Friday, 06. June 2014 by Renee Ellison
Clothing selections are a powerful means of identifying with God’s kingdom or the enemy’s kingdom. Identity is the key. The origins of clothing fads and designs are important indicators of which kingdom. Some current styles of clothing originated with gangs in the inner city; marketers took those ideas and sold them to the middle and upper-class culture, making it, for the first time in history, popular to dress “down.” Other choices, for example skinny jeans, have been popularized by rock stars. Alarmingly, skinny jeans can be bad for a guy’s health in the genital area, in addition to the godless emotions they evoke from others.
All of us are familiar with modesty issues created by dozens of clothing choices made by adolescents. But let’s look at some further challenges that just this one specific clothing choice creates, as an example of how far reaching all kinds of clothing issues can become.
Let’s briefly consider the problems of allowing your young adult to wear tight pants. “A recent study by Korean doctors suggests that skinny jeans can cause Varicose veins. Among men, tight trousers may also cause dyspermia due to overheating of the testes.” A further report states that “according to a new survey of 2,000 British men, tight-fitting jeans can cause urinary tract infections, twisted testicles, bladder weakness and long-term health consequences.” A third news article reported, “Twisted testicles is a serious condition that occurs `when tight trousers prevent the spermatic cord from moving freely, meaning it twists and leads to testicular torsion which cuts off the blood supply requiring immediate surgery to prevent a gangrenous testicle,’ noted the report.”
Some religious groups have serious concerns about tight pants. Some Middle Eastern Islamic groups disapprove of tight trousers, because they are considered immodest, overtly sexual, or a threat to local traditions. In Saudi Arabia, the police are instructed to arrest teenagers who dress this way because the tight jeans are seen as un-Islamic and, when worn by men, a sign of homosexual leanings. In the Gaza strip, Palestinian youths caught wearing skinny jeans have been arrested and beaten by the police, and have been forced to have their hair cut. In Sudan and Iraq, young men and women have been imprisoned, raped and even murdered for wearing them. (Source)
These quotes show that clothing is “read” by all sorts of cultures and ideological persuasions. It is important to get our youth to understand that. Even when someone beholds them from far away, across a street or park, their appearance visually declares their ultimate allegiance to some world-view. Clothing is a vital issue, not a peripheral one (as our culture has tried to persuade us by using the phrase: “Pick your battles”).
Clothing choices, really, at their root, are an extension of the heart. When godly youth counselors set out to reform troubled youth in rehabilitation houses, they often begin by changing their clothing and music.
Business people know the importance of dress. In fact, clothing standards are often built right into their training. Realtors dress to the nines, even in showing houses to a bum client who may himself be dressed in shabby clothing, because the agent realizes that some acquaintance of the bum might be the one who buys the property! The bum’s relative might even have just received an inheritance, etc. A real estate agent’s clothing is the primary advertising that can be read by the client. After some reflection we find that this is true for all people in business, and in society.
I dress professionally, for example, even for tutoring six little unseen, hidden-away children of one family, out in the county. Why? I wear a blazer every day so that I look official, like an expensive tutor from London. It helps me carry authority with them beyond what they are likely to see of their neighbors, for example. When I arrive, something arrives with me—advertising—and my clothing says “I mean business; this is important work; this is so important, it is worth dressing up for, and now you as a child have to deliver!”
So when guiding your young people in this area, bait your son or daughter with making himself/herself irresistible and important to people, rather than settling for just being one of the current pop crowd. Awakening their long-term self-interest and reputation can help sway them to understand the significance of their clothing choices for their own future.
Further explain, “If you appear to be one thing (belonging to the world) but think you actually belong to a different kingdom, godliness, it can be missed by others, just by their observing a simple thing like dress. Every detail of our life points to one kingdom or another. People—even the stranger—read details. So, by your dress whose kingdom are you advancing? Your Creator’s, or the devil’s? Whose agenda, really, your own as a child of the King’s, or a magazine’s?”
And so we see, in conclusion, that you do well to wage the battle when your young adult challenges your biblical standards for his clothing. Persevere.