Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
1 Peter 3:3,4
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works.
1 Timothy 2:9,10
Shame of Nakedness
Nudity is considered as an expression of art by many, thereby removing all moral accountability.
by Lynford Heron
The Centurion Press - Posted Monday, August 12, 2002
Does the Lord change? Well, let us allow Him to speak for Himself, “For I am the LORD, I change not” Malachi 3:6. Now that we got that out of the way, let us ask God to answer the following questions via the Bible.
- What constitutes modest apparel - how should we adorn ourselves?
- When would you consider someone naked or immodest?
- How do you feel about nakedness?
- Explain to us what methods the Devil used to desensitize this generation to the shame of nakedness.
- How do we regain our dignity and cover our nakedness?
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.
If we desire to know how to walk today, then we must examine the old path. If we seek to know how to adorn ourselves modestly, then we should ask God to show us how He dressed His people in the beginning.
How should we adorn ourselves?
Let us consider the story of Adam and Eve for the answer.
And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
At this point, man disobeyed and immediately they recognized a physical consequence, nakedness. The devil was successful in undressing the first created man and woman. Notice that both were naked. His plan was not designed for the woman alone, but for the man as well. And today, however subtle, his plans are the same.
So, man sought to clothe himself after the fall to cover his nakedness, but his covering was unacceptable to God. Why, because man made aprons. Now, what is so wrong with an apron? The Hebrew word for apron is “chagowr” which means a girdle or belt. Webster defines apron as, “a garment usually of cloth, plastic, or leather usually tied around the waist.” Both definitions are consistent, explaining that only the waist area is covered. Now let us look at a picture of an apron . Can you imagine a woman walking around in just an apron covering only the vagina? God said, “no way,” so He made them coats of skins and clothed them, leaving an example for us to follow. The Hebrew word for coats is “Kethoneth” which means a tunic or long coat. The same Hebrew word is used to describe the clothing of the priests and high priests (Exodus 28:4, 39, 29:5). Now, let us look at an image of a coat . Notice that the coat has long sleeves, the back and front are covered and it reaches all the way to the ankle, covering man completely.
In his fallen state, man started out his life on earth fully dressed from head to toe. The Devil, however, was not pleased with this. Even though the Devil was successful with removing the robe of righteousness, his objective is to strip us of every thread of dignity by removing the coat of skin, piece by piece to expose our nakedness. We will explore how he does that later on, but for now, let us move on to the next question.
When would you consider someone naked or immodest?
The focus is not on nakedness only, but on immodesty as well. A woman or man can be fully clothed, yet immodest. Tight fitting clothing is immodest. Therefore, with such an introduction, let us consult the Bible for a word from God.
And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach:
The Lord gives us examples of which portions of the body, if exposed, he considers as nakedness. The first example is given in the text above. The loin and the thighs are to be fully covered. We know that the loin is the pubic area and Webster define the thigh as the area between the hip and the knee. So, God is saying that if we expose those areas we are exposing our nakedness.
Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.
3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen:
The woman was considered a virgin (purity) when she was fully covered. In this example, the Lord is saying, “if you are seeking the old path, if you want to walk as my people have walked (concerning women), then you must cover your hair (locks), legs and thighs. The dictionary defines locks as hair. A woman's hair is a tool used by her to seduce her man. It is one of her assets. It is required, in God's plan, to be kept covered in public and when praying. The leg, according to the dictionary, extends from the top of the thigh to the foot. Therefore those who wear, mini's, and all dresses and skirts that are just a little above or below the knee are exposing their nakedness. Remember the entire leg must be covered by God's design that is why a coat was given to man for a covering.
How does the Lord feel about nakedness?
It is a sin. Why is it considered a sin? Well, let us define sin. Sin is the transgressing of God's law? In other words, disobedience to His Word is sin. Did He give us any word on how to dress or what He considers as nakedness? Yes He did, and those points are covered above. Now let us look at God's attitude towards nakedness as expressed in the Bible.
And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)
The Lord said that nakedness is shameful.
Neither shalt thou go up by steps unto mine altar, that thy nakedness be not discovered thereon.
If nakedness was not an area of great concern to the Lord, then He would not have given the issue so much attention. He made sure to cover all avenues to ensure that the nakedness of His people would not be exposed.
So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.
Again the word shame is used…
Genesis 9:22-25 , tells the story of Noah and his sons, and how he cursed Canaan because he saw him naked.
Speaks about uncovering the nakedness of someone that is not your wife or husband, God said to do so is wickedness.
God's feelings on the subject of nakedness in the Bible are consistent. Nakedness is an abomination.
Desensitized to the shame of nakedness
The Devil knows that if he can confuse our understanding on biblical principles or redefine heresies then he can condition man over time to accept nakedness.
For example, the word nude was introduced to represent a state of expression. However, by itself it was weak. Therefore, it was accompanied by the “place specific” argument. The understanding was that an individual could express him or her self in a nude orientation if situated at a location reserved for such expressions.
Consider an art class. One day a young woman walks into an art class with a long robe covering her entire body, and then she removes the robe, sits on a stool and exposes her nakedness. The woman has nothing on. The first reaction from the students is, “Wow, there is a naked woman sitting before us.” However, the professor jumps in and silences the natural response of the students towards nakedness by explaining that the woman is nude. The professor continues by explaining that in the classroom, the woman is an object of art. Look beyond the woman and behold an object of art. She is no different than a fruit, vase or any other object that you have used your artistic eye and skill to reproduce on paper. Friends this is pure madness. Knowing that such activity is carried out in some art class, it is a mystery why the parents allow the school to implement such practice and even allow their children to be subjected to such social slackness.
This is one of the ways in which the devil desensitizes this nation to the shame of nakedness. The mind is conditioned to view nakedness in any degree as personal expression. Let us consider the beach. This is a location where the place specific argument is widely accepted by many. However, based on the standard of God listed above, beach attire is nakedness. And Leviticus 18 admonishes us not to look upon the nakedness of anyone apart from our spouse.
Beach and Water Parks
Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The sad reality is that many who profess Christianity are conforming to the things of this world. Consider these analogies.
1. A father came home from work and finds his 18-year-old daughter walking around the house in her bra and panty in the presence of John the next-door neighbor. Naturally, the father is fuming, he commands that his daughter gets dressed and he tells John never to come over again when he is not there, if ever again.
2. A young man is in the neighborhood of his friend, so he decides to pay his friend a surprise visit. His friend's wife walks out the bedroom in her bra and panty not knowing that they had company. She screams and takes cover when she realizes that they were not alone.
In the presence of only one, in the privacy of their own home, these individuals felt the shame of nakedness and the innate reaction to take cover. However, the devil whisper to those same individuals and convinces them that a bra and panty is acceptable attire if worn at the right location. Therefore, many feel perfectly fine exposing themselves to hundreds at the beach and water park.
Let us take a woman off the beach, in her two-piece (bra and panty) and place her downtown in a business environment. She would probably get arrested for indecent exposure. This world is so corrupted, in that, if I want to see my friends wife or my young sister in a bra and panty (naked), or a one piece, all I have to do is visit Wet N' Wild, the beach or a pool party. Many women find it very hard to wear a two-piece to the beach. But after the first and second experience they create for themselves a new normality. A world where walking around half naked on the beach is acceptable.
David, a man after God's own heart, transgressed God's law by viewing a young woman in a state of nakedness (II Samuel 12:2). "The powerful impact of nakedness on man's carnal nature is so compelling, that wise men will take every step to avoid such sights if at all possible." Prostitutes understands that phenomena very well, thus explaining their method of advertisement. Since body image is everything in this perverted world, tight form fitting clothe was employed to accentuate their endowments and curves. Second, and with greater intensity, is the tease factor that is created by half exposed flesh that should be totally covered. Midnight Angels as they are ironically called, are capitalizing on the carnality of man by wearing such attire. The Bible in its completeness covers this subject in Proverbs 7:10 and it reads - " And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart. "
Disturbingly, this marketing method was adopted and embraced by almost the entire female population. Some woman are selling sex by exposing their body on a sophisticated level. Meaning, they might not carry the title prostitute, but the end result is the same - seduction and intercourse. Some of these women are lawyers, doctors, teachers, professors, bankers and so on. In fact, many are professed Christians. Yes, Christians, young and old, and even in the house of God they are wearing the attire of an harlot. Have mercy!! Do you know dear reader that such apparels are outlawed in the prisons? No mini's, form fitting, low cut or sleeveless blouses are allowed when visiting inmates. However, in the house of God, any thing seems to go. Friends, if it is not for sale, take the sign down.
"It is plain that God wants most of our flesh covered. Leviticus abounds with warnings against uncovering the "nakedness" of people (Lev. 18), because this sign of intimacy was only for legitimate, lawful marriage partners. It is no compliment to a person's spirituality that they wear revealing fashions, go mixed swimming, or in other ways flaunt their nakedness. Modesty is always in style (I Tim. 2:9). Conversely, formfitting dresses, gauchos and pants, and various forms of nakedness as "swim suits," shorts, sun suits, bare chests, slit skirts, mini skirts, unbuttoned shirts and blouses, etc., send a message about wrong inner character. Why would anyone professing Christ appear in a state of dress that Scripture associates with a fallen nature, drunkenness, demon possession, debauchery, degradation, idolatry, loose morals, being a prisoner, being carnal and shameful?" (author unknown) For fallen man, nakedness is a moral problem, and God provided coats of skin to cover his nakedness.
Deception is progressive. Compromise and justification, where the word of God is concerned, are like cancer. They grow and grow until they destroy and pervert conscience, judgment and reasoning. As the malaria of sin sweeps across this perverse nation, the place specific mentality eventually gave birth to nude beaches. The plan of the devil is not to undress us at once, for we would not let him. So he starts with splits in the skirt and dress, then mini skirts were introduced, then sleeveless, then v-neck or low cut blouses, shorts and “wear on the hip jeans.” Eventually, the devil, the fashion designer of this world came out with an announcement on Deco Drive that "skin is in" and “go as bare as you dare” fashion trend for 2000. The devil is trying to strip us of every thread of dignity and most of us have allowed him to do just that.
How do we regain our dignity and cover our nakedness?
Jesus is the answer friend. When we allow Him to live out His life within us we will wear a coat and not an apron. We will not wear sleeveless. We will not wear skirts and dresses that covers only the thigh, hanging a little way below the knee, but one that covers the entire leg (loins to the ankle).
Therefore that disciple whom Jesus loved saith unto Peter, It is the Lord. Now when Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he girt his fisher's coat unto him, (for he was naked,) and did cast himself into the sea.
When Jesus met Peter he was naked, but after a relationship was established with Christ, he was clothed from head to foot with the rode of Christ's righteousness.
27 And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes , neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
28 Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed , and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
When the man who was possessed with devils met Jesus, he was naked. But after an encounter with Jesus, the Bible said that the man was clothed and in his right mind. Amen.
There is a negative connotation attached to the word nakedness. The noun shame is the expression often used to suggest the emotion that accompanies the exposure of nakedness. The Bible uses the same word in many situations to explain our physical and spiritual condition. We are physically naked, because we are spiritually naked. But we think that we are properly dressed. We walk around in "our" self-righteous robe of righteousness and our own physical dress. We do not want to wear the coat of God.
And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.
We love to wear the name Christian, we want to be called by his name, but that is it. Many are saying by rebelling against the spoken word, "You don't tell me what to do Lord. I will wear what I want, I will wear what I feel comfortable in." The women of this world, both Christians and non-Christians a like are allowing the perverted corrupted minds of this age to undress them. Women are like honey, they must cover up to keep the flies away.
Friends, Jesus is the answer. The Lord does not desire sacrifices or burnt offerings, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit and a contrite heart. Accept his teachings and admit that you have violated his precept where dress is concerned and He will forgive you of every transgression.
We are to serve God rather than man. Will we serve the devil of fashion or God who gave us a coat to cover our nakedness?
Should we feel good when we "fall short of the glory of God"? ...
Bring back Shame!
It's a God-given emotion. But is it being properly expressed?
O ur family moved some twenty-three years ago to a rural village of some fifteen hundred inhabitants. At the time, the `village gossip' was that a young local woman had moved away. Why? Because she was pregnant - and unmarried. Today the village teems with unmarried mothers. The shame has gone.
But that's great, isn't it? Haven't we matured in our attitude to such matters?
My dictionary defines shame as `the feeling of humiliation excited by consciousness of guilt or shortcoming, of having made oneself, or been made, ridiculous, or of having offended against propriety, modesty or decency'. That was published in 1964. Thirty-seven years on a man insists - and is permitted- to appear in a staid English court in his own defense - stark naked. `Propriety, modesty and decency' are now passé. Anything goes.
There's no national shame that young women parade themselves in public almost naked and often drunk, that many of our streets are nightly littered with tattooed drunken louts, that over the past century crime has multiplied, that multiple thousands of unborn babies are brutally dismembered mostly for convenience, that teenagers are mothers at thirteen, that a full quarter of British families are headed by single mothers - most abandoned by feckless young males. There's no shame that bed-hopping is a national pastime, resulting in an epidemic of divorce.
There's no shame that two men, two women, can blatantly parade their perversion on our streets, and their sympathizers can mount vast public `pink parades' encouraged by civic authorities and big business and watched by shameless thousands - as if it is `normal'. Much of the media is little less than a moral cess-pit. Lack of shame permits national leaders to behave like amoral alley cats.
It's not that these practices have improved our condition in any way. Rather the opposite.
Promiscuity - especially at a young age - is now proven to sow the seed for cervical cancer. It doesn't `just happen', for the virus thus sown in multiple sexual encounters can lie dormant for many years and start its evil cancerous work only in middle age. Indeed the incidence of sexually-transmitted diseases in general is at an all-time high. Visits to genito-urinary clinics in Britain, for example, have doubled - to over a million - in the last decade.
AIDS is a case in point - a deadly scourge sweeping the planet. Weak government simply mouths the `safe sex' slogan, knowing that dignified self-restraint coupled with moral strength is the only sure answer.
Clearly, our educators - religious and secular - have failed us. Vile behavior has always been with us. But it has never in modern history been paraded so shamelessly by so many. Increasingly, even civilized men and women fail to maintain their human dignity.
Our first parents happily and with no sense of shame lived and worked in Eden. Nakedness was for them no cause for shame (Genesis 2:25). And why should it be? Adam and Eve were in perfect harmony with their environment - and with their God, the Creator of the universe. Shame was foreign to them - for they were created, and were living, in the very image of God.
Sadly our first parents abandoned that image and chose to follow their own desires contrary to the perfect divine will. The result? Shame. Their dignity as the pinnacle of creation stripped away and they felt the urgent need to `cover up' - to hide themselves from their Creator. This, and not simply their nakedness, was the cause of their shame. No longer were they in accord with the divine image, and all mankind has ever since been a shattered image of the divine. In our imperfect `fallen' state the blatant parading of public nakedness highlights our lack of shame.
Only to the degree that we can maintain God's image - that is, walk according to His instruction manual, the Bible - will we retain our dignity. It's a historical fact that human behavior improves as it is exposed to that `Manual'. The barbarism of medieval civilization was sweetened only by the Biblical preaching of men like John Wesley in 18th century England. "Wesley's prayer saved England from revolution," wrote Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881). The Bible - the very Word of God - became the cornerstone of western civilization. Its influence restored human dignity wherever it reached.
That influence has dissipated. Self-serving religious leadership has undermined God's Manual, and politicians who once legislated by the Bible have completely abandoned it. The result - the crass decline of society.
Bring Back Shame
Shame, however, is positive emotion. Wrote the influential English statesman Edmund Burke (1729-1797): "While shame keeps its watch virtue is not wholly extinguished in the heart". As long as the flame of human dignity continues to burn in an individual conscience then behavior tends to reflect in some degree God's image in us. God says, "Don't commit adultery" - for there's a natural penalty. God says, "Respect the divine purpose for the sexes" - confusion will generate misery and disease and early death. God says, "Don't publicly flaunt nakedness" - it besmirches your human dignity.
Isn't it interesting that lack of shame is so firmly linked with the defilement of human sexuality, the very heart and core of our humanity! Human degradation is paraded in the "adult" magazines, on the big and on the small screen, in the vile pornographic web-sites and pedophile rings, in the sexual abuse of children and the sordid predatory activity of perverts. If shame reigned such behavior would fade.
But you can't just legislate shame. There's no magic wand that will instil it in the human heart. Willing submission to the rule of the Creator will, however, re-kindle it. With a conscience sensitized by the Word of God, you personally can protect yourself from the ravages of shameless behavior.
Make A Difference
Immerse yourself in God's instruction manual, the Bible. Apply it daily, and teach its precepts to your children so that the next generation may avoid the degrading spectacle of shameless behavior. Shameless behavior calls down God's coming righteous judgment on all who despise the dignity He has bestowed on humanity. For there is coming on all of us a judgment day when we must each give account.
Living as all mankind does with our fallen sinful selves, the restoration of the God-given emotion of shame is a way to avert inevitable judgment - as a species, as a nation, in your community and upon you personally.
If you are sensitized to wholesome behavior through willing submission to the precepts of the Word of God, the positive light you shed on your neighbors may shame them into following your example.
You can make a difference.
There is a way of escape from the coming judgment - for you, your family and for your community! See "What Do You Mean -'Repent'? and Coming To Baptism
To comment on this article or request more information, please contact James McBride by e-mail at the comment form below.
For PDF or mailed copy, see CGOM . Excerpt from New Horizons Vol. 5 No. 2 , March-April, 2001. Edited by James McBride of the Churches of God, United Kingdom.
The Hebrew root for shame, busha , connotes slowing down or inhibiting. Shame restrains Man's animal nature in order that he remember his essence as a spiritual being animated by a breath of the Divine. For that reason, the capacity for shame distinguishes human beings from animals. No animal ever experienced shame over its nakedness because no animal possesses a soul.
Efforts to blur the distinction between man and animals are as old as human history. Pagan religions were characterized by their bacchanalae, during which participants shed all inhibitions and restraint in ecstatic rites. Hitler hated the Jews for having inflicted on mankind the wound of morality. And not by accident, did the Nazis show more solicitude for the Lipizzaner stallions than for millions of human beings. Today, voices from Princeton ethicist Peter Singer (who condones bestiality) to hedonists of every sort, proclaim that man is nothing more than a more sophisticated, pleasure-seeking animal.
Yet no society based on denying man's spiritual/ethical side, however, has long survived. And a society which raises its young without any sense of shame is a society in peril. The rot is everywhere to be seen – in our shameless political culture, in the high rates of school violence, in our disastrous educational results and our youth's abandonment of reading for the instant stimulation of MTV.
``The youth that we meet suffer from emptiness and superficiality. . . ," says Yitzchak Kadmon, head of the Society for the Welfare of the Child. "Violence, sex, scorn [for all authority and values] – these are not seen just as legitimate, but as the ultimate delights." Asked about Kenvelo's effort to turn 13-year-olds into strippers, he warns, ``if we don't put a stop to all these animalistic phenomena, we will yet see even more disastrous results."
Not a pretty thought.