The man who wore his sin to Starbucks …

Last night I was immersed in work on my laptop when I sensed someone sitting down on the padded bench next to me. When I turned to look, I saw it was a man who wore his sin to Starbucks.

He’s a homeless man, and he suffers from a mental illness. Not being his therapist, and not having had an opportunity to assess him, I don’t know what specific mental illness plagues him, but from his outward behavior, which routinely involves an ongoing conversation (spoken out loud) with himself, it’s clear to see he has problems.

Yesterday was different.

He was wearing a sleeveless camouflage shirt with utility shorts, but what made him stand out was the reddish-pinkish — or was it scarlet? — ink that now covered his body.

And I do mean covered!

Every single strand of his hair was saturated with the ink.

His face was soaked with the ink.

His arms and legs were covered with the ink.

Any part of his body that was exposed was wholly stained by the ink!

Then it struck me: he had been busted trying to steal something! The only way this man was now a scarlet man was he had obviously stolen something that had an ink security tag attached, or tried to open something with a security ink tag, and it went off. The result was that it exploded ink all over him, making it an irrefutable fact that he was a thief.

The fact this man was a thief was now something he could no longer hide. He was the only scarlet man in Starbucks, and everyone noticed. As I looked at his new coloring, I was reminded of this scripture text …

“‘Come now, let’s settle this,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool’,” Isaiah 1:18.

The ink on this man won’t be coming off of him any time soon. He’ll be wearing his sin publicly for a while. He was already ostracized for being homeless and obviously mentally imbalanced but now, with his sin on public display, I imagine people will shun him all the more.

Imagine if God made it so that you had to wear, in some public way, your sins of the past week to church on Sunday. Would you act any differently? Would you be treated any differently?

The only hope for this scarlet man was that Jesus Christ was crucified between two thieves. One hurled abuses at Him, the other found a Savior whom that day he would worship in paradise.

Jesus loves thieves, and everyone who’s sins are as scarlet. That includes you and me. We don’t have to wear our sins publicly for all to see, but they’re still there. Have you turned to the One who can wash them away and make you as white as snow? It’s only through Jesus Christ that the stain of sin can be removed.