While driving to work the other day I noticed a group of people cleaning up trash along the side of the road. I thought it was strange that there was a mix of men and women in the group of different ages. Then I noticed their vests. Each of them wore one that said “I am a Drunk Driver.” Wow. The whole world knows that they have committed this crime – no trying to hide it.
One of my favorite books is The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hester Prynne was forced to wear a scarlet A upon the bodice of every garment she wore to show that she had committed the sin of adultery which resulted in a child. The people in town had no clue as to who the father was and Hester would not divulge his name. But in the midst of them, Reverend Mr. Dimmsdale suffered greatly because of his sin. Every Sunday he would stand before his congregation with this huge weight upon his heart. In the end, his sin could not remain hidden and it was exposed to the town.
The vests the drunk drivers wore reminded me of that story. They literally were wearing their sin. I’m sure in the heat the vest felt even heavier than normal. There was no hiding the fact that each of them had committed a crime or what that crime was.
How would everyone behave if they knew that their sins would be broadcast to people passing by? How would we live? Would it make a difference? Would we eventually give in to the fact that wearing this notice was merely a consequence and we could learn to live with it? After all, we certainly wouldn’t be alone. It might be interesting to see what people were really up to. But what if it were you? Would it be better to suffer in silence? Or would forgiveness come easier in a world full of vests?
I have many vests that I wear but I really don’t want to wear them for all the world to see. I’m sure that people can see some of them anyway. It’s humbling to know that God sees them everyday.
It is by His grace that he gives me strength to shed these things.
Only by His grace.