Your Body is NOTHING to be Ashamed Of
And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed. – Gen 2:25
Julie and I discretely referenced that verse in our wedding bulletin. On the back where we listed the address of our new home, we added, “Where Gen 2:25 will apply.”
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge. We thought ourselves so clever.
We figured no one would even notice the reference, much less remember the verse if they did notice. It was intended as a private little joke we could share with our groomsmen and bridesmaids.
I guess we underestimated how closely people analyze wedding bulletins while waiting for the service to begin. And though there weren’t phones with Bible apps back then, there were pews with actual Bibles. And as one person looked up the verse they’d show the person next to them… and so on. So before the service began it was everyone’s joke.
But what’s not a joke is this: many of us live with an immense burden of shame in regard to our bodies, especially the sexual parts.
I’ve read enough articles by bitter Christians (which would seem an oxymoron) who lay the fault of this sexual body shame at the feet of the church.
However, of the 1,189 chapters in the Bible, you only have to read as far as the third chapter to discover it was sin – not church teaching – that first associated nudity with shame.
In chapter 2, God told Adam and Eve that eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil would bring death.
In chapter 3 they ate the fruit anyway. And the very first evidence of the promised death was shame. Specifically, shame about being naked in front of another human. In this case, in front of the only other human on the planet. Who also happened to be their life mate. Tragic!
Then the eyes of both were opened, and they knew that they were naked. And they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loincloths. – Gen 3:7
Just think about that. The first reaction to sin: body shame.
Their bodies weren’t wrong. Their bodies were crafted by their Creator (in His image, might I add). But what they had done was wrong. Shame corrupted their minds and their corrupted minds projected that shame onto their bodies.
On the topic of shame, CS Lewis says, in Mere Christianity:
“Modern people are always saying, ‘Sex is nothing to be ashamed of.’ They may mean two things. They may mean “There is nothing to be ashamed of in the fact that the human race reproduces itself in a certain way, nor in the fact that it gives pleasure.” If they mean that, they are right…. But, of course, when people say, ‘Sex is nothing to be ashamed of,’ they may mean ‘the state into which the sexual instinct has now got is nothing to be ashamed of.’
If they mean that, I think they are wrong. I think it is everything to be ashamed of. There is nothing to be ashamed of in enjoying your food: there would be everything to be ashamed of if half the world made food the main interest of their lives and spent their time looking at pictures of food and dribbling and smacking their lips.”
It’s not that our bodies are bad. It’s our heart. Nothing changed about Adam and Eve’s bodies between Gen 2:25 and Gen 3:7. But a lot changed about their hearts.
So if our bodies are nothing to be ashamed of, why should we wear clothes at all, much less dress modestly?
Because ever since the fall, our natural sin nature makes such openness and vulnerability dangerous and unwise.
In this sense you see that we cover our bodies not because they are so shameful, but because they are so wonderful; far too wonderful to put on display for every eye to see.
And yet the human body is the most prevalent thing put on display in the media today. Not to honor, but to dishonor. Not to celebrate, but to judge. Not to love and cherish, but to lust over.
How then should we regard our bodies? How can we get back to the garden of “naked and not ashamed?” Is it just as simple as throwing a wedding with Gen 2:25 on the back of your bulletin? Then you simply go to your honeymoon suite and forget everything you ever knew or saw or felt about your body?
We’ll talk about that next week, but in the meantime consider discussing these questions with a couple good friends or mentor:
- Do you struggle with shame about your body? Particularly the sexual part of your body?
- What have you learned in the church that you felt encouraged this body shame?
- What have you learned in the world that perhaps encouraged this body shame?
- Have you generally believed that in marriage your inhibitions about your body would just go away?
DNA: It’s What’s For Dating
It’s NOT for couples, but for any wise individual who thinks they might want to get married sometime before they die. And would like to learn how to better build healthy relationships in the meantime.
Check out all three study guides in our store. You can walk through them on your own, but it’s more fun with friends (that and it kinda makes sense to grow in relational success in actual relationships with others), so consider putting together an FMU LoveEd small group study.
Even better? And ask a rock star married couple you respect to lead it!