A Baby vs. The World

A Christmas message came to my mind a few years ago as I stood shivering in the autumn chill at the side of a grave, the grave of Father Jerzy Popieluszko. Jerzy was a young pastor who once delivered the dynamic messages that stirred the Polish people to overthrow their Communist oppressors. His theme was always the same: The Christian is called to overcome evil with good. Father Jerzy was pale and gaunt, and his sermons were neither fiery nor eloquent. Yet his monthly masses, dedicated to the victims of Communist persecution, attracted tens of thousands of Polish people. He never preached revenge or revolution. He preached the power of good to overcome evil. It was a passion that dominated his own life as well. In 1980 martial law was declared in Poland. Tanks and troops clogged the streets until the entire country was one vast prison. Jerzy hated the occupation as much as his countrymen, but he fought it using God's weapons: overcoming evil with good. On Christmas Eve Jerzy slogged through the snow handing out Christmas cookies to soldiers in the streets. Even in his death, Jerzy was victorious. In 1984 he was kidnapped by the secret police. The nation was electrified. In churches across Poland, people gathered to pray. Steelworkers demanded his release, threatening a national strike. Fifty thousand people gathered to hear a tape of his final sermon. Then the blow fell: Jerzy's body had been found in the river. He had been brutally tortured, his eyes and tongue cut out, his bones smashed. Yet the gentle pastor had taught his people well. After his funeral, hundreds of thousands of Polish people marched through the streets of Warsaw right past secret police headquarters carrying banners that read, "We forgive." They were assaulting evil with good. And under the impact, the Communist regime soon crumbled. In 1993 I traveled to Poland for the chartering of Prison Fellowship Poland, held outside the very church where Jerzy had preached. His grave is in the courtyard there, and as I laid a wreath of flowers on the grave, I looked up at the balcony where the martyred pastor once preached his powerful message: "Overcome evil with good." Suddenly, I felt a stab of conviction as though the Holy Spirit were saying to me, "Pick up the baton. Make that your message, too." In that instant it was clear to me that the message Jerzy preached has always been God's strategy for overcoming evil. The supreme example is the Incarnation itself, which we celebrate tomorrow–when God Himself entered human history to overcome the evil of sin. America is not in the grip of a Communist regime as Poland was, yet Christians are battling a hostile secular culture. And we often wonder how we can fight more effectively. The answer is that God's people are to fight evil using God's strategy and weapons. When God wanted to defeat sin, His ultimate weapon was the sacrifice of His own Son. On Christmas Day two thousand years ago, the birth of a tiny baby in an obscure village in the Middle East was God's supreme triumph of good over evil.


Chuck Colson


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