My biggest question is: Are women immodest when wearing pants?
I have done word studies using a Hebrew and Greek lexicon- I've cross referenced and used the dictionary. And yes, in the Bible, clothing generally is referred to as long, flowing, robes, coats etc.
But I keep coming back to the idea that in that time and culture, men and women wore long flowing garments. They both wore undergarments of some type and the main difference between male and female dress was that women wore veils and head pieces at times.
A lot of people use Deuteronomy 22:5
"The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God. "
What I am wondering is since their apparel was so similar, how could they cross dress? I guess if men wore jewelry or veils and women didn't? Men in our country and in many countries don't wear robes. In some cultures they go naked, because in their particular culture that is acceptable. Yes, in America a man wearing a dress would be considered cross-dressing, but the Bible wasn't written by Americans in a modern time.
Now I'm not saying we should discount this verse at all just because we don't live in the 'olden days'. These are just my thoughts that I'm mulling over right now. So is women wearing dresses cultural? What does it really mean to be modest?
I went to Webster's 1828 dictionary, and this is what I found under the definition of modesty.
"MOD'EST, a. [L. modestus, from modus, a limit.]
MOD'ESTY, n. [L. modestia.] That lowly temper which accompanies a moderate estimate of one's own worth and importance. This temper when natural, springs in some measure from timidity, and in young and inexperienced persons, is allied to bashfulness and diffidence. In persons who have seen the world, and lost their natural timidity, modesty springs no less from principle than from feeling, and is manifested by retiring, unobtrusive manners, assuming less to itself than others are willing to yield, and conceding to others all due honor and respect, or even more than they expect or require.
From what I read here, it seems that modesty is more an internal issue. A woman can be dressed in a beautiful feminine dress, but if she is proud and haughty about her choice to dress in such a way, that is not modesty. A woman that is heartily serving the Lord with a meek and quiet spirit that wears blue jeans has the internal qualities of modesty. I'm not talking about those that wear the low cut shirts, the tight pants and miniskirts etc. I am thinking of people like my mom and those I go to church with- amazing ladies that are full of love and have a servant's heart, that wear pants.
I even talked to my dad about the subject, whom is quite knowledgeable and wise, and he didn't really think it mattered one way or the other what a woman wore, as long as she was covered. Now I didn't know what to think and neither did my husband. I have been so heavy hearted trying to figure this out. I don't want to spend a considerable amount of time on something that isn't all that important- if it really doesn't matter if I wear pants or not, then I don't want to spend a large percent of my time seeking out modest dresses or sewing them. I like to do those things, but it takes a lot of time and effort since I have three girls and myself to clothe. It has become a burden to me at times.
Now, before anyone starts bashing me or 'proving me wrong'- know that I am in the process right now. I love beautiful dresses- I love seeing my girls in cute, ruffled and laced dresses. But time is so short, and I want to be focused on the right things and not chasing something that is a rabbit trail. So that's what I'm trying to find out. Does it really and truly matter to our God. Dresses only? Are pants ok? I hope to know soon...