Freedom of Expression

As U.S. citizens, we are given the freedom to express ourselves in many ways that people in other countries are not. Two of those ways are through our dress and speech.

First Timothy 2:9 says, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety…” Most people would not argue that a Christian should be modestly dressed. But, what is modest? That is where there is a difference of opinion.

Freedom in Dress

I will be the first to admit that it is hard to find well-fitting clothes–I am tall and very curvy. Especially clothes that make me feel pretty and comfortable, and still are modest at the same time.

As Christians, we know that everything we do or don’t do is watched by others.  Anywhere we go, one of the first things that people notice about others is what they are wearing. While I do not believe in judging a book by its cover, I do believe, as Christians, we need to at least have a cover on! We all have our own standards on what is modest and what is not. I cannot sit and tell you what you can and can’t wear, but I can help you make your decisions based on God’s Word.

As young women, we deal with our bodies changing almost every day. We begin to have curves that we didn’t have before, and suddenly we begin to be recognized by boys. I am not going to say that the recognition is based solely on looks, but you have to ask yourself when you put on your clothes if it is going to give someone the wrong impression of you.

If a boy can see a lot of your skin, will he then want to touch your skin? Will that make him want something more? I am in no way saying that you have to be covered from head to toe, but I am saying that maybe we need to think a little more about what is covered and what is not before we go out with our friends, or even to worship service. We need to train our hearts to want what is right to God, rather than what we think should be right.

Freedom in Speech

Another way we express ourselves is through speech. I know that slang changes with every generation, so even though I am not that old, I know the slang from my day is out. But, it seems as though more and more internet slang is being used in everyday life. We have to be careful not to get pulled into this. Just because you are using acronyms instead of the word doesn’t make it acceptable by any means. And I am not only talking about curse words. The hate that can be displayed through acronyms is astonishing to me. It is almost as if there is a completely different language online used to hurt people and gossip, to abuse and defame.

James 3:5-6 tells us, “Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.”

What we say affects all of God’s church. If someone knows you are a member of the Church but hears you saying something horrible about someone or using language that is questionable, he or she will think that the Church is full of hypocrites. It is the same thing with online acronyms. Just because it is a letter of the alphabet and not the actual word does not mean that it is not effective. To the person who reads it, it still means the same thing.

Using inappropriate language is, unfortunately, becoming more and more acceptable in our world. Like any habit, cursing is one that is hard to change. If you already use that kind of language, perhaps to help yourself to stop, you should fill your vocabulary with other words. Find a word in the dictionary and try to learn a new word each day (of course, it has to be one that is appropriate). Force yourself to find words to express your feelings without using vulgar language.

Whether you decide to pull out your dictionary or not, it is always best to think before you speak. I know we have all heard that many times, but it is definitely one of the easiest ways to keep yourself from saying something you do not really mean. Perhaps if we all thought a little more about what we were saying, and doing, we would not make many of the mistakes that we do.

So, as we celebrate freedom as a nation, let’s remember that as a Christian, we must always express ourselves in a way that shows others who truly sets us free, Jesus.

By Sarah Ancheta

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