Word God Jesus Devotional

The Scarlet Letter

If we say we have no sin [refusing to admit that we are sinners], we delude ourselves and the truth is not in us. [His word does not live in our hearts.] (1 John 1:8, AMP)

Sometimes I wonder what life would be like if we all had to carry a scarlet letter.  I wonder if we would treat each other differently.  Instead of looking at someone else and their sin, maybe we would be more conscious of our own.  What if our sins were written on our forehead?  A place we cannot hide them.  What if we all had to walk around with our sins out front for everyone to see?  My guess is there would be less judgement among Christians, less criticism, more humility, and more grace.  I’m completely serious about this.

I’ve thought about it for a while.  We get so caught up in what so and so is doing and how they are not living to the standard we think they should be living too.  But the truth is there is only one perfect standard.  Jesus Christ came and lived a sinless life.  He is the perfect standard by which our lives should follow.  I don’t mirror anyone on this earth.  I need to mirror my Savior.

If I truly understand God’s grace through that one act on the cross, then won’t I be more conscious of my own sin.  Won’t I be more aware of how much I need that blood that was shed on Calvary.  If I take my eyes off of everyone else and just look at myself.  Then I would see the wicked things inside of me.  I can’t be what God’s called me to be if I’m so distracted by others.  I need to look into God’s Word and find out where I’m sinning.  Where do I need to make my life right with the Lord?

In the book “The Scarlet Letter”, Hester Prynne has been found guilty of adultery.  Her punishment is that she has to wear the scarlet letter “A” on her dress for the rest of her life.  And three hours a day she has to stand on a scaffold in the middle of the town square.  She stands there while the town passes judgment on her and publicly humiliates her.

Don’t we do this as Christians.  Don’t we somehow find a way to think of one sin worse than another and put scarlet letters on people.  We are so quick to judge!  But the Bible says,

“If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3)

None of us would be able to stand in the presence of God without the blood of Jesus.  We all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  In fact, anything considered righteous in me is like a filthy rag to the Lord (Isaiah 64:6).  What if there was a scarlet letter for every sin?  What if we all had to wear a scarlet letter for every sin we sinned in a day?  Yikes, I know that wouldn’t be a pretty sight for me.  How would you look by the end of the day?

Let’s take a look at some scarlet letters we would bear if it were not for the blood of Christ.

A ~ Arrogant

What if you were tagged with the letter A for every arrogant moment you had in a day? 

C ~ Critical Spirit

What if you were tagged with a C for every critical thought you had in a day?

D ~ Dishonest

What if you were tagged with a D for every dishonest moment in your day? 

G ~ Gossip or Greed

What if you had to wear the letter G every time you gossiped during the day or for every time you were greedy?  (Proverbs 6:16-19)

I ~ Impatient
What if you had to wear the letter I for every time you cut in line, got frustrated with waiting, or treated someone poorly because they weren’t quick enough?

J ~ Judgmental

What if you had to wear the letter J every time you passed judgment on someone?

L ~ Lustful

What if you had to wear an L for every time you look at someone lustfully or fantasized about someone in your mind?

M ~ Murder

What if you had to wear the letter M for every moment you acted in anger in your day? (Matthew 5:21-26)

P ~ Prideful

What if you had to wear the letter P for every time you were prideful in your day?  

U ~ Unkind

What if you had to wear the letter U for every time you were unkind to anyone?

V ~ taking God’s name in vain

What if you had to wear a V for every time you took God’s name in vain throughout the day?  This includes any form of using God’s name that doesn’t inspire awe and recognition of how holy and majestic our God is.  We should never bring God down to our level, but with every word we speak we should honor our Father and Creator!

Well, let’s see looking at it this way… I would have to say I would be wearing a few letters by the end of the day.  And I didn’t even include all the sins I could have.  The fact is that every sin makes us guilty.  Every sin we commit deserves the penalty of eternity in Hell.  But God sent His Son to free us from this guilt.  He sent His Son to redeem us.  To pay the price for our sin that we so easily perform on a daily basis.  The next time, you stop to place a scarlet letter on someone for their sin…  Stop and take count of your own sin.  Look in the mirror of God’s Word and find the Truth.  Only the Truth can set you free (John 8:36).

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:1-5)

“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for us the ungodly.  Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.  But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:  While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:5-8)

Dear Father God, Please help me to be more mindful of my own sin than I am about others.  Help me to remove the plank from my eye before I attempt to remove a speck from anyone else’s eye.  Please show me where I have sinned and missed the mark of holiness.  Please give me a heart that is pure.  A heart that longs to do Your will.  May my life be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord!

Thankful that Jesus paid the price for my sins, so I don’t have to wear the Scarlet Letter!


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