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What if we as Christians started fighting the real battle against shame?

“Those high school girls … they dress so slutty,” she said, and then casually chuckled and added, “It’s a battlefield for men out there.”

My entire body felt tingly and hot, as I sat quietly. I didn’t quite know why her words prompted such a strong response inside me, but I excused myself to the restroom. When I came back, the subject was changed, but I continued to mull over her words. She was on staff with a high school ministry and was referencing the girls she tried to save, help, counsel, whatever.

I didn’t say anything about her comment because it’s not my goal to go around pointing fingers, but you know what I wanted to say?

“Excuse me, ma’am. Stop it right there. Those slutty-dressing girls?

Battleground for men? What about the battle that women face — with the church and many telling us we are causing men to stumble?

What about all the shame that is heaped on WOMEN from the church about our bodies? Are we really in a battle over bikinis and low-cut tops?

What if we as Christians started fighting the real battle against shame? The shame that is pervasive throughout our culture — the voice that tells women they are dirty because men are stumbling over their bodies.”

Enough with the modesty talk that, in my experience, often leads to blaming women for men’s lust.

Sure, it’s important to dress in such a way so a man is looking at your eyes, not your breasts — BUT it’s not your responsibility to walk around worried about everyone else (Emily Maynard wrote a great article on this). If Christians or youth leaders, or anyone for that matter, has ever made you feel dirty because of something you wore or didn’t wear, I’m terribly sorry.

You aren’t dirty and your body is not a problem nor is it a burden. It’s a gift, a beautiful gift, one God gave you.

And if we are to love as Jesus loved, the word ‘slutty’ should not be a part of our vocabulary. Remember how Jesus responded to the woman caught in adultery? If you’re in ministry and stressed about how your girls are dressing, why not relax and remind them of their beauty? Why not tell them they are worth loving and see how it changes their need for every man in the room to notice them?

What if at the next church gathering, all the women dressed in loose-fitting turtlenecks and baggy pants — would we win the “battle”?

Would lust disappear with every v-neck tee and pair of skinny jeans? Yes, I know what a struggle lust is for men and I understand the importance of modesty.

But do you know what else I know? That calling women’s clothing, and especially choices, slutty hurts, especially when it comes from Christians who are supposed to love radically.

Ruthie Dean is a book marketer at Harper Collins Christian by day and a dreamer and writer by night. She and her mustache-enthusiast husband call Nashville home. Their relationship book, Real Men Don’t Text, will hit bookstores in September of 2013. You can read her blog www.ruthiedean.com and follow her on Twitter.

More from Ruthie Dean or visit Ruthie at http://ruthiedean.com/

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