek to cheek, sometimes lips to lips with both arms around the person. This greeting would last from seconds to minutes, with no regard for marital status. That was show business—worldly, carnal, and irreligious, with no moral compass. Just whatever felt good or seemed the “in thing” to do, we did in social relations. There was a definite comradeship that was “tight or close” because our careers were similar. This is only a mild example of how loose men and women of the world conduct themselves with one another. Should these exhibitions of familiarity be the criterion for God’s people?
God Draws a Line
“There is a distinct line drawn by God Himself between the world and the church, between commandment keepers and commandment breakers. They do not blend together. They are as different as midday and midnight.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 602. Surely God has drawn a line, as it were, in the sand of morality—go this far and no further. But how far do we go? May we suggest the lines have been crossed in male and female modesty? The barriers erected by the Word of God have been broken down, hence, the low morals and the state of unholiness among God’s professed people.
“I beseech you, therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Romans 12:1, 2. “Barriers have been removed, safeguards broken down.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 578. What barriers have been removed? The barriers of female modesty which stand as a protection for solid Christian standards and morals.
“Immorality abounds everywhere. Licentiousness is the special sin of this age.” Counsels on Health, 673. The servant of the Lord goes on to say it would be as impossible for some minds to dwell upon holy themes as it would be to turn the course of the Niagara and send its waters pouring up the falls. Could things really be this corrupt in the church?
Unholy Exhibition of Familiarity
Have you ever been in church on Sabbath when you were told it is time to greet your neighbor? Besides being irreverent, this occasion encourages unholy exhibitions of familiarity that are condemned by the Word of God. Young and old, married or unmarried kiss and hug each other with happy music playing in the background to encourage a feeling of love and warmth. At times, perfect strangers feel at liberty to engage in these loose social exercises with the young and married in a way that is most appalling.
After Sabbath service some time ago, a brother we knew well decided to take the liberty to give Gwen a big Sabbath hello. With arms wide open and a pucker on his lips he launched forward toward her. She extended a firm and stiff right arm and hand. Not being able to cross that barrier, he said quickly, “Oh, its okay. My wife is right here, she does not mind.” Gwen quickly retorted, “But I mind!” She then added that she reserved her hugs and kisses for only one man—her husband! The fellow brother never tried that again!
Another time, years later, this happened with a young man who had previously worked with us in our business. He had since grown up and was a minister and pastor of several churches. He never ventured to do such years ago, but now he was a minister of the gospel and felt it was fine. He reached to hug and kiss Gwen, since he had not seen her in such a long time. She was happy to see him also, but extended her hand. Offended, he grabbed and hugged her anyway. This man is like a son to us, so we felt at liberty to tell him the truth about his actions. After cautioning him about such familiar behavior, he said he was the “kissing preacher.” This is how he kept on good terms with the women of the church—he gave them all a kiss and a hug every Sabbath. This was a handsome young man. Can you imagine what thoughts or feelings were prompted by this kind of behavior? He then admitted that his wife was very cold and unaffectionate toward him and that he made up for it with the ladies in the church. Before we left, we promised to send him texts and quotes so he would know Satan was laying a snare for him with such behavior. He really had a change of heart and spirit, and we prayed before we parted that God would give him grace to change.
The liberties taken in this age of corruption should be no criterion for Christ’s followers. These fashionable exhibitions of familiarity should not exist among Christians fitting for immortality.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 145.
Modesty and Reserve Depart
Because we have followed the world in almost every facet of our lives at a so-called respectable distance, our sense of morality is warped. For instance, at an evangelistic training program, a prohibition is stated for the wearing of jeans by men or women. That sounds good, but have you ever read what the prophetess said about pants—or more correctly the American Costume? This was modest compared to the pants worn now. “Those who feel called out to join the movement in favor of women’s rights and the so-called reform dress (American Costume) might as well sever all connection with the Third Angel’s Message.” Thy Nakedness, 123.
We are also told that the wearing of clothes that resembles that of the opposite sex would cripple our influence and destroy the influence of our message. But one statement is really poignant with meaning. “With the wearing of styles resembling men’s clothing goes a spirit of levity and boldness just in keeping with the dress.” Ibid., 133. The reason the subject of pants is brought up here is because it has an effect upon the way women and girls carry themselves. Pants are worn part of the week or in some cases, all of the week, which causes one to feel more relaxed, free and bold. As the servant of the Lord stated, “Modesty and reserve seem to depart.” Do you think women will, all of a sudden, become meek, unassuming and reserved on Sabbath because they have on their church attire? Have you noticed how many women in our day wear dresses? On Christian campuses or in Christian communities, dresses are as rare as in a common shopping mall. Through sports, worldly music and entertainment, the enemy has brought in a style of dress that is lowering the morals of the church and society in general. The standard of female and male modesty is degraded. The sexual atrocities perpetrated in the church, if done in the world, would be punished to the fullest extent of the law. These sins in the church are winked at, but God does not wink at them. The line drawn in the sand of morality is crossed again and again. Have you considered that the wearing of tight fitting sweaters, pants or skirts, low cuts, slits or sheer clothing invite unwarranted advances from both sexes?
Modesty In the Medical Field
Have we considered that careers where men or women massage, bathe, or examine the opposite sex is opening the door to those weak in moral character a tide of temptations they may not be able to resist? One Adventist massage therapist, who went to school and started her own business in a certain area, along with three other ladies who were also massage therapists, had no qualms about massaging men! After some time, she saw the handwriting on the wall and decided to stop massaging men. The other three therapists had broken families, some with children, and each had run off with their patients.
We are counseled “in our medical institutions there ought always to be women of mature age and good experience who have been trained to give treatments to the lady patients. Women should be educated and qualified just as thoroughly as possible to become practitioners in the delicate diseases which afflict women, that their secret parts should not be exposed to the notice of men…it is a most horrible practice, this revealing the secret parts of women to men or men being treated by women.” Counsels on Health, 364.
We know of at least three personal acquaintances whose families were broken or nearly broken because of the inordinate desire of the physicians to cross the line of female modesty. Many times the guilty parties are not disfellowshipped or censored, but they are transferred to a different area, are re-baptized, or the incident is covered over in secret. They usually keep their positions and supposed respect. This practice runs rampant among Christians.
To physicians, teachers, ministers, or any leader among God’s people, these words of counsel were written, “that which will bring the heaviest retribution is the practice of iniquity under the cloak of godliness.…there is more hope for the open sinner than for this class.” Ibid., 625.
“Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those alive from the dead and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God.” Romans 6:12, 13.
We have been saddened as we have watched older married men caress and cuddle young innocent girls in an inappropriate way, time and time again. We have lamented the sad state of affairs, as some Christian men must close their eyes to the immodest parade of seductive fashions exhibited in our churches on the Sabbath day. As Sabbath school teachers, “women elders”, deaconess’ and members don their cleavage-revealing tops, high-slit skirts, form-fitting and sheer attire—is this an invitation to cross the line or what? “Many men are wicked and will lust after you in spite of anything you can do to prevent it…Should you therefore help them sin? Should you put further temptation in their way? Will God excuse you if you do?” Thy Nakedness, 150.
Dress to Please God
To know how to have Christian decorum and to dress modestly is not something most Christians understand immediately. In fact, most will have to be educated as to what is true modesty according to the Bible standard. In the book Education it says no education is complete without teaching one how to dress modestly and healthfully. So why are we not teaching our members, young and old, to dress to please God and not self? Why not teach our Bible workers, ministers and wives, elders (male and female) how to dress and act with true Christian propriety? Why not teach our students in our schools how to dress properly so they will know when they have gone over the line of modesty? We can assure you, God has given specific direction in every area of our life and we will not be excused because the information is available, but “My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge, because thou hast rejected knowledge I will also reject thee.” Hosea 4:6.
“As Christ’s ambassador, I entreat you who profess present truth to promptly repent any approach to impurity and forsake the society of those who breathe an impure suggestion. Loathe these defiling sins with the most intense hatred. Flee from those who would, even in conversation, let the mind run in such a channel: for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Matthew 12:34. Counsels on Health, 625, 626.
In our brothers and sisters in Christ let us not be:
- Careless in dress—wear whatever we have
- Selfish in dress—wear whatever we want
- Proud in dress—wear what attracts attention to self
- Ignorant in dress—it is not important
If we would study the Bible and the counsels given to the people of God, we would be wise unto salvation. We would not come even close to crossing that line, or barrier, that God has set up between the sexes to preserve purity and morality. “It is not good for a man to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife and let every woman have her own husband.” 1 Corinthians 7:1, 2; Testimonies, vol. 2, 578.
Breaking the Barrier of Modesty
We ask you to consider eight points that break down the barrier of modesty and encourage one to cross the line in the sand of morality, and some counsel to the sisters and brothers from the Lord. Sometimes in dealing with this subject, it seems as though there are as many opinions as there are individuals, almost like the sand on the seashore. But the only opinion that really matters is God’s opinion.
These things break down the barrier and encourage one to cross the line in the sands of morality.
1 History to be repeated:
“Near the close of this earth’s history, Satan will work with all his powers in the same manner and with the same temptations wherewith he tempted ancient Israel just before their entering the land of promise. He will lay snares for those who claim to keep the commandments of God, and who are almost on the borders of the heavenly Canaan. He will use his power to the utmost in order to entrap souls and to take God’s professed people upon their weakest point. Those who have not brought the lower passions into subjection to the higher power of their being, those who have allowed their mind to flow in a channel of carnal indulgence of the baser passions, Satan is determined to destroy with his temptations—to pollute their souls with licentiousness.” Adventist Home, 327.
2 Meat Eating
“Meat eating excites and strengthens the lower passions and has a tendency to deaden the moral powers. The less feverish the diet, the more easily can the passions be controlled.” Counsels on Health, 622.
3 Eating, Drinking and Dressing to Excess
“Christ has left us here a most important lesson…He presents the result of unrestrained indulgence of appetite. The moral powers are enfeebled so that sin does not appear sinful. Crime is lightly regarded, and passion controls the mind, until good principles and impulses are rooted out and God is blasphemed. All this is the result of eating and drinking to excess. This is the condition of things which Christ claims will exist at His Second Coming. Eating, drinking and dressing are carried to such excess that they become crimes.” Counsels on Health, 24.
4 Self Abuse
“Many adopt the secret vile practice of self abuse in their youth; consequently they and their offspring have corrupt, debased passions. This is carried over into adult life by parents who are controlled by corrupt passions and transmit this horrible legacy to children, who then are also corrupt and devoid of principle. Thousands drag out unprincipled lives… ” Ibid. 618–621.
5 Indolence and Idleness
“Indolence and idleness leads to the indulgence of corrupt and licentious habits. Idleness is a curse. Weariness which attends labor will lessen their inclinations to indulge vicious habits.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 348.
6 Novel Reading and Fiction
“Could a large share of the books published be consumed, a plague would be stayed that is doing a fearful work upon mind and heart. Love stories, frivolous and exciting tales and even that class of books called religious novels….the nature of one’s religious experience is revealed by the character of the books one chooses to read in one’s leisure moments.” Messages to Young People, 272–274.
7 Revealing Family Secrets
“Oh how many lives are made bitter by the breaking down of walls which enclose the privacy of every family and which are calculated to preserve its purity and serenity! A third person is taken into confidence of the wife and private family matters are laid open before the special friend. This is the device of Satan to estrange the hearts of the husband and the wife. Oh that this would cease! What a world of trouble would be saved.” Adventist Home, 337.
8 Modesty in Dress and Demeanor
“What crosses do God’s people bear? They mingle with the world, partake of their spirit, dress, talk, and act like them.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 28. “Chaste simplicity of dress, when united with modesty of demeanor, will go far toward surrounding a young woman with the atmosphere of sacred reserve which will be to her a shield from a thousand perils.” Education, 248.
Behavior at Social Gatherings and Amusements
“There has been a class of social gatherings in _________, parties of pleasure that have been a disgrace to our institution and to the church. They encourage pride of dress, pride of appearance, and self-gratification, hilarity and trifling. Satan is entertained as an honored guest and he takes possession of those who patronize this gathering. It prepares the participants of unholy thoughts and actions.” Adventist Home, 514.
“The exciting amusements of our time keep the minds of men and women…in a fever of excitement, which is telling upon their stock of vitality…and have a tendency to dwarf the intellect and corrupt the morals.” Adventist Home, 521.
May the Lord continue to teach us what is right and pleasing in His sight that we shall not venture to cross the lines in the sand of morality.