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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Red (10/01/09)

TITLE: Marked by Sin
By Elizabeth White


The colour said it all. The page was filled with tiny notations. The familiar teacher-like scrawl was proving to be almost unreadable. The message, however, was clear. It shone boldly, leaping off the page, tormenting its victim with humiliation. It was laughing, jeering through the brightness and not even trying to soften its conviction into a more comforting colour. It was red. It spelt failure Ė A picture of my life.

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 canít 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 Ė A could have been.

I struggle with self-harm. Iíd like to say Iím over it but honestly Iím not sure. Every scar remains. Iím marked by sin. Iím ashamed of it, humiliated, wishing that I could go back and undo what Iíve done. I canít. Iím 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 wonít go away. Perhaps with time theyíll fade, but my past regrets canít be undone. Five years ago Iíd never have imagined Iíd 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 canít go back. Iím broken, Iíve almost given up. Iíve 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, ďHereís how you can improve, now, go, and try again.Ē The ink was never meant to represent condemnation. It wasnít 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. ďYou donít need to make the same mistakes again.Ē

...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 couldnít 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 itís 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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This article has been read 483 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Ruth Brown10/09/09
I never even knew about people cutting until I was involved in trying to help a person who did it, This was realistic and touching. God can heal that too.Blessings to you.
Jan Ackerson 10/11/09
I like the alternating moods. This is very well done.
diana kay10/15/09
a powerful and very descriptive peice. I personally got confused by the mixing of the two 'voices' and would have preferred to have had just a single storyline. This was because they were both very powerful on their own.