Why We Should Be Hopeful

The same week Ron confessed, Mrs. Washington felt an overwhelming conviction to forgive the man who had murdered her daughter.
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In the wake of the impeachment trial, we were assailed by friends incredulous at the tone of hopefulness in our January column. The polls showed 80 percent of Americans thought the President committed perjury and obstruction of justice (not to mention adultery)—and it didn't seem to matter. How can anyone believe there is enough moral fiber left for cultural renewal? What makes us believe Christians can turn things around in the next millennium?

Admittedly, the forces arrayed on the battlefield appear overwhelmingly against us. The cultural centers of power are firmly in the grip of secularists: from Washington to Hollywood, from the media to academia. Small wonder Christians often feel lonely and isolated.

But this assessment of the cultural battleground is misleading, for on our side of the lines is a power mightier than anything secularism can muster—the Spirit of him who brought Jesus Christ back from the dead. As we celebrate the Resurrection this month, let us remember that we wage a spiritual campaign with spiritual power.

I witnessed an example of this power recently when I visited Jester II, a wing of a Texas prison, run by Prison Fellowship. Prayers have replaced early-morning pushups, while group Bible studies have pre-empted evening MTV. The near-monastic atmosphere is especially surprising when you consider that most of the inmates who volunteer for the program are hard-core, repeat offenders.

I dropped in on a class on drug and alcohol prevention to hear one of the inmates say, "I've been in three therapy programs, and they don't work, because I'm back in prison." Then he added, "We're not interested in therapy. We're interested in transformation." The room resounded with amens. The inmates are so grateful ...

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Charles Colson
Charles Colson was the founder of Prison Fellowship Ministries, an outreach to convicts, victims of crime, and justice officers. Colson, who converted to Christianity before he was indicted on Watergate-related charges, became one of evangelicalism's most influential voices. His books included Born Again and How Now Shall We Live? A Christianity Today columnist since 1985, Colson died in 2012.
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