THIS is an extraordinary story about a bloke from Virginia named Daniel Crocker.
On the surface, he was the typical suburbanite. He had a wife and two kids and a good job as a warehouse manager.
But Crocker had a dark secret: Nineteen years earlier, in a drug fuelled haze, he had taken the life of a Kansas woman named Tracy Fresquez. Over the years, the burden of this secret became intolerable. Eventually, Daniel Crocker turned to God for forgiveness, became a Christian, became active in an evangelical church, and he and his family grew wonderfully in their faith.
But he could not bring himself to tell the police about his terrible crime.
It was when Daniel began ministering to a prison inmate that he came under conviction. One day after Daniel returned home from a prison visit, he prayed with his wife, Nicolette.
Daniel then began planning how to go about surrendering to the authorities. For assistance, he turned to the Reverend Al Lawrence, a Prison Fellowship staff member and assistant pastor of a local church. Lawrence is an ex-offender himself, and he counseled Crocker and helped prepare him for prison life.
Lawrence told the Washington Post why Crocker was taking this extraordinary step: “[Crocker’s] faith,” he said, “told him he had to deal with that part of his life that he’s been skirting over the years.”
For Crocker, the hardest part was telling his children, nine year-old Isaac and eight-year old Analiese, why he had to leave them. As the children tearfully begged him not to go, Crocker, himself in tears, told them: “I have to do this. I’d be a hypocrite if I raised you by the Word of God and I didn’t [turn myself in].”
So Crocker boarded a plane for Kansas where he was met by startled prosecutors and charged with first-degree murder.
Charles Colesen who related this story a few years ago said: “The apostle Paul writes that “godly sorrow leads to salvation and brings no regret.” By contrast thereâ€™s “worldly sorrow”: grief over being caught, not over having sinned. Paul warns that this kind of sorrow “produces death.”
“The Crocker’s remarkable story is a timely lesson in what it means to repent. The kind of repentance Paul describes produces changed hearts and changed lives. It doesnâ€™t ask “what can I get away with?” but rather “how do I make things right?”