The word shameless conjures up images of people saying or doing things they should not be saying or doing, typically involving sexuality. Think college Spring Break destinations.
Such people are displaying a calloused sense of shame, a calloused conscience, thus “shameless” or no shame, as in no sense of propriety, or a lack of high moral standards.
Western Civilization in Flames: While Western Civilization seem hell-bent to abandon high moral standards to enjoy the shameless ride in the smoldering handbasket while ignoring the ever approaching combustion horizon, there is another sense of the word shameless to consider: shame-less: a state of being without shame due to propriety, i.e. lacking cause of shame.
[Caution! I am messing with your vocabulary: a “shameless” person commits “shameful” acts while I invented “shame-less” as the antonym meaning “without shame”; this is how my brain sometimes dissects words and starts exploring]
The Beginning: Adam and Eve were shame-less until they had sinned and realized they had acted shamefully and were now shameful.
What a shock it must have been, instantly transforming from innocence to seeing the world through the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life, thereby experiencing shame for the first time! No wonder they hid from God.
Our Struggle: We are all now born with this sin nature and grow up seeing the world through lust and pride, some of us fighting it as a corruption of God’s original design, and all too many assuming it is normal.
We all either retain a sense of shame by resisting shameless words or deeds, or we make our conscience callused by repeating shameless words or deeds.
Shame-less Impact On Marriage:
Positive: Avoiding shameless words and deeds frees your marriage from that kind of damage. If you were never intimate with anyone before your spouse, then your brain is not going to be playing comparison games, and more importantly, your spirit and soul will not be joined with those people (“the two shall become one flesh”) which causes ongoing issues that end only when God heals them.
Negative: Sadly, for all too many who follow Jesus’ morals this struggle against sin to keep their sense of shame functional has caused unintended damage in their marriages by inhibiting sexuality in marriage.
“Were you a virgin till your wedding night?”
“What did you do to achieve that? Has that impacted your marriage?”
The strenuous interior task of fighting the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye, and the pride of life has all too often carried over into marriage by not merely focusing sexuality to the context of marriage, but by trying to repress sexuality altogether.
Shame-Less: Between husband and wife there should be no shame. Not only in words and actions toward others, but also toward each other. What would cause shame to say or do toward others are the very things which the lack of causes shame toward each other: namely sexuality.
Flirting, seducing, foreplay, intercourse, and the whole gamut of sexuality are shameful when applied toward others, but vital to apply toward your spouse. It sounds odd to think about seducing your spouse, but once we look past negative connotations to the actual actions the topic becomes inspirational. Husband and wife should have no shame in their private intimacy. Generally, everything shameless in public toward others becomes shame-less in privacy between each other.
This reminds me of Charlie Rich singing “Behind Closed Doors”.
It’s Biblical: Sexuality is designed and given by God. Let every marriage strive to achieve what Adam and Eve had by God’s design at the beginning: they were naked and felt no shame.
If you doubt God intends husband and wife to deeply enjoy sexuality, think about God creating the nervous system’s sexual response: He thought about, designed, and created the spirit, soul, and body functions of intimacy for husband and wife’s oneness and enjoyment and called it good.
Next read Song of Songs out loud to your spouse and brainstorm what the euphemisms mean. Your Western-based thoughts will probably be conservative as you read ancient Middle Eastern passionate poetry (consider how passionate today’s Middle Easterners are). Regardless of your comprehension of the euphemisms, the emotion should come through and be inspiring. And God inspired that book to be written.
Then consider Paul’s instruction to Corinthian married couples to enjoy sex. Corinth was one of the sexual immorality capitals of the world, far more famous and open than Las Vegas and Amsterdam. Corinthians had seen the sinful side of sexuality so long they thought they had to give up sex for God–they did not understand the holy side of sexuality. Paul had to correct them by reinforcing sex is part of God’s design for a holy and healthy marriage! (1 Corinthians 7:2-5)
And remember the instruction of Hebrews 13:4 “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge.” The marriage bed is undefiled–it is a holy thing to come together with your spouse. God designed it and approves of it. “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make him a helper comparable to him.” (Genesis 2:18) And God told Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful, and multiply ….” (Genesis 1:28) Multiply means have kids, and kids only come from sex!
Physical intimacy is a gift from God for husband and wife. It is also part of the picture, an analogy, of God’s desire for relationship with us. (Ephesians 5) His desire for relationship will always be deeper, stronger, more passionate, more dedicated, than ours can be for Him.
Bottom line: with your spouse be without shame. It is practice for being without shame with God.
In this sense, is your marriage shame-less? Is your walk with God shame-less?
Personal Note: I am happy and blessed to say: Yes! Starting as virgins on our wedding night, we were naked and knew no shame. We praise God we both dedicated ourselves from a very young age to keep our sexuality focused on and reserved for our spouse. This dedication has sidestepped an immense amount of spiritual, emotional, and physical baggage, freeing us to be spiritually, emotionally, and physically naked together without shame, with tremendous results. Our major issues have been internal, in dealing with our sin natures, to bring every thought captive to Jesus. Those bring enough struggles; we are so thankful we have not had the baggage of past relationships. But all is healed at the foot of the cross.