Like many of you, I was forced to read The Scarlet Letter in high school.
The story takes place in 1642, in the Puritan town of Boston. A crowd gathered to witness the punishment of Hester Prynne, a young woman found guilty of adultery. She was required to wear a scarlet "A", standing for adulteress, on her dress to shame her. She stood on the scaffold for three hours, to be exposed to public humiliation. As Hester approached the scaffold, many of the women in the crowd were agitated by her beauty and quiet dignity. When demanded and cajoled to name the father of her child, Hester refuses.
The author, Nathaniel Hawthorne, in his fictional work captured the soap opera caused by poor choices. Poor Hester was guilty. She did have an extra-marital affair. She did have a baby. But who was the man? Hester Prynne would not reveal his identity. The secret was hidden until guilt got the best of the man and eventually the truth was told.
Can you imagine if the same laws were in effect today? How many of us would walk around with scarlet A's on our jackets and dresses? Or how about a big P for prejudice? Or a big C for corrupt? Or a capitol H for hypocrite.
We are now reading through the blistering words of the prophet Isaiah to an apathetic, hypocritical nation of Judah. It is open season on all who have walked away from the Lord. If the Puritan laws were in place in Isaiah's day he would hand out: G's for Greed. P's for party goers. A's for arrogance. D's for drunkenness. I's for injustice. U's for unrepentant. N's for neglect of the poor.
Boy I'm glad the rules have changed. Most of my dirt is hidden from public view. But it makes no difference. The guilt is still there. Hester Prynne's lover carried his secret till the last days of his life. He too carried a scarlet letter, self-imposed on the inside, unseen by the community.
Isaiah has many wonderful verse to underline as you read through. None more wonderful than these:
Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow, though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. Isaiah 1:18-20
God knows the guilt you carry. He understands your past. The labels culture has placed on you, the lingering guilt of your own poor choices can be reversed through the amazing grace of God. The scarlet letter can be erased once and for all. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
It is too good to be true.......but it is true!!!
I'm not gluten free but I am guilt free.
Be strong and courageous, MB