A woman walked into my study a few days ago. She was nearly naked, wearing only a bra and panties.
There is just one woman in the world who, while dressed like this, can be around me: my wife. But the woman who walked into my study a few days ago was not my wife. I was very embarrassed.
She, however, was not embarrassed at all. Let’s call her: “Shameless.”
The reason Shameless was not embarrassed was because she had swallowed the lie of our modern society. This lie says the following: if the bra and panties are the same color and made of a fabric that can be used in water, then walking around in them is completely different than walking around in underwear because they are, after all, swimwear.
Shameless is a professing Christian, yet, because she has bought into this lie, she has no problem exposing her body to the whole world. I imagine she might be embarrassed to walk in the mall, or visit her grandparents, dressed only in her bra and panties. But for some reason, she does not see any problem in choosing a photo of herself dressed this way as her Facebook profile photo.
That’s how she came into my office: by my computer screen.
I have hundreds of “friends” on Facebook that I hardly know. I accept friend requests from anyone who professes to be Christian, because I want to expand my network of contacts so I can promote the work of the various Reformed organizations and institutions I work with.
However, when a contact posts things on Facebook that promote indecent thoughts, or attitudes or actions that are not Christian, I delete them immediately.
Let me share with you the reasons why I deleted Shameless.
1. Her body belongs to her husband
If she is not married, she must keep her body for her future husband (1 Cor 7:4). Her body is not to be exposed for the world to see, much less is to be displayed on my computer screen.
2. My passion belongs to my wife
Seeing the body of another woman does not promote my sanctification or edify my marriage (Prov. 5:15-20; Job 31:1). God created man so that he experiences a very strong reaction when he sees the body of a woman. This reaction within marriage is beautiful and promotes true love. Outside of marriage it is shameful and brings destruction and sorrow.
In this world, mired as it is in immorality and sexual perversion, vigilance is necessary for a man to keep his sexual purity. When other women present themselves almost naked to him, that surely does not help in his fight against sin.
3. Public nakedness is a denial of Christ’s work
When man fell into sin, his nakedness was exposed. God then gave clothes to cover the shame of Adam and Eve. An animal had to die so that their nakedness was covered. This was a foreshadowing of Christ’s work, in which He was exposed and naked on the cross, taking upon Himself our shame, and shedding his blood for us so we could be covered with the white robes of His righteousness.
The way we dress reflects something about our understanding of the Gospel. When Christian men and women expose their bodies in public, they are obscuring the manifestation of the power of Christ’s work in their lives – instead of dressing in decent apparel, with modesty and good sense, they mimic the world, which glories in its shame.
Sadly many readers will find this article too radical. Christian women can’t wear bikinis? Men should vigilantly avoid looking at such exposed women?
There’s a reason this seems radical: we’re so mired in worldliness that we don’t even notice it. Today’s worldly, superficial Christianity produces worldly, superficial Christians. However Christianity as taught by Christ and his apostles is a total transformation of life in all respects, accompanied by a radical commitment to holiness. The change in us is not meant to be a slight one – we are to be transformed into something else entirely: “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Cor 5:17a). Now that’s radical! And that is Christianity!
This article first appeared in Portuguese, and was first published in English in Reformed Perspective (www.ReformedPerspective.ca). It is reprinted here with permission.
12 Replies to “Facebook and the 7th Commandment”
This is a very good article. Congratulations on saying it the way that it is.
What about people who don’t believe in any god, Christian or otherwise? Perhaps the person you saw on Facebook was not a Christian.
It says in the article that “Shameless” was a professing Christian.
Great point. In the author’s case, he states he only adds people who profess to be Christian since he uses Facebook as a tool to promote the work of various Reformed organizations. Our goal was to share this article with a Christian audience, to whom all of the above applies.
In other cases, I guess one would have consider his/her own responsibility and weigh the costs and benefits of maintaining someone as a Facebook friend if this could lead to immoral thoughts.Like Wieske says, “vigilance is necessary for a man to keep his sexual purity.”
“A woman who focuses on worshiping God will consider carefully how she is dressed, because her heart will dictate her wardrobe.”~John MacArthur
I like this article, but it made me wonder… how far do you intend for this reasoning to go? As a man, I wear swimming shorts. They’re not significantly different than my underwear, and they obviously leave a lot of skin uncovered, “exposing [my] body to the whole world.”
With that in mind, I’m not embarrassed at all when I wear my bathing suit, and I don’t have a problem if those pictures are put online (and in that way into other people’s homes). On the other hand, I would certainly “be embarrassed to walk in the mall, or visit [my] grandparents, dressed only in [my underwear].”
I don’t have a problem with your message at all – I actually appreciate it. I’m just wondering what you think about men’s swimwear. Do your points also apply to men? If not, why not?
You are right, there is not supposed to be a difference between male and female nudity. Our culture has allowed this difference to exist, but we must ask these questions not based on our feelings, but based on God’s Word.
Unto Adam also and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skins, and clothed them.
God clothed them, covered them… both
I choose to wear a rash shirt and board shorts over my swim briefs, so does my wife and my children. This means that in most swimming races I will not be able to win, unless others wear the same gear, but I prefer to honour God with the way I dress.
I do at the moment struggle with the question whether public bathing and beach going are good things at all, as the temptations of female nudity are not ignorable.
Cheers from New Zealand,
Disagree with this article. While posing in a bikini for your facebook page may be inappropriate and unwise, it is not shameful. There is no shame in the body, only in the way we might think about it. Also, her body does not belong to her husband; it belongs to her.
William, I’m assuming you are saying this as an unbeliever. The bible, after all, explicitly says that husband and wife belong to each other.
“For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” 1 cor. 7:4
If you don’t agree with that foundational thought, don’t bother saying you disagree with the article. Just say you disagree with scripture and be done with it.
Facebook “friends” ? There are better means of encouraging friendships.
Hey I am also a Christian writer I have a differing view, although I agree to some extent but this is an article I wrote a few months ago which counters yours a little. As a girl I’d like to talk to you about this
That I see a woman in scanty or revealing (un)dress does not in any way mean that I must or will desire to have sex with herb wife or unmarried.
It is impossible to go out of the house today and expect to not see women of all sizes and shapes from beanpole to grizzly sow in every degree of (un)dress. If only they understood that tights are not pants! Avoidance is not possible except by keeping my eyes closed. To look away from one means looking at another in even less covering. So mental discipline is the only possibility.