December 8, 2001
I’m tired. My English class just finished the Scarlet Letter trial. I was Hester Prynne, Amy was my daughter, Pearl, Linda was my defense lawyer, Bao questioned Chillingworth, and Charlie questioned Dimmesdale. We lost.
This is one of my fondest high school memories. I volunteered to be Hester Prynne because I didn’t want to prepare lawyer-y questions, and then my teacher dropped the bomb. Hester has to dress up and wear the letter “A” for the duration of the trial (I think it was about a week). Well I couldn’t back out. So this happened:
You’re welcome. Happy Friday 🙂
Sometimes, opportunities turn out a little different than how we thought they would. Curve balls are thrown at us, and we get put in situations that are more challenging, or as in my case, more embarrassing than we expected. Just go with it. Don’t give up. If it’s worth pursuing, persevere.
The trial turned out fun, despite losing and having to dress up like a pioneer woman publicly branded with her sin. I learned that I should have studied Hester Prynne deeper, and not skim some parts of the book like I did. I learned that I was very nerdy for hand sewing that letter “A” in class (yep, I went there). I learned that it’s hard to be put on trial for one thing because the other lawyers would bring up everything in my life they can use against me (well, the me that is Hester Prynne).
The Bible says:
“Do everything without complaining and arguing, so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people” Philippians 2:14-15 (NLT)
It’s not fair to be branded for one thing, one sin, or one event in your life, but it happens. It’s hard for some people to forgive or forget, and they’ll use what they can to bring you down. Even if God has forgiven us and we have forgiven ourselves, there are some people who can’t let go. In their eyes, we’re still wearing our letter, our brand of sin.
It’s also not fair to have to be good all the time. How do we never complain or argue? How do we reach this level of perfection that nobody can ever criticize us for anything?
To both I repeat what Paul said:
Dear friends, you always followed my instructions when I was with you. And now that I am away, it is even more important. Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him. (Philippians 2:12-13, NLT)
We’ve always got to look at the context, right?
Yes, it’s not fair to be branded by our past mistakes. But I think if we’re working hard to show the results of our salvation, then we are working hard at living out the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. To love one another. To love our enemies. To forgive. To turn the other cheek.
And yes, that’s not always easy to do. It’s not fair to have to be good all the time. But the point is not “to be good” or try to be perfect. We don’t work hard on our salvation by working hard at being good. The greatest commandment is to love God will all our heart, soul, strength, and mind. That’s the point of it all. To love God. To give Him our deepest reverence and fear (not being scared of Him but giving Him the utmost respect and honor).
When God is our focus, everything else will follow. We will desire to live clean and innocent lives. We will desire to do everything with gladness instead of complaints. And He will provide us with the strength, the power, to do all that. God will give us the power to work hard at our salvation when we keep our focus on Him.