Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)
TITLE: Marked by Sin
By Elizabeth White
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Those seven letters form a scar on my arm. Once they shone red too. No longer visible to the outside eye, it remains a reminder to me alone. It is a reminder of my sin.
The notes can’t easily be deciphered. The jagged words threaten the condemned. The colour now represents the fierce anger with which it accuses. Every line displays some of what could have been. One mistake after another and the words can no longer be examined through watery eyes glistening with unshed tears. That was me – A could have been.
I struggle with self-harm. I’d like to say I’m over it but honestly I’m not sure. Every scar remains. I’m marked by sin. I’m ashamed of it, humiliated, wishing that I could go back and undo what I’ve done. I can’t. I’m stained, scarred, labelled a failure.
The evidence was overwhelming. The accused stood condemned. The colour was highlighting the mistakes, bringing them to the light with each harsh stroke of ink. The submission had been marked proving what was known all along. The composition was tainted. Given a value, it had been corrected - Marked, just like its composer.
The marks won’t go away. Perhaps with time they’ll fade, but my past regrets can’t be undone. Five years ago I’d never have imagined I’d be here now. Part of me wishes I could go back, return to a time before I was trapped within this whirlwind of temptation. But I can’t go back. I’m broken, I’ve almost given up. I’ve been condemned by sin.
Slowly the strokes of ink are deciphered, lines arranged to create meaning. And the meaning of each careful stroke proves to be deeper than the sum of them all together. Together they scream failure through the definiteness of the chosen colour. Separate they gently whisper, “Here’s how you can improve, now, go, and try again.” The ink was never meant to represent condemnation. It wasn’t failure, but correction. The colour was definite, strong, yes, because it revealed truth. It had to be that way. The red displayed authority. Lighter ink could never have the same affect. However, the author was never meant to feel condemned. Gradually the purpose of the ink revealed its message. “You don’t need to make the same mistakes again.”
...And the analogy can go no further. It has shown how a mistake can be turned into something new through the colour of correction. Yet it remains incomplete due to its inanimate nature and inability to accurately display true life. One mistake is enough. I stand condemned regardless of the future. Yet the colour represents something more - Love. Love erased what couldn’t be undone. Yet even His forgiveness came not without a price. Just as the colour displays truth more boldly than its lighter counterparts ever could, so does Love. Sin is serious. Sin has a price, but no longer one which I have to pay. Just like the ink, Love corrects, encouraging me to try again and it’s not hopeless anymore because Love has paid for what I could not. I am marked by Sin. Every day I have to live with the external consequences of my past decisions but I no longer have to deal with that inside. Only through His love am I made truly new and have the courage to try again. Seven letters form a scar on my arm, yet, no longer do they spell failure, but redemption.
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