Pronunciation Guide

Friday, July 26, 2013

Redeeming the unchangeable mark of terrible life

In my story, in order to become an H-guy, one must receive a brand on the underside of their right forearm. At certain ranks, another brand is added. The most powerful men in my story-world bear three.

The brands set them apart as what they are; only H-guys get them, and you can’t become an H-guy without one. It is to show that one is an H-guy, for life.

Yet, by the end of the story…some of the H-guys have changed. They are redeemed.

I was thinking about it the other day…how even after what happens at the end, they’d still have the brands. They’d be different in their hearts and actions…but they’d still bear the marks of their former selves --- marks which would serve as irremovable, unchangeable signs of the horrible things they had done and been.

…I didn’t like that.

One of the big points of the story is that no one is beyond redemption --- full redemption. The former H-guys still having the brands…to me, sort of said, “They are redeemed…but only to a point. Some things can’t be changed…some things can’t be healed…some things can’t truly be forgotten or forgiven.”

And I really didn’t like that. My heart was not settled…so I changed it.

Now, instead of seeing the constant reminder of failure and previous sins on their arms…there is a constant reminder of grace. Of forgiveness. Of newness. Of hope. 

Instead of a mark of shame, there is a mark of change. What once was has been erased and covered over by something…else. And the ones with more than one brand…have more than one new mark. Because those who have been forgiven much love much. Those most in debt…are the most grateful to find their debt erased. [Luke 7:36-50]

I still haven’t figured out how to put God --- by name --- in the story. The characters do not know or acknowledge him. The reigning “religion” is atheism; or, at best, agnosticism.

…Yet, because I am a Christian…and I write from a Christian perspective and worldview…there are several things that allude to Jesus.

…This is one of them.

…And after

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