Not long ago a youth pastors forum I am a part of discussed the “bikini” issue. It became a lively debate on how each of us handled the topic. My favorite response was from a guy who currently serves in Europe. He talked of culture responding, “I wish they would wear two pieces here. Yes it’s a one piece, only the bottoms for men and women.” This one statement has stuck with me as I have talked about the need for appropriate swimwear with both my youth group and my own children. It made me realize that as we discuss the topic of dress in any way we must ask our students three questions:
- When it comes to dress, is this a “girl only” issue?
Answer: NO. We over focus on how visual guys are. A girl dressed in just the right way causes them to think in the wrong direction. However, a “hot guy” minus his shirt will garner the same response. While in America, we usually don’t have to ask guys to avoid speedos, let’s recognize everyone is looking at each other.
- Why are you wearing it?
Answer: Is it the style or are you trying to be “seen?” When you look around a beach there are women 8-80 in two pieces. Guys are wearing certain things to make the girls “swoon,” or are they. We can argue cultural norms, however, why are you wearing what you wear?
- What are you doing to stop the madness?
Answer: We can place so much emphasis, especially on girls, to watch what they wear we can miss a vital teaching point. Responsibility falls on both sides of this issue. When we put on clothes, we should be learning how to be pure in this area. HOWEVER, those peeping need to take responsibility for their lingering look. So pose to your students: will they consider others when they dress AND will they work on where their thoughts wander when they see those around them?
These questions should be posed to all our students. I work with primarily unchurched inner city students, and I work with them on this. It’s a journey in learning to follow the Lord, this is one piece of the puzzle.
What questions would you ask?