I have a precious friend who is up against one of the scariest “mountains” that any of us could imagine facing on this earth. I knew part of her story, a broad overview of events that brought her to the foothills of the mountain. However, today she was called to obedience, called to transparency with those closest to her, called to disclose the old stuff that made her into the person that committed the sin, in an effort to allow a thorough heart-cleaning to take place. After today, I think she is the bravest person I know.

I was mulling over the facts after she shared them, and had several things brought to mind. First of all, the nature of her situation is calling for her to have these events played out before a broad, unforgiving audience. Unlike most of us, whose sin is usually something that is worked out between us, the person(s) involved and God, her sin is being broadcast on a large scale. The old Nathaniel Hawthorne story “The Scarlet Letter” comes to mind. The main character, Hester Prynne, is caught in her sin and forced, by way of punishment, to wear a scarlet “A” (in this story, for “adultery”), marking her in the community as an immoral woman. There was no forgiveness, but a constant reminder of her sin displayed in living color on her chest. In fact, the color scarlet itself has long been associated with immorality and sin.

Isn’t it interesting, then, that God chose the blood of the Lamb as the very thing that saved my friend from her sin? The scarlet liquid that flowed from a body that became sin poured over her, covered her and filled in the cracks left from the broken places, leaving her whole and new. It was that scarlet liquid that made forgiveness a possibility, that allowed her sin to be tossed into the “sea of forgetfulness” and left her changed; no longer the person that brought her to the mountain, but one that has been filled with the power to overcome it.

My friend may be facing enormous uncertainty from an earthly perspective, but she has not been left alone, condemned to wear a scarlet letter. She has been redeemed by the scarlet instead, and it’s left her clean, empowered and white as snow.