“His life is a testament to how redemption, so often debased and abused in a 24/7 news cycle obsessed with celebrity and scandal, can be astonishingly powerful and real.” — Rich Lowry on Charles W. Colson
I was writing an article recently for work and had to read some sections of Chuck Colson’s book, “Born Again.”
Some of it is just too painful, hits too close to home in some ways. Granted, the nation wasn’t watching when Dave lost his ministry because of his prescription drug abuse and all the destructive side-effects.
Because of his Watergate crimes, Chuck Colson went to prison. He served just enough time to see the hopelessness of condemned men and the failure of a system that sent them back to the streets to re-offend. He used his notoriety to found Prison Fellowship sharing his testimony of transformation to give hope to millions.
Granted, it would be hard to hide from your past if your sins, crimes, shame were as famous as Watergate. It would follow you your whole life, just as it did Chuck Colson. Just look at the headlines and the articles detailing his crimes from nearly 40 years ago.
The thing that inspires me about Chuck Colson is that he repented, acknowledged his shame and let God turn it into a platform to speak to criminals and kings. It takes a great deal of humility to have your flaws chronicled for all time and still face the world.
How have you failed? What has God healed you from? And why do you hide it?
People don’t want to hear how great we are or how perfect we’ve become. There’s no real hope for perfection in this life. So give it up! What are you going to let God do with your shame?
People want to know that no matter how badly they’ve failed and no matter how much they’ve scoffed at and rejected the God who loves them, that He still stands there with open arms ready to embrace them and forgive.
It may be in a prison yard speaking to 600 convicts or it might be a small recovery group in your church. All around us men and women are living in their past or present bondage to shame.
Let God use your story. They need to know redemption is real.
“If Mr. Colson can repent of his sins, there just has to be hope for everybody.”
Boston Globe in 1973
Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance:
Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.
But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners,
Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example
for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
Saint Paul, I Timothy 1:14-15