Message: There is dishonor in exposing someone’s shame or vulnerability with any intent other than to help and heal. When Noah got drunk, he exposed his nakedness, but he was in the privacy of his own tent. When his son, Ham saw his naked father, he could have simply turned away, or even privately covered him up. But instead he came out and told his brothers about it. Once his brothers were brought into it, they chose to do the honorable thing that Ham could have, but didn’t do. They walked backwards with a blanket and covered him up without looking at him. I don’t believe that this passage is at all communicating that we should enable or ignore toxic situations in the lives of people we care about. Sometimes we have to expose a situation to an authority or to a source that can help. What I think this passage is talking about, is exposing the shame unnecessarily. Exposing it to people who did not need to know about it and could not help with it.
Command: Don’t dishonor people by exposing their vulnerabilities and their shame.
Promise: Ham was cursed for his dishonor, so the reverse of that would be blessing to those who treat people with dignity and respect when they are the most vulnerable.
Warning: If we expose the shame of others in their vulnerability we can count on consequences for that. In Ham’s case, it was a curse on his lineage.
Application: Thank you Lord that you cover our shame and restore us when we are most vulnerable. Help me to treat other people with the same kind of honor and respect that you show to us when I encounter their shame and vulnerability. Help me to build, restore, honor and cover them with my words and actions.