Have you ever hurt someone so deeply that you’ve done damage? Usually wounds result in defenses. Defenses result in more wounds. The relationship, that maybe has lasted years, dies a painful death.
When a close friend, who knows the deep parts of us, is suddenly (or sometimes subtlety) stripped from our hearts, the exposure is a raw vulnerable feeling of shame. We feel naked. The closer the relationship, the deeper the feeling. The walls go up to protect the raw, exposed, damaged heart and a hardness settles in to protect it. Over time we become someone we did not intend to be. The scab that covers the wound is the only covering we can offer the shame of our nakedness.
I’ve been on both sides of that. Maybe you have too. Nobody stays clean in a mud fight.
The Bible actually talks about the shame of nakedness, or exposure, a lot. Mostly the concept is discussed in Leviticus in reference to the law. We are not supposed to uncover the nakedness of others. But the New Testament talks about it as well. In Revelation 3:17-18, Jesus says:
“Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see.”
We cope with our exposure by denying our needs. “I’m fine. The past is the past. I just try not to think about it.” But inside we are still wretched and miserable. We are still exposed and full of shame. Jesus is telling us that He is the only one who can cover that kind of nakedness. He is the only one with white robes that clothe us and keep that shame from being how we are defined by ourselves and others.
Jesus invites us to this level of healing. Romans 8:35 tells states:
“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”
How interesting is it that Paul includes nakedness in his list? Our shameful exposure will not be able to keep Christ’s love away from us.
Without His robes, we are the Emperor With No Clothes, trying to project to everyone that we are fine but really everyone can see we are naked. With His robes, our lives are hidden with God in Christ (Colossians 3:3). With His robes, our vulnerable places are still accessible (not fortified and protected) but not exposed either. He covers the shame of our nakedness, whether we caused it or someone else did it to us.
So can we stop with the denial? Can we allow Jesus to offer His robes? Can we trust Him to cover us rather than pretending we are fine? Can we allow God to give back the dignity that was lost? I’m not sure we can be free from the pain until we do. I think we can cope with the pain, but healing only comes through Jesus.
This blog is for the those who I have hurt deeply. I’m sure you know who you are and I offer my deepest sorrow and most humble apologies. Please forgive me. For those who have hurt me, I am learning that Jesus has me covered. I offer forgiveness from my heart and hope you can do the same. I hope that one day we can cross a bridge of reconciliation.
To those of you eavesdropping, I pray that you could begin to grasp the healing power of Jesus and allow Him and Him only to cover the places that have been so deeply wounded by others. I truly believe He wants to heal you there.