Maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for this guy…

If you followed the news last spring you probably heard that Mark Hacking of Salt Lake City lied to his wife and family, and then (allegedly) shot and killed his wife and dumped her body.

I have no sympathy for men who harm women — especially the women who love and trust them. And I believe that a just God will judge them more harshly than I ever could.

I also believe in a merciful God, however. I believe in repentance. I believe that Christ can change your heart. And I believe that the first step in the process of obtaining mercy from a God who is both just and merciful, the first paving stone on the high road of repentance if you will, is confession.

Well, Mark Hacking confessed. He plead guilty in court, and told the court just what he did.

I’m not going to suggest for a moment that EARTHLY judges need to show any special mercy upon him. There are other stones on that high road, and they have burdensome words on them like “restitution” and “repayment.” When you take a human life there is NOTHING you can do to fully restore what you have taken. He hasn’t been sentenced yet, and I’ll be disappointed if his crime gets him less than 15 years behind bars.

But I’m pleased that he confessed.

I’m pleased because Mark Hacking is still a person, still has an eternal soul, and is still worth saving. I believe his confession means that he may find forgiveness in the next life. He decided not to lie anymore, nor to pay others to lie on his behalf, in an effort to further cover the horrible sins he committed. He still has a lifetime of pain, shame, and guilt ahead of him, but perhaps in the eternal world he can find the mercy I believe he is seeking.

–Howard

32 thoughts on “Maybe, just maybe, there’s hope for this guy…”

  1. Almost makes me wonder what you’d think of someone who said “When I go, the first deity who wants me is the one I’ll work for, be it ‘evil’ or not…” — putting faith that a just God would forgive no matter what if their heart was good.

    Lizard Rat out.
    Random in Albany NY

    1. I think you misunderstand me. I’m not suggesting that a change of heart is easy, or trivial. If it were, then the trials of this life would be pointless.

      What I’m saying is that if you do bad things, and your heart is in the wrong place (as it pretty much has to be if you knowingly do bad things), it’s possible, through faith and repentance (which are NOT trivial) to change your heart and become good.

      The story of the conversion of Paul in the Bible is one example. The story of Alma the Younger in the Book of Mormon is another. There are plenty of non-scriptural examples, too — people who “turn their lives around” after misspent youth, time in prison, etc.

      And God has to temper justice with mercy, balancing the two. If lives do NOT get turned around, and hearts go unchanged, then justice has full claim. If there is repentance… a genuine change of heart… well, God’s a lot smarter than I am. I’m pretty confident that he’s found a way for justice to still be served while allowing for mercy in those cases.

      –Howard

      1. *nod* I brought it up since that’s how I think.

        What would you say to someone who says “God created everything, even the Devil (well, He DID…), therefore, whatever you worship is technically linked to God…?”

        (no, I’m not implying I follow demons instead of angels, and yes, that’s how I think)

        Lizard Rat out.
        Non-Religious Nut in Albany NY

        1. We’d have a long discussion somewhere besides my Live Journal (and sometime when I’m a bit less busy than I am right now) in which I explain the logical fallacies inherent in that belief, and how there are monotheistic belief systems that overcome said fallacy. Neither of us would come away converted to the other’s system of beliefs, though.

          –Howard

          1. I can believe that. That’s what two other people said to me about it.

            Mind if I add you to my AIM list? I see your AIM name in your userinfo…

            Lizard Rat out.
            Smirking in Albany NY

    1. Yeah, but he’s off the hook for the death penalty. Granted, his time in prison may result in an early death, depending on how he’s treated by the other inmates. If it’s blood you want, just imagine his life behind bars, eh?

      –Hwoard

      1. I think execution is more humane than life behind bars, honestly. And this is one of the few cases where I think it’s fairly straightforward that he’s the guy that done it.

        I’m an old testament kind of guy, punishmentwise. I wish it applied to white collar criminals more thoroughly. I’d like them to be responsible for all the money they stole twice over. Steal 100 million? Pay 200 million back or go to prision until you do. No parole. Prision until you pay up.

        1. And I agree. I really, really hope the Judge doesn’t let Mark off easy with the minimum sentence.

          I also know that I haven’t been called upon to judge Mark, either in this life or the next, and I’m pretty doggone thankful for that. Because I’d end up in Hell for damn sure after I’d performed four shotgun amputations and a shovel vasectomy on his sorry self.

          1. That’s all you’d do? I’m sure the rest of us could pick up right where you left off.

            Better yet, just toss him in jail and tell the inmates he was a child molester — they love them 😉

            Lizard Rat out.
            Evil Minded in Albany NY

          2. Honestly, I suspect “wife killer” will do the job well enough that “chlid molester” isn’t quite going to be necessary.

            He still might live longer than Scott Peterson, though.

          3. But Sin City has taught us that vasectomies are to be carried out by revolover or by hand. I’m pretty sure using a shovel isn’t covered by HMOs, too.

          4. (OT)

            (OT)The number of times I’ve seen Sin City referenced has made me want to see that movie pretty badly… although I can probably wait until it gets to DVD.
            I’m not a comix/graphic novel reader generally so I can’t comment on the original work…. (just getting into “Fables”)

  2. I’ve a feeling this is one of those times I should just keep my mouth shut… -.- but I just have to say it: “I have no sympathy for men who harm women — especially the women who love and trust them.” – is that to imply you have more sympathy for men who harm men, or men who harm women, or men who harm women who don’t know them… etc?

    I know that’s probably not what you mean, this is mostly meant as a little heads-up. I know a lot of feminists would go bonkers and say you’re speaking like a male chauvinist pig. 😉 Yeah, the world’s nuts.

    1. Anybody who is in a position of trust and then betrays that trust is going to be more despised by me than is the random sociopath who kills others.

      Schoolteachers or scoutmasters who abuse their authority. Mothers who kill their children. Husbands who kill their wives.

      The sad fact is that men kill the women who love and trust them something like 10 times more often than women killing the men who trust them. It’s also a sad fact that more women are murdered (by far) by men they know than by men they’ve never met. Stating this fact is not chauvanism. It’s just social commentary. The feminists can (and should) yowl about the inherent injustice of the facts, but should leave the commentators the hell alone. 🙂

      –Howard

      1. Oh, I absolutely agree, and it’s not really surprising, considering men are bigger, stronger and more agressive than women as a general rule. I’m a biologist (or will be in a few years :P), won’t hear ME dispute that fact! I’m just saying that personally, and a lot of people will agree with me (including you I think?), I think killing another human is bad, regardless of how many X and Y chromosomes are involved. 🙂

    2. You and would get along famously.

      If I catch you in her journal, don’t be afraid of the lesbian jokes. They are just to annoy HER, and not directed at anyone else.

      1. What makes you say that? Just, curious what you think you know about my personality that makes you pair me up with this person whom I know nothing about… 😉

        1. I don’t remember what started it, but she and I once had this long conversation that boiled down to me trying to justify opening doors for girls and her telling me that no, that was still discriminatory.

          I have this problem where I make inside references that noone on earth would get …

          1. Umm… in which case I’d side with you. Girls like that are crazy. 😛 If you read my initial comment I wrote “I know some feminists would go…” – trying to imply I’m most definitely not one of them. I’m more of an anti-feminist actually. 😛

          2. Well, it’s discriminatory if you refuse to open doors for guys, however it’s hardly something that deserves a thrashing.

            I was actually going to respond to Mr Tayler’s statement in a similiar fashion, but I was beat to it. I understand you don’t mean it in a sexist way, but many will take it that way.

          3. I’ll hold a door for a guy if I’m just ahead of him entering it, but I’ll skip ahead of a female to open the door for her.

            The problem with this whole discussion is that guys opening doors for girls is based on some concept that we need to be politer to girls. This concept I believe in. It has been said somewhere that the whole thing comes from the idea that females are weaker than males – this is supposedly the arguement against behaving in these (misnamed) chivalrous fasions.

            But I do it, and will continue to do it, because the female of the species is (by and large) worthy of respect. The male is not. I should know, because I am one of the latter.

          4. But in so doing you are implying sexual inequality. The problem that people have with gender based chivalry isn’t that people are being polite, it’s that people are being inequally polite to each sex. It is certainly based on belief that women are fragile and need to be babied.

            Your argument that the act of being female is somehow respect worthy is preposterous. I understand that you might not be 100% serious but I sense (and if I’m wrong correct me) an implication that you truly do believe this on some level. This is precisely why people react with hostility to such ideas of chivalry. There is no specific moral quality associated with a specific sex. You claim women deserve respect more then men. Respect is something that is earned. There isn’t some quality of femaleness/maleness that makes for a more respectable person. The only time I think it is justifiable to show someone more then ordinary respect is if they have done something that is respect worthy. Being female is not something that is respect worthy nor is being male.

            I apologize if I just got all ranty, misplaced respect is one of my biggest petpeeves. I tend to do the same when I hear the words “respect your elders.” Sorry buddy, gotta have something more going for you then being old. Staying alive isn’t that big of a feat in the US.

            I am not saying disrespect those you don’t know. Just don’t give it to one person more then another person for a reason that is out of either of their hands.

          5. Why is that argument preposterous?

            I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree… because I’m going to continue to think that women are, by default, worthy of more respect, more concern, more care, than me. They are certainly able to lose that respect, case by case.

            It has something to do with them being able to bear children, and men not. More to do with that than any “weakness”.

            (This was made clear to me recently during the birth of my third child, our first boy. My wife is absolutely not fragile. I came very close to finding out whether the spine of the anesthesiologist was fragile, because she borked the job, and so I had a chance to see just how capable of dealing with pain and adversity is woman. Or, my woman, anyway.)

          6. I’d say you’re justified by a simple statistical bias: If 80% of the females you’ve met were worthy of respect, but only 50% of males, then females are, on average, more worthy of respect.

            Equally, you’re doing something nice. You don’t have any particular obligation to be “equal opportunity” about it – otherwise giving someone a dollar would oblige you to give *everyone* a dollar, just to be “fair.” 🙂

            I think my only real objection to your stance is that the way you word it, phrases like “by default”, implies that it’s not merely a statistical bias from your experiences, bu rather that you might think that this is a universal trait, and that others should also show women more respect than they do men. But, like I said, that’s just an implication – I’m not going to assume it’s true. (That’d also be my objection to Howard’s original line – it can be taken to imply that male violence towards women was worse than the alternatives. Language is such a fickle thing, in this regard :))

  3. A small ray of hope

    I don’t know the facts of the case, and given your description, it’s not likely something I’m going to do research on. But, since he’s confessed to the crime, I’m much more inclined to feel sorry for the guy.

    I hope he *can* turn his life around, if the courts and prison allow for it.

  4. I like your commentary on this. I read this at the request of my husband who reads your comic very regularly. Maybe this guy will end up with King David? Tough to tell and I don’t speculating about any one elses afterlife given that I’m still working on my own 🙂

  5. Two stories on hypothetical repentance:

    On the Sunday it was announced that Saddam had been captured, my priest announced the fact to the congregation. He then prayed the following (as I remember it): “Lord, we thank you for the capture of Saddam Hussein. Lord, right now he is probably fearful, as he should be. But we know that you desire that none of your sheep be lost, so we pray that he would repent and turn to you.”

    Of course, no where was it implied in the prayer that Saddam should not go on trial and face the consequences of his actions, whether that led to death or life imprisonment. That wasn’t the point.

    About four months later a housemate of mine mentioned a conversation he had with a co-worker: “The problem with Christianity,” the co-worker said, “is that you believe that if Adolf Hitler had, in the last moments of his life, been convicted of his own sin and sincerely repented of it to God, accepting Christ as his Savior, he would be in heaven right now.” (This discounts the possibility of purgatory, but oh well.)

    To which my housemate replied, “I know! Isn’t it great?”

    They both recognized they’d hit a bit of an impasse there.

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