Thursday, January 12, 2012

Admitting Error

“Well, I didn’t understand that I had to…”

“Well, no one told me to…”

“No—no, I don’t need help.”

“I’m fine—no, I don’t have a meth problem.”

“I can handle it—I don’t need help.”

“I’d like to, but I don’t know if I have the time. I don’t know how I would get there. I can’t afford it.”

“Well, yes—last year I had a problem with it, but I don’t now. I’m fine now.”

No, I was not in court for any reasons relating to my own behavior—other than accepting a position as tutor to a homeschool co-op, that is, and going with my class on a field trip to visit the courthouse.

With no personal experience, I can’t say exactly what a defendant thinks as he’s called in and charged with an offense against the State. I can only imagine how hard it must be hard to stand in front of a judge and admit that you’ve not only messed up—you blew it. You stole, you lied, you drove when you were so drunk you saw aliens on the fence pole and tried to smash them with your flying saucer.

It must be very hard indeed, based on the responses I saw and the defendants’ utter unwillingness to admit an error—even when their lawyers urged them to take a plea bargain, even when the judge asked repeatedly whether they wanted probation and drug treatment to avoid prison time.

I can’t blame them. As humans, we don’t like to admit that we’ve done wrong. We prefer to shuffle our feet and say we can’t remember—no one told us the rules.

“Sin? I don’t have any sin. She—that woman you gave me—she was the one who did it.”

Unfortunately, we can’t ask forgiveness for sins we won’t admit.

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