The Naked Principle
Beloved, please pardon the provocative title to this post. I beg your indulgence to allow me to explain the root and meaning of this idea. As with all things, let us begin with Scripture. I would like to recount a brief event from the Book of Genesis. In this event, Noah is celebrating in his old age and his sons come upon him when he is “as God created him”:
Now the sons of Noe which came out of the ark, were Sem, Cham, Japheth. And Cham was father of Chanaan. These three are the sons of Noe, of these were men scattered over all the earth. And Noe began to be a husbandman, and he planted a vineyard. And he drank of the wine, and was drunk, and was naked in his house. And Cham the father of Chanaan saw the nakedness of his father, and he went out and told his two brothers without. And Sem and Japheth having taken a garment, put it on both their backs and went backwards, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their face was backward, and they saw not the nakedness of their father. And Noe recovered from the wine, and knew all that his younger son had done to him. And he said, Cursed be the servant Chanaan, a slave shall he be to his brethren.
And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of Sem, and Chanaan shall be his bond-servant. May God make room for Japheth, and let him dwell in the habitations of Sem, and let Chanaan be his servant. Genesis 9: 18-28
The scripture of the Old Testament is often viewed allegorically for the deep symbolic meaning. Though the Holy Forefathers, our Lord has imparted great wisdom to His people. In many cases, it is not until the New Testament that the meaning to many of these ideas become clear and fulfilled.
In the book of Leviticus, there are many, many examples shown forth to teach ancient Israel purity and modesty. One need only read Chapter 18 to see these examples. Later on, in the book of Esaias we read something more profound:
Your nakedness will be uncovered, Your shame also will be exposed…Isaiah 47:3
This nakedness is related and almost equated with shame. When we speak of exposing the nakedness of our brethren, really we are exposing their shame – of humiliating them. I often relate this to regular events in life. How often I have seen in the workplace where one employee exposes the faults of their team-mate to expose their weakness so as to affect their credibility and standing in the team. The insecurities of others lead them to cut others down, to expose their failings and shortcomings for benefit.
When one of the brethren offends us, we should ask ourselves how we should respond. Do we chastise or admonish them openly? Why? Are we hoping to make their loss into our gain? The heathen and un-believers behave in this manner. The Lord has shown us another way, a better so that we should NOT uncover the nakedness, i.e. the shame of our brothers and sisters. We read in the Gospels how our Lord would often perform his miracles in quiet. There are some exceptions but there was a purpose. Further we see how the Disciples would approach the Lord quietly to seek understanding when they were uncertain of the meaning of His words. Remember the healing of the man who possessed of demons. The Disciples were dismayed that they were unable to heal the man, for truly they were as yet without full understanding:
And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? Mark 9:28
The Disciples did not wish to challenge the Lord publicly to be a cause of possible shame or challenge. The Lord taught them through His meekness and long-suffering. And so must we be towards all.
Let us remember the “Naked Principle” so that we be not accounted like Cham, but receive the blessings of Sem for not exposing the shame of others.