“And don’t build an altar that requires steps; you might expose yourself when you climb up”.
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8
While I lived in the SOS Ministry house in the Mission District of San Francisco a dear brother taught me this principle. Living in Christian community is a really wonderful thing. But it also could be a challenge at times. What Michael shared, allowed my understanding to grow to meet the need of the moment.
The principle is this:
We are called to cover up our brother’s nakedness.
Throughout the scripture “being naked, or nakedness” is always a shame. It comes welded to the concept of being vulnerable or exposed to the sight of everyone else. It also carries the idea of sin; it is sin that everyone can see; it is very obvious.
For those of us who often sin, we evolve the idea of keeping a lid on it, and being secretive with it. There will be people who will never know. Often sex sin, drug and alcohol sin, both are kept hidden from view of family and friends, and the Church.
Noah and His Nakedness, Genesis 9
“Noah became a farmer and planted a vineyard. When he drank wine made from his grapes, he became drunk and lay naked in his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, looked at his naked father and told his brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth got a coat and, carrying it on both their shoulders, they walked backwards into the tent and covered their father. They turned their faces away so that they did not see their father’s nakedness.”
It’s hard to process this patriarch’s gross sin. But in all fairness Noah had lost everything in the flood, so perhaps we should be gentle with him. On the other hand, people who cover up the nakedness of others seem to be gentle and humble. They would never, ever dream of making a scandal. They are trustworthy and understand to a great degree the things that make a man or woman of God.
Leviticus 18 is the “magnum opus” of nakedness. We are pretty much told over and over in this chapter, not to ever uncover another. Actually is pretty emphatic and somewhat redundant. But I think the Lord wanted it repeated this way.
Our vulnerabilities are there for all to see. But there are also men and women who go out of their way to protect and shield. They are safe people, in the classic sense of the word. They cover-up, but never in negative or criminal way, but in love and blessing. (If it is a serious crime, the police should be involved.)
Mature believers will step forward and protect the open areas of others.
Quite often we are exposed, open to attack on our weaknesses. Mature believers will step forward and protect the open areas of others. They will refuse to judge or point out sins. But they will stand in the gap, shielding and protecting.
God’s final word on nakedness is in Revelation 3:18, and this is a good place to conclude this post,
“So I advise you to buy gold from me—gold that has been purified by fire. Then you will be rich. Also buy white garments from me so you will not be shamed by your nakedness, and ointment for your eyes so you will be able to see.”