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Sadie Robertson Huff warns church 'modesty culture' can be 'dangerous,' push people away

Sadie Robertson Huff
Sadie Robertson Huff |

"Duck Dynasty" stars Sadie Robertson Huff and her mother, Korie Robertson, shared their thoughts on where they believe some Christians have gone wrong preaching modesty and how judgment over what people wear could lead some people away from the Church. 

On the Nov. 1 episode of the "WHOA That's Good" podcast, the mother-daughter duo focused their discussion on modesty at a time when the cultural trend is "less is definitely more" when it comes to the way people dress.

"To live modestly is to live completely counterculture right now. And [being modest is] to be like, 'Hey, I'm actually OK with being quiet-spirited. I'm actually OK with sitting here and being content with who I am without having to prove myself by what I wear,'" the 25-year-old Huff said.

While Huff advocates for Christians to dress modestly, she warned, "Modesty culture in the Church can actually be pretty dangerous."

Huff said she experienced "hurt from modesty culture and Christianity," saying she received backlash for wearing blue jean shorts when the "Duck Dynasty" reality show began.

"I would wear my blue jean shorts on the show, and we would have so many Christians be like, 'Are you a Christian? The way that you dress is so immodest?' Or people would say to me that 'I'm setting a bad example for this generation because of the immodesty,'" Huff recalled. 

"It honestly made me feel so much pressure and also so sad and confused because I'm like, 'Wait, does that make me not a Christian?' When that's actually not at all what Christianity really is. And plus, as a teenager, hearing people say that. I remember thinking, 'I can see why so many celebrities who grew up in the Church turn and just go,'" she continued.

"Because it honestly makes you want to. … Because it kind of makes you want to rebel." 

Huff also starred in an episode of "Dancing With The Stars" in 2014 wearing short-cut jean shorts and said she received backlash for how she dressed on the show.

"It was really hard. … I truly felt like I was being a light. And representing Christianity and who Jesus is and showing people God's love there. And I mean, I would pray over CBS Studios, like every Monday night. I just really believed God was going to do something there and God did do something," Huff recalled.  

"Even the judges kept saying, 'You're such a light,' and I don't even know how to describe it. It's like this light. And it's like the world was noticing that, and Christians were noticing my short shorts," Huff said, adding that she cried many times that week.  

"That's hurtful. I'm not the only one that's gone through that. … That is something that needs to be addressed. I [don't] think you should ever be shaming people or picking people apart. If we're going to be like Jesus, [He] didn't judge from the outward appearances. He looked at the heart and people's lives."

"The shorts weren't anything different than what anyone would wear to the mall or whatever," Robertson added, in agreement with her daughter. "But, you got a lot of hate for that, and it was very hurtful. It made you question everything." 

Korie Robertson
Korie Robertson |

Although Robertson and Huff agree that modesty culture in the Church can "shame" others, they both agree that dressing modestly is vital for Christians. And they said dressing in an immodest fashion could be "dangerous" in its own way. 

The duo cited Romans 14:13-23 about not passing judgment on others but also making sure not to be a "stumbling block" to another brother or sister in Christ. 

"It's also really dangerous to dress super provocatively. And there are a lot of consequences that do come with that. So I do think you have to be wise," Huff said. 

"I don't want people to notice me — outside of my husband — sexually," Robertson added. "I want people to notice me because I'm smart or funny or kind or joyful, those kinds of things. And sometimes, as women, we do put that out there. We're like, 'Oh, notice me for my brain,' but then, we're putting these sexual images out there. And so I think we have to be thoughtful of that." 

"If you feel convicted about something that you wear, … whether it's because that's provocative or sexual or whatever, then that's sin," Robertson continued. "You need to be aware of that and be careful of that. But also, don't condemn others and don't be judgmental of others because of something that God has not yet convicted them about."

Huff said one question Christians should ask themselves before they choose what to wear is, "are you dressing out of a place of contentment or to get something?" 

"If I'm dressing from a place of contentment, I'm dressing the way that I want to dress because I feel comfortable. I feel beautiful. … You want to feel beautiful. I feel like myself. I feel authentic to who I am. And I'm not trying to dress in such a way to get attention. I'm not dressing in such a way to get approval. I'm not dressing in such a way to get people to notice me," she added.

"I think if you're dressing in such a way to get attention, to get people to notice you, I think that's immodest. But to dress in such a way that comes from contentment, … to feel like you are being totally authentic to who you're created to be, I think that's a modest way to dress."

It's not just about what you wear, Huff said, but it's about what comes from the heart and the motive behind why a Christian chooses to dress in certain ways. 

"I think you can't say: 'Oh, well, is it a tank top? Is it short? Is it this? Is it that? I don't even think that's the right way to look at it. I think it's like, 'Are you content? Or are you trying to prove something?'" she said.

Huff cited 1 Corinthians 10:31, which says, "whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God."

According to Huff, two other questions people should ask themselves when choosing their clothing are "are you glorifying yourself or are you glorifying God?" and "are you reflecting culture or are you reflecting Christ?"

"It's not that you can't be trendy. I want to dress trendy. I want to dress cute, actually. I like fashion. I think it's a fun way to represent who you are," Huff shared. 

"But, it's like, 'Do I care more about fitting into culture, and am I really representing my ultimate mission? … What am I actually trying to represent?' I think that just comes with respecting yourself enough to say, 'I don't need to show that part of my body because that's private. … And it's for me and my husband, not for anybody else to see."

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