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Matthew CordleYou probably saw it – Matthew Cordle staring into a camera admitting to a drunk driving accident that resulted in the death of a 61 year old man.

It’s extraordinary, if only because of it’s honesty.  Most people would enter a not-guilty plea.  Court would convene and lots of money would be spent trying to get a guilty person pronounced innocent of the crime.

The daughter of the slain man was credited with saying that she didn’t buy it.  That he was just trying to get his sentence reduced.  The only problem with her judgment is that the motives of a person are never within human view.  You can guess what they are, but it’s only a guess.  Only God has the seat in the stands where one can see a person’s motives.

One of the greatest confessions on record is that of King David.  He was guilty of committing adultery with Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.  David’s adulterous desires were caused by his lascivious voyeurism from his palace roof.  But it gets worse.

When Bathsheba turned up pregnant, David had Uriah, her husband, killed by putting him in the worst spot in a battle where he would surely be killed.  A prophet came to David and confronted him with the deeds, and David was inconsolable.

Psalm 51 was David’s version of a Matthew Cordle confession.  Staring into the camera, David said, “I did it.”  And he begged God to forgive him – “Have mercy on me, O God.”  The Bible calls King David, the adulterer and murderer, “a man after God’s own heart.”  Clearly, God forgave David.  People can change.

Both Matthew Cordle and King David point out the fact that people fail, and sometimes they do it egregiously.  Huge failures.  Failures that make us wonder if forgiveness is possible.   Like when David fornicated and murdered.  And Matthew Cordle drove his car while drunk.  Things serious enough to make observers want to have them drawn and quartered.

That’s where grace comes in.  We all need it, and it is dishonest to pretend we don’t.  Matthew Cordle should serve his sentence.  He said as much.  But none of us is qualified to say if he was sincere in his confession.

Say, “you’re forgiven,” and leave the rest to God.

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