We were at an art museum last summer, and I worked my way through some of my favorite paintings. As we sat a a beautiful Renoir and I showed my youngest how it shimmered, she paused and asked, “Why are there so many pictures of naked ladies?” I had forgotten that at her age, staring at all that nudity was pretty darn uncomfortable. You couldn’t see past it to see the beauty of the painting. To be naked is to be incredibly vulnerable. Nothing is hidden, anyone can see any flaw. To be clothed is to be protected. It is to be protected from judgment, to be protected from the elements, to be protected from injury. So when we are told to clothe the naked as an act of mercy, we do more than clothe their bodies. We give dignity and protection. We protect their vulnerability. We aren’t distracted by their nakedness, but see the shimmer and beauty that radiates from within. Therein lies the mercy.