The Scarlet Letter

Susan Gordon   |   April 25, 2016 


If you were a Literature student, a literary enthusiast or an avid reader you must have read or at least heard of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s masterpiece, “The Scarlet Letter”. The major themes of the book are sin and guilt. The story is told in a Puritan setting. Even though the society that we live in is far from Puritan, we seem to have almost all the problems they seemed to have and the worst part is that we seem to be responding the same way they did.

Accusations and hypocrisy have ruled us for ages and they have taken the centre stage of our private and public lives even now. History shows us that we haven’t learnt much and the major themes of the lives around us seem to be sin and guilt as well!

This is one of the most violent times I have lived in my almost 3 decades of existence. There is blood shed everywhere every single day. Lives are being taken so lightly all over. We read news about terrorist attacks and infant rapes with the same attitude of reading India vs. Australia cricket scores. This numbness is far too deep in the bones that we don’t even realise what we are doing or not doing.

One particular incident that made me shake out of this numbness is the suicide of a research scholar in the university I studied in. The ripples of this incident have reached the far most student communities of many nations. Students are fighting for justice - fighting for their lives and their friends’ lives. Other prominent universities have also joined in the fight against corrupt administrations, discrimination, fraudulent politicians and lying media. We don’t know what the future holds for this country if lives are not taken seriously.

I have been wondering what the Christian response to this is. Are we going to do something to make a change ? Are we going to fight injustice?

It says in Jeremiah 29:7,

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.”

We are to seek the welfare of the place we live in. We are to kneel down and ask God to show his mercy for the people we live with. We may think we are here by accident but we are not. It is clearly mentioned in the Bible that God himself allotted our stay here.

“And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place”(Acts 17:26).

Many a time, we are scared to even engage with what is happening around us. We don’t want to get our hands dirty in the fear of our lives being unnecessarily dragged into the mess that is around us. We are often happy in our little bubbles where everything is nice and cozy. But there is a world around us that need us more than ever, and what it needs the most is a concerned heart.

Scarlet - it is the colour of revolution, it is the colour of passion and anger. There are many areas in which we can participate in the revolution that is going on. Many of us are in the position to make policies that benefit the citizens of this country, many others can be the advocates of the unheard voices, many others can hold the hands of those who don’t know which direction to take. Most importantly, are we at least going to pray for the afflicted and the marginalised?

Instead of judging others and arriving at our own conclusions, we ought to listen first – listen to the cries of our people and intercede on their behalf to the Maker of all, so that He may show mercy and grace to our land.

It is foolishness to wait till something tragic happens to one of us or our family. If we fight, it needs to be now and it needs to be us. But the most important fight is fought on our knees. If we aren’t motivated to get down on our knees and intercede for our people, we are the worst of all hypocrites. As I type this, I pray and ask for God’s grace to be able to do just that. I may not be able to do it all, but I can pray for those who are on the war front.

Scarlet - it is the colour of the blood that was shed on the cross. Unless and until we find ourselves kneeling before the cross, there is no hope for humanity. But if we do, the kind of revolution that it would bring will be the most historic of all – of sinful hearts turning to the saving faith of Jesus - through the scarlet blood that flowed on the cross!


Photo Credit: Unsplash

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Susan Gordon

Susan Gordon is a Malayali married to Vivek, a Delhiite and now lives in Bangalore . She has a love of words and was an editor at Oxford University Press for three years. Now she spends her days as a full-time mum running behind her sons Liam and Ryan. If and when she gets time, she enjoys baking, going for walks, dreaming about her Pinterest alter-ego and reading blogs.'

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