Since we’re having such a good time discussing the merits of bikini-wear, I thought I would just stay on topic for the moment. When someone (like me) suggests that something (like a bikini) is immodest, our first instinct is to say, “Show me a verse where bikinis are not allowed.” We tend to want lines drawn and lists made up which are easy to enforce. We want a wooden rule which is easy to read. Show me why I can’t rather than show me why I should.
Our other tendency is to limit the rightness or wrongness of bikini-wearing to a matter of heart motive. Then it becomes off limits to discuss, because we all know that it is a big no-no to judge heart motives. So where do we go and how do we decide?
Let’s come at it another way. Rather than looking for the absence of evil motives, let’s look for the presence of good ones. The Bible says women should be (to list a few things) sober, discreet, chaste (Titus 2:4-5), meek and quiet (1 Peter 3:4) holy (vs. 5-6), modest, dressing with propriety and moderation (1 Timothy 2:8), characterized by faith, charity, and holiness with self-control (vs. 15). So let’s say a Christian woman is wearing a thong to the beach. She says her conscience is clear and her husband doesn’t mind and she has no impure motives at all. But that is not the same thing as having good, Christ-like motives as she puts on her thong. Is she being discreet, chaste, holy, etc.? Show me how a thong (or a bikini) is a demonstration of propriety and moderation, chastity and self-control.
Okay, here’s one. I can imagine a woman coming to Christ who has grown up in Europe frequenting the topless beaches. Let’s say that she realizes it is no longer appropriate, so she dons a bikini top. I would commend her for moving in the right direction. But I would also expect that as she matures in Christ, she will eventually stay away from that beach entirely! Nevertheless, she is wearing a bikini, going against the crowd in an attempt to be modest, and she may even get ridiculed by her friends for doing so. But most of the girls who are wearing bikinis are not in this situation at all, and they are the ones I am addressing here.
We want to measure the amount of skin, the hem length, or the neckline in square inches and defend our ground based on our lack of evil motives and the lack of a Bible verse that mentions skinny dipping. But we should be looking somewhere else entirely, and that is to Christ. How does our clothing demonstrate that we belong to Him? How does it display our discretion, holiness, chastity, moderation, self-control, and meekness? When we look at it that way, we are getting closer to the truth.
And one last point. Christian women are to adorn themselves (1 Peter 3) in a manner that impresses God. But dressing to be attractive is not at all the same as dressing to attract.