If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:8-9
Anyone who has ever worked in the prison system knows it is not unusual for a convicted individual to protest his innocence. Maybe that's why nobody was all that surprised to hear Tim Cole claim he hadn't molested Michele Mallin.
Of course, in some ways, Cole didn't act like a criminal. He weathered his 25-year sentence with good humor and faith; he encouraged his sister to become a lawyer, and he gave the money he received to various charities. Indeed, Cole even refused a parole if he would only admit his guilt.
Now the reason Cole did those things became apparent when in 2007 he received a letter from another inmate named Jerry Johnson. In that letter, Johnson confessed to the crime for which Cole had languished in jail. It should have been good news for Cole. It wasn't. That's because, still protesting his innocence, Cole had already died.
Two things happened after Cole's name was cleared:
1. Governor Rick Perry pardoned Cole for the crime: the only posthumous exoneration ever given in Texas.
2. The city of Lubbock put up a statue in Cole's likeness. The statue is 13-feet tall and faces the place where the crime was committed. The statue's eyes are fixed on the law school at Texas Tech and the words, "JUSTICE FOR ALL" are carved into the statue's base.
When asked to explain why they would put up such a permanent reminder, a former Lubbock city council person said, "When we make a mistake, we should admit to it. We should make amends where we can."
The Lord agrees with that attitude.
All too often, and in spite of obvious evidence, we sinful humans like to claim we are as innocent and pure as the driven snow. So we might look blameless, we are willing to try all manner of machinations to cover our transgressor's tracks. Gladly, we try to shift the blame on others; slyly, we try to bury our faults and flaws; boldly, we lie and claim our purity.
Of course, the Lord, from whom no deed is hidden, knows the truth. He knows you and I are not the exception to His observation that there is not a just man on earth that always does good and never sins (see Ecclesiastes 7:20).
From the Lord's point of view, it is far better for us to confess our sins.
The Lord wants us to recognize the wrong we have done and our inability to ever set things right. When that happens, the Holy Spirit is able to lead us to the Savior who lived, suffered, died and rose so that all who believe on Him as their heaven-sent Substitute might be forgiven of all their sin. Because of Jesus, the words "GRACE FOR ALL" can be written as the epitaph on our lives.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, let me never forget the price which was paid so I might be given saving grace. May my heart be filled with appreciation for what You have done to save me. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
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In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries