I am about three fourths of the way through Charles W. Colson: A Life Redeemed by David Aitken. A wonderful biography!
Colson worked as special counsel to President Richard Nixon.
"…Within three years, Colson became second only to Nixon himself as the object of media notoriety and political hatred. He was vilified as one of the most wicked architects of Watergate and loathed for his overbearing style of political ruthlessness. His reputation, as much as his actions, led to his indictment in 1973 on Watergate-related criminal charges. After entering a plea of guilty, he was imprisoned, disgraced, demoralized, and finished." (p. 10)
Who would have known that three decades later, he would be one of the most influential evangelical leaders in the world.
The book is candid. Candid about who Colson was and who he is. I was struck in particular by his repentance. Colson did not change overnight but over a long period of time. I read yesterday these lines regarding Colson’s repentance.
"These agonizings and surrender to God that came at the end of them marked an important turning point in Colson’s spiritual journey. Until this time he had never thought of himself as a bad person. Although in the arena of politics he had done many a dirty trick playing hardball against opponents, in his self-justifying eyes these games seemed no worse than those played by the Democrats. So by his own standards Colson regarded himself as a good person. He thought God would agree and would eventually give him A grades, in the manner of a celestial college professor at the end of the life examination class. These certainties crumbled to dust as Colson’s spiritual conscience convicted him of sin. As he went through many dark nights of the soul, his conviction took him on a downward spiral into an abyss of shame and remorse." (p. 238)
Don’t these rationalizations sound familiar? At least they sound familar to me, as I hear echos of my thoughts.
Anyway, I feel blessed by being able to peak into Colson’s life for the past few weeks.