Chuck Colson

Cheng’s embrace of the truth also allowed her to envision that justice would eventually prevail, and that good could come out of this evil. In this, Cheng was fortified, of course, by her Christian faith. Alone among the world’s great religions, Christianity gives value and meaning to evil and suffering. British novelist Dorothy Sayers captured the essence of this. Christianity, she wrote “affirms . . . that perfection is attained through the active and positive effort to wrench a real good out of a real evil.” This is the essence of what Christians call redemption, and it underscores another truth: We have to understand the evil in ourselves before we can truly embrace the good in life.

In 1973, Cheng was finally released and later immigrated to America. I had the privilege of hosting a dinner that Prison Fellowship gave in her honor in 1987.

Cheng’s life perfectly illustrates the fact that the good life is not conferred by wealth or possessions. Just as important, it cannot be denied even in the midst of horrific adversity. In fact, as I discovered in my life, we often find true meaning and purpose in deprivation, when all the distractions of modern life are stripped away.

The good life, you see, is realized in our ability to hold fast to the truth—and the human dignity that rests upon it.

For further reading and information:

The Good Life: Seeking Purpose, Meaning, and Truth in Your Life by Charles Colson with Harold Fickett.

Nien Cheng, Life and Death in Shanghai (Penguin, 1988).

Nien Cheng, “China Devours Its Children,” National Review, 4 June 2004(first published on August 4, 1989).

Dorothy Sayers, Creed or Chaos? (Sophia Institute Press, 1999 reissue).

C. S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (HarperSanFrancisco, 2001 edition).

Charles Colson and Nancy Pearcey, The Problem of Evil (Tyndale, 1999).

Chuck Colson

Chuck Colson was the Chief Counsel for Richard Nixon and served time in prison for Watergate-related charges. In 1976, Colson founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, which, in collaboration with churches of all confessions and denominations, has become the world's largest outreach to prisoners, ex-prisoners, crime victims, and their families.
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