Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Naked and Unashamed

At the end of the Genesis account of Creation we read:
The man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. (Gen 2:25)
Now, seriously, is this not proof that the story is a myth? No, I'm kidding, of course. But how often do you encounter two people, man and wife, who can be both naked and unashamed? Now, I'm not really talking about physical nudity here. I'm talking about being totally exposed, totally revealed, totally open. How many of us, even the happily married, can say that we can be totally exposed and totally open and totally unashamed?

Given that this was the Creation circumstance, I would think that this would also be God's idea of the right relationship between husband and wife. We are supposed to be ... intimate. Not merely physically intimate. We are supposed to be one. While I'm not an advocate of telling your spouse everything about you, I'm only not an advocate because that would simply be too much information. What would it take, on the other hand, to be able to tell your spouse everything? What would it take to tell him or her all about your past? What would it take to have your present completely open? Husbands and wives have private lives, time spent away from each other -- work or "men's outings" or "ladies' night" or whatever. What would it take to have that private life "naked and unashamed"?

Well, clearly it would require love. It would require complete confidence in your spouse's love for you. No questions. No doubt. "He/she loves me and I don't have the slightest hesitation." Because, you see, love rejoices with the truth (1 Cor 13:6), does not take into account a wrong (1 Cor 13:5), bears all things (1 Cor 13:7), and never fails (1 Cor 13:8).

And it would require obedience. Oh, no, not obedience to each other; obedience to God. You see, wives are commanded to respect their husbands (Eph 5:33). That word is phobos, normally translated "fear". I'm not suggesting it is "fear", but I am suggesting it is much more than today's "respect" which is offered if it is earned and doesn't really have any depth to it. This "respect" is "as to the Lord" (Eph 5:22). Something deeper than a "respectable husband". And husbands are told to live with their wives with understanding and honor (1 Peter 3:7). If husbands are to understand their wives as they are commanded, that would require this love-centered desire to know everything without inflicting shame. And the "honor" commanded is not based on her being honorable; it is based on her belonging to Christ, a fellow heir. As such, she, too, is a forgiven sinner ... just like you.

Oh, and, of course, it would require an aim for holiness, a life of constant sanctification. It would require openness about sin but also openness about repentance. It would require mutual accountability and encouragement through the temptations and trials. That would clearly be necessary.

In truth, if we pursued marriage intending to be "naked and unashamed" with our spouses, we would see very few broken marriages. Predicated on love -- biblical love above mere lust or warm affection -- and aimed at biblical service to each other, the wife respecting her husband and the husband loving, honoring, and understanding his wife, it would be nearly impossible, these two as one, to take apart what God has put together. I would think that we would see that as a good thing. So ... when are you going to start working on that "naked and unashamed" kind of relationship?

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