There’s hardly any way to talk about the way women dress without coming off as the voyeristic pervert, the old cranky prude, or the fire-eating, Bible-thumping legalist, but whatever, there is a verse in the Bible somewhere that says Christian girls shouldn’t dress like harlots. And every once in a while someone should say so.
Now let’s just work through the basic structure of the thing. First, we keep our priorities straight: Jesus didn’t condemn prostitutes for dressing like prostitutes. We assume that there were cultural cues in the first century just like there are today. Just like always, there have been some women kidnapped, enslaved against their wills, and forced into prostitution, but there have also always been some women tempted toward that kind of abuse and oppression. For some, there’s a sick sort of security in being used and abused; ‘my life may be a chaotic mess but at least I know he needs me,’ the battered wife assures herself, the molested daughter tries to convince herself. But Jesus came proclaiming freedom to every slave. And He did this by proclaiming forgiveness and healing. Jesus came to disarm the Accuser and all accusers and send abused women out in peace saying, “Go and sin no more.”
But this does not change the fact that the way a woman tends to dress is tied directly to the state of her heart. An unforgiven, guilty conscience will tend to dress in certain ways to compensate, distract, and lie about that inner state. But the lies remain lies even with nice-Christian-girl smiles. And not only can God see through the lies, wise fathers and mothers and pastors start to see the tell-tale signs, and pretty soon it’s just like putting a sticker on your shirt that says, “Hello, My Name Is ______. And I’m insecure.”