In 1993 a Ku Klux Klansman named Henry Alexander made a confession to his wife.

In 1993 a Ku Klux Klansman named Henry Alexander made a confession to his wife. In 1957 he and several other Klansmen had pulled a black truck driver from  his cab, marched him to a deserted bridge high above a swift river, and made him jump, screaming, to his death. Alexander was charged with the crime in 1976-it took nearly twenty years to bring him to trial-pled innocent and was acquitted by a white jury. For thirty-six years he insisted on his innocence, until the day in 1993 when he confessed the truth to his wife. “I don’t even know what God has planned for me. I don’t even know how to pray for myself,” he told her. A few days later, he died.

Alexander’s wife wrote a letter of apology to the black man’s widow, a letter subsequently printed in The New York Times. “Henry lived a lie all his life,- and he made me live it too,” she wrote. For all those years she had believed her husband’s protestations of innocence. He showed no outward sign of remorse until the last days of his life, too late to attempt public restitution. Yet he could not carry the terrible secret of guilt to his grave. After thirty-six years of fierce denial, he still needed the release only forgiveness could provide.

Philip Yancey, What’s so Amazing about Grace?, p.100

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