(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Purity or Sexism?
By Iain Dick
This year we’ve talked a lot about purity and I have shared a lot of my perspective; as a millennial; as a parent; and now I’m going to share as a guy. Just your average guy who experienced some purity culture, but has also paid attention to the women in his life and what they were taught during that time. I think it is safe to say that even though we may have heard the same lessons, what we took away from those lessons was not the same thing.
I have shared that I didn’t receive a lot of teaching on purity when I was younger, but what I took away from that time still left me with several questions. I thank God that He has answered many of them for me, but I would like to look at some of those questions and try to explain some answers for the guys out there. This is how I would rewrite Purity for guys today.
Have you been “mis-sold” purity?
When you were taught about purity, was there a difference between male and female purity?
When you were being taught about modesty; was there a difference between a boy’s modesty and a girl’s modesty?
My main question now, is were you taught purity or sexism?
Purity was never supposed to be a girl thing. They are not the gatekeepers or protectors of all purity. If you’re a boy, and a follower of Jesus Christ, you are responsible. You are responsible for your own purity. That’s it. You cannot control the things that may pop up on TV, or how a company decides to use sex to sell their product, but you can control how long you look at it, and whether or not you look again, and again.
Modesty was never supposed to be a girl thing. When she was a teenager, my wife, like many girls her age, were talked to about dressing modestly. They were told to dress in a way that wasn’t too low-cut, not too revealing, not too much skin on-show. But where was my talk? When was I ever told not to dress modestly? I wasn’t. I still, to this day, find it strange that many girls were told not to show too much skin, yet if a group went to the beach, the guys would have their shirts off, and no one thought that contradictory.
Last year, I went to the beach with some fellow parent-friends, and our kids – the group was predominantly female, I was one of two Dads there. He and I took our kids into the water, and we had our shirts off there, but returning to where we were all camped out, we covered up. Why? Because even in adulthood, no matter who you are, modesty matters.
Proverbs 2:6-12 – “For the Lord gives wisdom; from his mouth comes knowledge and understanding; he stores up sound wisdom for the upright; he is a shield to those who walk in integrity, guarding the paths of justice and watching over the way of his saints. Then you will understand righteousness and justice and equity, every good path; for wisdom will come into your heart, and knowledge will be pleasant to your soul; discretion will watch over you, understanding will guard you, delivering you from the way of evil…”
Seeking wisdom from God will always serve you well. Not only will it tell you directly the right and wrong way to live, but it gives you wisdom to make better decisions.
Guys, we must walk in the same purity, modesty, and integrity that we would expect from anyone else. It is not a girl’s job to protect your eyes, although consideration works both ways.
If you hold any personal expectation of the women in your life (whether it’s in modesty, purity, etc); my challenge to you is to get there first. Set an example. Be 100% responsible for your own purity. Ask yourself the question “Do I expect the same behavior from my fellow men, that I do from women?”
As a throwback to February’s [Pure And Simple] “Set yourself apart, consecrate yourself. Don’t allow the messy parts of human life get in the way of your standing with God. Purity culture made many of us learn the shame of when you get it wrong. Real purity is keeping the devotion of your life aimed at God first.”
Start there, and allow God to rewrite your story.