I can't tell you how many times I have heard that little phrase from various Christian leaders. And while it is a funny way of putting it, I agree with the idea behind it. In today's world, modesty has lost its value. But it is important for Christian women to remember that modesty is important both for self-respect and to help Christian men to keep from stumbling. Understanding this, I try to dress what I would consider pretty modestly. However, today was a wake up call on different standards of modesty...
At my job, since we are working with Muslim families, we try to be very respectful and dress to what some in the western world would consider overly modesty. Women wear loose pants or skirts passed their knees. Shirts must come up to the collarbone and sleeves extend to the elbows (preferably passed the elbows). In the eighty degree weather we will be having this summer, this might not be the most comfortable, but its something we do anyway out of respect.
But today we had a very strict Muslim family come to our center. The woman was in a burqa. As I stood next to her in my long skirt, high collared shirt with sleeves to the elbows, I have never felt more immodest in my life! Why was that? Why does my standard of modesty change depending on who I am with? Since she was completely covered except for her eyes, all of a sudden I felt awkward.
Throughout the morning, it was interesting to learn a bit about this family. Through a translator, we discovered they are a devout Muslim family. The man prays at the Mosque five times every day. Their son (the middle son of three boys) needed heart surgery which is why they were in Jerusalem. During our Bible Study, he followed along in an Arabic translation of the Bible. This resulted in a rousing discussion. The Qur'an says Jesus never died. The Bible obviously does. This man believed all other holy books are good, but contain errors. The Qur'an was the last one written and is perfect (sort of God's way getting everything straightened out). They also wondered why our guitarist put the lyric sheets on the ground while she played- those have the name of God on them and to do this they consider VERY disrespectful.
All in all, an interesting discussion. The whole situation was... something. I didn't know they were coming, and it is unusual to have Muslim visitors during staff worship time, but I think it was valuable for all of us to hear their perspective. Now we know some of the areas of the Bible they take fault with and we will be able to better counter their arguments.