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The Scarlet Letter

Judging Criticism Sin

Source: Wikipedia

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Charles Krieg | Date Posted: 2020-07-19

Scripture: Isaiah 1:18 ; Matthew 7:1

Author: Charles Krieg
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ILLUSTRATION

In the book of Isaiah we read, “Though your sins be like scarlet they may become white as snow; though they be crimson red, they may become white as wool.”

The color scarlet is a visual symbol of sin. In the classic novel The Scarlet Letter”  by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne is ostracized from her society because of her sin. Hester committed adultery and must spend her life wearing the scarlet letter "A" as a badge of shame.

But the subplot indirectly asks what letter ought the other members of the society be wearing. What is their sin? 

 

APPLICATION

Hester Prynne was forced to wear a scarlet A to announce her sin of adultery. Of course, if we all had to wear letters for our sins, we would need the whole alphabet!  To avoid hypocrisy here, we must acknowledge that sin is sin, and that we are all guilty of our own rebellions.  Sure, sin must be confronted, but in a spirit of humility, accompanied by the offer of restoration, forgiveness, and hope. 

Comparing Ourselves To Others

Presumption Judging Self-righteousness

Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press, Punchlines, p.23, 01/10/2019

Link to Source: Click here to view source

Contributed By: Terry Power | Date Posted: 2019-09-15

Scripture: 2 Corinthians 10:12

Author: Chattanooga Times Free Press, Punchlines, p.23, 01
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ILLUSTRATION

A couple purchased a home in upper Maine from two elderly sisters. With winter approaching, the wife was concerned about the house’s lack of insulation.

“If they could live here all those years, so can we!” her husband confidently declared.

One night, the temperature plunged to below zero, and they awoke to find interior walls covered with frost. The husband called the sisters to ask how they had kept the house warm. After a rather brief conversation, he hung up.

 “For the past 30 years,” he muttered, “they’ve gone to Florida for the winter.”

APPLICATION

When we compare ourselves to others, it's easy to develop a false sense of self-assurance.

"For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise" (2 Corinthians 10:12). 

Making Change

Giving Judging Pride

Contributed By: Allen Povenmire | Date Posted: 2016-06-21

Scripture: Mark 12:43

Author: Allen Povenmire
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ILLUSTRATION

Helping take up an offering on the last night of VBS, I finished with the back row and headed up the middle aisle of the church, offering plate in hand. As I neared the front of the sanctuary, I heard a woman’s voice behind me. I turned and saw a small, frail looking woman pursuing me up the aisle, with money in her hand. Still nothing that unusual, I’m thinking. Somehow, we just missed her. 

I didn’t recognize the woman; she wasn’t a regular in our church. She was middle-aged, maybe in her 50's, and wasn’t particularly well dressed. Since we were standing at the front of the sanctuary, with nothing else going on, no doubt the majority of the audience witnessed what occurred next.  

The woman approached me with her bill in hand and I held out the plate to accommodate her. I couldn’t help but notice her place a twenty dollar bill on top of the pile of bills already in the plate. I started to turn toward the altar, and she quietly, but firmly said, "Please wait." I looked at her as she proceeded to rifle through the bills in the plate, looking for change for the twenty she’d placed in the plate. 

It was sort of a surreal moment, someone making change in the offering plate. I heard a few muffled whispers throughout the sanctuary. I awkwardly waited as she finished her transaction and turned quickly to return to her seat. I put the plate in its appointed place and walked away, still somewhat confounded by what I’d witnessed.

APPLICATION

After the moment had passed further, this lasting thought came to my mind: the woman didn’t have to give anything at all. She had the appearance of one who didn’t have much to give, but she gave anyway. She could have stayed seated, saving herself the pointed attention of coming up the aisle. Maybe that twenty dollars represented a great amount to her and her giving a portion of it was really a big deal. It might have been a bigger sacrifice than any of us who initially scoffed at her actions realized. 

In the Gospel of Mark we read:

"Now Jesus sat opposite the treasury and saw how the people put money into the treasury. And many who were rich put in much. Then one poor widow came and threw in two mites, which make a quadrans. So He called His disciples to Himself and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.” (Mark 12:41-44, NKJV)

Every time I read that passage, I think of that woman walking up the aisle with her offering. Her humility left a lasting impression on me. Honestly, I’m afraid I would have been too prideful to carry out her act. 

Judging By The Wrong Standards

Judging Legalism Priorities

Contributed By: Geoff Follas | Date Posted: 2016-02-22

Scripture: Proverbs 4:23 ; Luke 6:45

Author: Geoff Follas
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Casting Stones

Purity Marriage Judging

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-12-10

Scripture: John 8:7

Author: Mitchell Dillon
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Clean Your Windows

Judging Self-examination Hypocrisy

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-06-30

Scripture: Matthew 7:5

Author: Unknown
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Lessons From the Josh Duggar Fallout

Redemption Restoration Judging

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-05-27

Scripture: Ephesians 1:7

Author: Dr. Michael Brown / Illustration Exchange
5

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Skeletons In Lawn Chairs

Gossip Discernment Judging

Contributed By: Neal Pollard | Date Posted: 2015-05-16

Scripture: Proverbs 18:13

Author: Neal Pollard
1

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Do Your Sins Have Mugshots

Sin Judging Accountability

Contributed By: Illustration Exchange | Date Posted: 2015-04-27

Scripture: Matthew 7:1

Author: Jason F. Wright
5

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A Child's Openness at Christmas

Christmas Grace Judging

Contributed By: Paul Barreca | Date Posted: 2014-12-24

Scripture: Luke 2:8

Author: Unknown
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