Chuck Colson’s Life Story a Case Study in Redemption

Opinion   |   Brad Mattes   |   Apr 24, 2012   |   10:59AM   |   Washington, DC

Chuck Colson has passed from this earthly life into eternity.  During his time here, Chuck experienced the pomp and prestige of being in President Nixon’s inner circle.  He was later forced to trade the comfort of the Oval office for a lonely jail cell due to his role in Watergate.  He pled guilty to obstruction of justice and served seven months in prison.

Jesus worked on Chuck’s heart during his legal troubles and the time he spent in the slammer.  He came out a new man.  God placed on his heart a passion to reach out to those usually abandoned by society, and Chuck shared the gospel with them.  He was a forceful yet eloquent advocate for incarcerated souls.

While I didn’t know Chuck personally, he was a mentor all the same.  I admired his tenacity on behalf of inmates who hold no political power—very similar to our work protecting unborn babies.  I and others watched Chuck from afar to see if he was the real deal.  He was.

Some people’s spiritual failures happen in public, while others of us slip-up in relative anonymity.  Chuck’s fall was under the microscope of the worldwide media.  In one regard, that’s what makes his success of leading Prison Fellowship all the more a sweet victory.  The Bible is full of God using the most unexpected, undeserving and ill-equipped people to further His kingdom—murderers, adulterers, liars, cheats and cowards.  Even during his spiritually dark time, Chuck Colson looked like a boy scout in comparison.



Chuck served the Lord with the passion of a redeemed soul who has dramatically experienced the gift of underserved grace.  His personal walk made him painfully aware of how little any of us deserve God’s love and mercy.  Chuck’s gratefulness to the Lord was evident in his daily work with Prison Fellowship.

Hopefully, we’ll all pause and reflect on the life of this godly man and remember his family in our prayers.  May we strive to replicate in our own lives and ministries Chuck Colson’s passion and love for his Savior that was reflected in the way he viewed the least among us.  The world is a better place because of him, and in what Prison Fellowship has yet to achieve. Note: Bradley Mattes is the executive director of Life Issues Institute, a national pro-life educational group. Mattes is a veteran of the pro-life cause, with over 33 years of educational, political and humanitarian experience.