Meagan Good is a talented actress whose career began when she was a young child. Through the years, Good has appeared in numerous commercials, music videos, television shows and feature films. She first received critical acclaim in 1997 for her performance in “Eveâ€™s Bayou.” Good has publicly professed faith in Christ, and since 2012, she has been married to DeVon Franklin, a film producer and author.
An accomplished studio executive, Franklin is president and CEO of Franklin Entertainment. As an African-American in such a powerful position, he is a trailblazer in the entertainment industry. Like his wife, Franklin is a professed Christian, as well as a Seventh-Day Adventist minister. To be sure, they are a Hollywood power couple.
Good and her husband are currently embroiled in a controversy surrounding her style of dress. For years, many have criticized the way she dresses as too revealing, especially for a preacherâ€™s wife. Others say people simply need to stop judging her and mind their own business.
On Valentineâ€™s Day, things came to a head at One Church Los Angeles. During a livestream event moderated by Pastor TourÃ© Roberts, Good and Franklin were discussing their book, “The Wait,” and their choice to remain celibate during courtship. A woman stepped to the microphone and raised an issue with Good about her clothing choices.
“I was at the grocery store, and I looked at a newsstand and saw you, and you had your breasts showing. (Actually, that was overstated by the woman, but the outfit was revealing.) You are a beautiful young woman and your testimony is awesome. The Lord let me come and push past the judgment, because you have to make sure what you say and what you do match up, you understand?”
The woman concluded by asking Good: “So. we are going to cover up, right?”
Before Good could respond, her husband jumped in and said, “Wait a minute. No, no. That is not what we are here for. She is not going to cover up. She will wear what she wants to wear in the name of Jesus. Amen. Yes, she will.”
Franklin’s response brought a thunderous ovation from the church. Franklin kissed Good as she wiped tears of hurt and embarrassment from her eyes.
I have concluded that Good and Franklin are not really the issue. The main issue is that all of us who claim faith in Christ must come to a biblical understanding of modesty, whether we’re in the public eye or not. A biblical view of modesty not only applies to a preacher’s wife, but to the woman who confronted her at the event.
When it comes to how Christians dress, there are two extremes that are unbiblical and damaging to the church and our individual witness. On one side of the spectrum is legalism; on the other side is libertarianism.
A legalistic view might involve a local congregation where the women are not allowed to wear makeup, earrings or pants of any kind. Oftentimes women in these settings who don’t strictly adhere to this man-made code are shamed by others. They are led to believe, sadly, that in order to walk in holiness, one must be in compliance with the churchâ€™s traditions.
Usually, in these contexts, women are the only ones for whom modesty is emphasized. Essentially, men are given a free pass in this regard. Such a double standard is unbiblical and demeaning to women.
Proponents of libertarian free will believe that whether other people are offended by what they wear should have no bearing on their clothing choices. They see themselves as autonomous, thus not accountable to anyone. A Christian with a libertarian view might say, “Christ has set me free from the Old Testament law, so I am free to wear whatever makes me comfortable.”
As we closely examine Godâ€™s Word, we discover this is an abuse of the biblical principle of freedom. Like the legalistic view, the libertarian view is not rooted in Scripture. It is apparent that both Good and Franklin subscribe to a libertarian view.
Good has a history of defending her stylistic choices and has presented herself as a “sexy Christian.” She has said, “There is a classy way to do everything, and there is nothing wrong with being sexy or having sex appeal.”
Well, there is something wrong with a woman trying to be sexy or have sex appealÂ â€“Â if it’s for someone other than her husband.
A Christian womanâ€™s preoccupation with sexiness is really quite shallow. Proverbs 31:30 says, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty of a beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.” In 1 Timothy 2:9, we read: “likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control.”
Christian women who are intentional about being sexy in public show a lack of self-control. They are objectifying themselves, which prevents them from being seen as persons made in the image of God.Â Also,Â my experience inÂ ministry and the mental health field teaches me that some women who dress provocatively do so because of their emotional insecurities.Â They have bought into the lie that the attractiveness of their bodies is what gives them a true sense of self-worth.
We must consider that, as sinful creatures, we are often â€œlured and enticedâ€ by our own desires (James 1:14). In other words, many of us have hadÂ â€“Â and continue to haveÂ â€“Â issues with what 1 John 2:16 calls “the lust of the eyes.”
Men, for instance, tend to be sexually aroused by what we see. This includes women whom we find attractive or images of the same. This is why pornography is a multi-billion dollar business with many Christian consumers.
When a Christian woman dresses in a manner that encourages the sexual arousal of a man to whom sheâ€™s not married, she is offending her brothers as well as her body, which is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-8; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20).
But donâ€™t get it twisted; Christian women are not the only ones who struggle with modesty. A number of us clergymen are immodest in our presentation. Some in our ranks can be extremely flamboyant in their dress. Oftentimes, more clothes are sold at ministerâ€™s conferences than books. Seemingly, some are more concerned with whatâ€™s on their backs than whatâ€™s in their heads. Sometimes our congregants canâ€™t see Jesus because our suits are too bright. Some have even begun wearing “muscle shirts” while preaching, so as to display their biceps.
Thereâ€™s nothing wrong with a preacher being well-dressed, but oneâ€™s attire should never take people’s attention away from the main attraction: Jesus.
I am deeply troubled by DeVon Franklinâ€™s remarks. He is truly treading in dangerous waters by saying his wife “is not going to cover up. She will wear what she wants to wear in the name of Jesus. Amen.” I get that Franklin is fiercely loyal to his wife, as I am to mine. I also get that the way in which the woman confronted Good lacked both tact and timeliness. However, Franklin ought to be very careful how and when he invokes the name of Jesus.
Any of us could say, “In the name of Jesus,” and Jesus not have anything to do with our decision-making process or behavior.
When selecting outfits, Christians need to consider how clothing choices might adversely impact others, especially those who are striving for purity. Philippians 2:3-4 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more valuable than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
If given the opportunity to speak directly to Franklin, I would share Ephesians 5:25-27 with him, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water by the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
Letâ€™s consider how Paulâ€™s words apply to this situation. Christâ€™s love for the church is a sacrificial love, in that He gave Himself up for her. Secondly, Christâ€™s love for the church is a selfless love, as He is focused on her well-being. Lastly, Christâ€™s love for the church is a sanctifying love, in that He desires to cleanse her and present her as a holy bride.
In view of this passage, letâ€™s be brutally honest: If a Christian husband is endeavoring to love his wife as Christ loved the church, should he hold her up as an object of other men’s lust? Of course not.
A Christian husband should embrace his role as a Christ-like servant-leader so his bride is presented publicly in a manner that glorifies God. To say that a Christian wife does not need to cover herself in keeping with the principle of modesty is pure nonsense.
Romans 14:13 says we must “decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” Paul goes on to say in Romans 14:15-16, “For if your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. So do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.”
The practical application of this text is if a Christian is to continue dressing in a manner that is offensive to other believers, it is an indication that he or she is not walking in love. When individuals receive Christ as Lord and Savior, they are indeed set free. However, they have given up the luxury of being focused on self. In 1 Corinthians 9:19, Paul says, â€œFor though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.â€
I praise God that Meagan Good and DeVon Franklin decided to remain chaste until marriage. However, because of a lack of modesty, what they regard as good is being spoken of as evil.
May God grant us all protection, for none of us is beyond falling in the area of modesty.
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