Faith in Focus

The National Public Radio broadcasting station shot over the airwaves the story of a young man in Chicago, who, as a demonstration of pride for his city, went to a local tattoo parlor to get the statement 'Chi Town' inked across his chest. He told the artist what he wanted, the tattoo was stenciled, and the letters were placed onto the man's chest, no problem. The tattoo was completed and the customer went home happy.

That is, until the next day, when he discovered that the tattoo declaring his hometown pride had been misspelled. Instead of Chi Town emblazoned on his chest it made the unusual statement of… 'Chi Tonw.' That's right, Chi Tonw!

In anger he contacted the artist and shared his frustration at the mistake. You know, tattoos aren't easy to fix. They're rather permanent. The tattoo artist offered to attempt a correction on the mistake, but the customer declined. In support, his friends told him not to worry too much. After all, mistakes are made in newsprint and magazines all the time, and this was really no different. In fact, since then they have even gone so far as to have the same tattoo, 'Chi Tonw,' printed on their bodies.

The artist, now infamous, is offering for a short time, the same tattoo free to those interested. 'Chi Tonw,' viewed by some as a trend to remind us of the imperfections of life, is now a hit.

I, too, have been tattooed with my share of mistakes, or as the Bible calls them, sins. Let's see, according to the Bible I have been stained with the guilt of lust and envy, lying and cheating, idolatry, blasphemy, gossip, even murder. I can't deny it; it's as clear as 'Chi Tonw,' written across my heart. But along came Jesus, the Master Artist. He told me and showed me He loved me. When I acknowledged what I was guilty of with a repentant heart and placed my mistakes in His care He freely took my tattoos of sin upon Himself, and by the grace of His shed blood He has covered them and turned them around to bring glory to His name.

Not only that, He has provided for my future sins as well and is willing and able to cover them also. Praise God, I am on a new path now. Where my heart once said lost sinner, it now says forgiven child of God.

And just like the man in the story, I am not alone. The Bible tells me you have sinned too. Yet, there is good news. God has other plans for you. He loves you, and if you let Him He will take away the stains of your sin-filled life and make your life a work of art. And He does this all for free. Won't you accept Jesus' gift? We could start a new trend.

Jim Bollin is pastor of Sandy Seventh-day Adventist Church.

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