Many of us remember reading this book in our teen years. I’m not sure why it was required reading. Maybe it was a way of discouraging promiscuous behavior. Maybe it should be put on the reading list again. The book was written in a time when labels were very much out there. We have them today as well, but not quite as much stigma is connected with them. The shame of wearing a tag to display your adulterous activity doesn’t happen today – or does it? When someone outwardly exhibits their sins openly, their label doesn’t bring the kind of shame it once did. It isn’t an effective tool and probably wasn’t even in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s day.
Today, most illicit behavior is right out there for all the world to see, hear or read about. In a world of instant news, there is nothing secret or sacred any longer. On the other hand, pride is becoming the seed of human behavior and it often leads to destruction. Pride is defined as a high or inordinate opinion of one’s own dignity, importance, merit, or superiority, whether as cherished in the mind or as displayed in conduct. It’s easy to get caught up in those thoughts because we live in a world that is often considered “THE ME GENERATION.”
What would others think of us if they knew what was lurking in the deep, dark corners of our hearts? How would we appear if all our sins were displayed like they were in “The Scarlet Letter” for all the world to see? We all have hidden thoughts, desires and things we don’t want people to know about us – the ugly side of us. Only God knows our inner conflict. He knows our struggles and fears, but He still loves us in spite of it. We have been cleaned up – all labels have been erased by His own Son – we no longer wear the badge of SINNER on our chests. His unconditional love looks beyond our sin and sees the ransom – paid in full.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” Philippians 2:3