Why I thank God for Chuck Colson

By now you’ve probably heard that Chuck Colson, the beloved founder of Prison Fellowship and a very dear personal friend … Continued

By now you’ve probably heard that Chuck Colson, the beloved founder of Prison Fellowship and a very dear personal friend of mine, is in critical condition and recovering from emergency surgery

It was just a week ago that Chuck was at a speaking engagement and suddenly fell ill. It turned out he had suffered a intracerebral hemorrhage and was rushed to the hospital.

I hope you’ll join me in asking the Lord to sustain and comfort this great lion of the faith.

View Photo Gallery: The Watergate scandal in pictures, from the break-in to the congressional investigation to President Richard M. Nixon’s resignation.

In recent days, in addition to praying for Chuck, I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to what he means to me, both personally and professionally. In many ways, he has been an answer to prayer. He’s been a mentor and a counselor, a confidant and a source of wisdom and perspective.

I thank God for him.

I also want to thank Chuck for his willingness to share so openly about his own faults and besetting sins of life. It takes a very humble and broken man to openly admit that it was his own pride and out-of-control ego that led to his downfall and being labeled a disgraced former member of the Nixon administration and convicted felon, at that.

When I first met Chuck, I was in my 30s and serving in a different role within Focus on the Family. Back then, we had very little interaction, but as the Lord began to entrust me with more responsibility, our paths crossed more often. Instead of just listening to him, I was now talking and visiting with him. Over the years, as I’ve shared my heart and even my insecurities, Chuck has given me his ear and a very special relationship has blossomed.

The mark of a great man, in my opinion, is found in his willingness to lift another one up, to set aside his own ego for the sake of that lesser person, to invest his time and energies in someone other than himself. An elder statesman of Chuck’s caliber is not threatened by anyone, especially youth. He’s actually energized by it.

One of the things that I’ve most admired about Chuck Colson is his heart for the lost and his willingness to engage with people who clearly believe differently than he does. At the same time, he’s also a man of solid conviction who will never compromise his principles. He has, in my estimation, so beautifully epitomized Jesus’ counsel regarding cultural engagement, to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16).

Chuck was recently talking about this philosophy of engagement, and I think he was responding to a remark that suggested Christians should be offended and fight fire with fire when ridiculed or lampooned by “the other side” for their beliefs. I’ll never forget what he said in response:

“If a blind man steps on your foot, would you be mad and hold it against him?”

Chuck has always been deft at putting circumstances in perspective. He is wise. He refuses to play the hype game and declare that the sky is falling and that all hope is lost pending the outcome of a particular election.


He takes the long view of life and rests in the assurance of his Christian faith.

“The greatest friend of truth is time,” he once said, adding that “her greatest enemy is prejudice, and her constant companion humility.”

Get well, Chuck, and we pray that we’ll see you up and running again soon!

Jim Daly is president of Focus on the Family.

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  • choralsociety

    Thank you, Jim Daly, for saying what so desperately needs to be said about Chuck in the aftermath of last Friday night.. As one of the few, perhaps only, persons still around from the very first days when Prison Fellowship was organized in a little office on Lee Highway, I cannot fathom this kind, gentle, and great man being laid low by such a devastating medical emergency. Part of me believes he will defy the odds and come through this as he has other serious medical problems. On the other side of the coin, if he cannot come back to a semblance of the Chuck I’ve known since 1974, then I pray the Lord to grant him rest eternal on another and distant shore. To paraphrase the Anglican prayer, “Support Chuck, Lord, all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and his work done; then Lord, in your mercy, give him safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last.”


    Colson is a traitor and you are a right-wing loon.


    I’m just mirroring christians – no class, no grace.

    I lived through Nixon’s presidency – Colson could vapor lock and die a million times and never make up for that. I hope he dies screaming.

    Another Republican who abused power to subvert democracy.

  • ezrasalias-socialize

    I am an atheist, and have been a regular breakpoint listener for the last few years. I do, on the odd occasion, agree with some of his commentary (except for the theistic part, of course). What I do find troubling is that this is a man who’s ego is still intact; he has transferred his ego and devoting it to a god. He is a certain about his belief, as he was in his ego and self-interest, which I believe is the same thing. Being that he was so well connected, he was able to start up his ministery once he got out of prison. To be honest, he is the old guard Christian who is waning in relevance to our modern society. He is out of touch when it comes to scientific discovery, to gays, to atheists, to the environment.

    Having said that, I hope he recovers and my thoughts are with his family

  • nkri401

    “I thank God for him.”

    Are you saying it was God’s will?

    Are you saying God had anything to do with Mr. Nixon?

    If Stalin repented, will you thank God for him?