Friday, 6 November 2015

Close Enough

by Julius King Kwedhi

When we get close to other people, indeed very close, whether in a love relationship, friendship or any other relationship of any sort, we get exposed to what the outsiders are oblivious to, their nakedness. Yes, we get exposed to their weaknesses, their fears, insecurities, their weak points and their areas of lack, as much and as well as we get exposed to their strengths. And that is where the responsibility comes in, to cover their nakedness.

Exposure to their nakedness presents before us two mighty and great choices; either to cover their nakedness or to mock it and expose (reveal) it further to the outsiders.

Remember Noah’s sons? Now we know that they were eight people in the ark along with the animals; four men and four women. But Ham, one of Noah’s sons, saw his father’s nakedness and failed to cover it, when his father was in his drunken stupor. The consequence was a curse upon his son and the descendants.

“Noah began to be a man of the soil, and he planted a vineyard. He drank of the wine and became drunk and lay uncovered in his tent. And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father and told his two brothers outside. Then Shem and Japheth took a garment, laid it on both their shoulders, and walked backward and covered the nakedness of their father. Their faces were turned backward, and they did not see their father's nakedness. When Noah awoke from his wine and knew what his youngest son had done to him, he said, "Cursed be Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be to his brothers." He also said, "Blessed be the LORD, the God of Shem; and let Canaan be his servant. May God enlarge Japheth, and let him dwell in the tents of Shem, and let Canaan be his servant."” (Genesis 9:20-27 ESV)

Ham’s brothers, covering their father’s nakedness, were blessed abundantly.

What do you do when you find yourself exposed to someone else’s nakedness? I advice you cover that nakedness and dare you not expose it.

Nakedness is something that must be kept confidential. It must be revealed to no one else. The husband’s nakedness belongs to the wife, as is the wife’s nakedness to the husband. It is a secret that must be kept that way from those not allowed to see and know it. We know now that a secret is not merely a secret because it is known to very few people, but rather it is a secret because it is known to (stored in the hearts of) faithful people, who are trusted to hold it without disclosing it to those who are not allowed to know it.

When we come close to other people it is inevitable that we not see their nakedness as long as we linger long in their presence. We may see this even when we do not intend to and have not necessarily set our hearts to seek out such nakedness, as was in the case of Ham. But when you see it hide it! Ham failed to do that – to hide his father’s nakedness.

Judgement looms over you when you fail to hide it as is required of you.

When I say to hide it I do not mean to sweep it under the carpet. All weaknesses must be addressed appropriately. And if the nakedness exposed to you is a shameful deed that is totally unacceptable, here are the words of the Master on what to do:

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." (Matthew 18:15-20 ESV)

The first step is to talk to that person about his or her shameful nakedness to him alone. If you are afraid of him get someone reliable and trustworthy, and together talk to the brother or sister who needs help.

Renounce any such nakedness that cannot afford to be covered. For such are some that are cancerous. The kind of nakedness that grows like cancer and destroys lives. Such nakedness expose openly.

As for those who persist in sin, rebuke them in the presence of all, so that the rest may stand in fear. (1 Timothy 5:20 ESV)

Better to correct someone openly than to let him think you don't care for him at all. Friends mean well, even when they hurt you. But when an enemy puts his arm around your shoulder---watch out! (Proverbs 27:5-6 ESV)

It is not now to deal with it carelessly. But in rebuking and correcting the shame, do it lovingly. “Let all that you do be done in love.” (1 Corinthians 16:14 GNB)

Remember, we are each other’s keepers and our goal is to protect and not to put to shame our brothers and sisters in Christ.

That nakedness must be treated as a precious thing that must be protected from outsiders and ravenous wolves who seek the weak points of others in order to attack and destroy them on the basis of their weaknesses.

An Oshiwambo proverb says, “Sheku nangela osho shina uunongo wokukulya,” literally translating, “What sleeps with you (close to you, in your house) has the knowledge of eating you (of killing you, of destroying you).” Meaning, when you get close to someone else you get to know their whereabouts. Their ins and outs. Their seating and standing up. Their strengths and weaknesses. And so on and so forth.

With that knowledge you are therefore in a perfect position to destroy them, if you so desire. But make no mistake to forget that you are also in a well-placed position to strengthen them by covering their weakness and protecting them from public shame. You are also in a perfect position to pray for them to change and overcome their nakedness. And so are you in a perfect position to have a positive influence on them, to hopefully encourage them to take the necessary steps to change and strengthening that which is weak or to altogether get rid of the shameful weakness.

“When you embrace and publish the strengths of others in their lives you glorify God’s strength in them, by doing so. And gossip is when you expose their weaknesses.” – Pastor Peter Katota.
Take some time and pray for that weakness. Ask God for strength right now.

Further Scripture reading:
Romans 15:1 ESV
     (1) We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
1 Corinthians 9:22 ESV
     To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.
1 Thessalonians 5:14 ESV
    And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.
Proverbs 11:13 ESV
   Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered.

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