If you know our family then you know Melinda and I were blessed with three “scruffy” boys and one princess. The boys have always been 100% boys—for instance, when they play indoor knee football in the upstairs playroom I often fear the ceiling is going to cave in. My little princess is different. Now don’t get me wrong, she can certainly handle herself with her brothers, but she is definitely a girl. She spends more time selecting what she’s going to wear (and she actually hangs her clothes up rather than selecting them by smell from a pile on the floor!), she enjoys doing girl things, and has more lotion than a Bath and Body shop.

Watching her mature into a young lady has been a joy and a somewhat nerve-racking event. The reason it is nerve racking is because as I travel, I see young ladies her exact same age who are trying to appear like they just walked down the runway of a Hollywood-modeling studio. They wear make up by the pound and wear clothes meant to accentuate certain areas of the body. These are 12-15 year old girls who want to appear to be 18-22. And far too often, members of the church encourage this Hollywood transformation through words of affirmation and “likes” on social media.

I have two problems with this. Problem number one is that there is a massive amount of pressure on young ladies, by friends their own age, to imitate this grown up look. (And lets be honest for a moment—young girls can be cruel, even in the church. I’ve watched firsthand this “pack mentality” where three or four girls make fun of another girl because of the phone she is carrying or clothes she’s wearing. They can be almost vicious with their tongues.) Christian young ladies who have been baptized should be kind, exhibiting the new man (Colossians 3; Ephesians 4), and should not be worldly (1 John 2). Christianity is about loving God and loving your neighbor—not making fun of someone or pressuring him or her to fit in.

I’m just going to say it—too many Christian parents are spending more time selecting and purchasing name brand clothes than they are molding and shaping the hearts of their daughters. They want them to fit in so badly that they will spend loads of money to insure they have the latest trends. Friends, Jesus Christ did not go to the cross so our young ladies could “fit in” with the culture and have the perfect Instagram picture. We are called to be different—different in speech, dress, actions, and thoughts. Maybe we should be spending more time “parenting” their hearts and less time at the local boutique.

Problem number two is we are encouraging our young ladies to look like Hollywood rather than to look like innocent young ladies. From the pulpits preachers point out the evils of Hollywood and we say “Amen”, all the while members hit “like” on Instagram and Facebook when the youth in our congregations are dressed just like them. Do you not see the problem here?! Friends, the Hollywood look should not be the goal for Christian young ladies. Hollywood should never be held up as a role model for Christian young people.

Hollywood believes fornication (sexual activity outside of marriage) is acceptable. Hollywood believes lust is a game.

Hollywood believes that commitment is optional.

Hollywood believes homosexual tolerance is a must.

Hollywood believes that sensual pleasure is a goal for every relationship.

Hollywood believes that curves should be accentuated and revealed.

Hollywood believes that there is no such thing as immodest dress.

And yet, many of our young ladies in our church auditoriums are running in this direction as fast as they can! And too often, they pressure the young ladies sitting around them to dress the same. As a result, usually sometime in April or May we get a wake up call and hear a single sermon on immodest dress, as summer clothes are pulled out of the closet. Where are the godly fathers who should be saying, “No” and not paying for clothes that accentuate the body? Where are the spiritual leaders who are teaching purity and cultivating meek and gentle spirits?

Friends, a single sermon on immodest dress is not going to fix the problem. This is a worldview/mindset problem. We are raising young people who would rather look like Hollywood than Jesus Christ. Isn’t it time we address the real issue? Maybe we need to retrain parents. Maybe we need to focus more on the cross. Maybe we need to stop competing with the world.