Upward Walk

July 23, 2008


Filed under: Christian,Forgiven,Worldview — Dave @ 3:19 pm
Tags: ,

I have recently been placed in the dilemma of desiring to remain focused upon having a ‘faithful walk’ and at the same time being brought into keen awareness of the damaging impact of many failures impacting others along my life’s journey. Looking back many years I can clearly see that I have been a factory that turns out the product of my fallen machinery (sin). This should not be a surprise to me, because when I first learned of a redemptive road available to me, crystal clarity was provided of my historic need. A friend once passed on a story to me of a person’s life (a true story that comes out of World War II) that to this day speaks abundantly of the wonder if being free of the load of past failure and sin….

There was a man named Stypulkowski who was a fighter in the Polish underground resistance movement from 1939 to 1944. Unfortunately, when thewar ended he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and was captured by the Russian army. He and fifteen other Poles were taken to Russia to stand trial before their war crimes court. Since some Western observers were at the trials, it was necessary to get full confessions from the men in order to convict them of their supposed treason against the state. Actually, they had helped defeat the enemy with their tactics. Now, they were accused of helping the Nazis.

Prior to the trial, the men were put under rigorous interrogation to break them mentally, emotionally and spiritually, to destroy their integrity so they would confess to anything demanded of them. Fifteen of the sixteen men broke under grueling pressure. Only Stypulkowski didn’t. And this in spite of the fact that for 69 out of 70 nights he was brutally questioned in a series of 141 interrogations. Not only did he endure them, but also at one point his interrogator broke and had to be replaced. Over and over again his tormentors relentlessly examined everything he had ever done, or hadn’t done- examined it for its fear and guilt content; his work, his marriage, family, children, his sex life, his church and community life even his concept of God.

This followed weeks of a starvation diet, sleepless nights, and calculated terror. Most insidious of all were the signed confessions of his best friends, all of who blamed him. His torturers told him his case was hopeless and as good as closed. They advised him to pleased guilty so they could lessen his sentence; otherwise it was certain death.

But Stypulkowski refused. He said he had not bee a traitor and could not confess to something, which was not true. He went on to plead not guilty at his trial; largely because of the foreign observers there, he was freed. Most impressive was the completely natural and unselfconscious way he witnessed to his Christian faith. He kept that faith alive by regular prayer, and every other loyalty was subordinated to his loyalty to Christ.

Oh, it was evident that he was not free from weakness – his accusers pointed them out to him time after time – but they never shattered him. The reason for his endurance was that he daily presented himself to God and to his accusers in absolute honesty. He knew he was accepted, loved of God, forgiven and cleansed. So whenever they accused him of some personal wrong, he freely admitted it, even, welcomed it. Again and again he humbly said, ‘I never felt it necessary to justify myself with excuses. When they showed me I was a coward, I already knew it. When they shook their finger at me with accusations of filthy, lewd feelings, I already knew that. When they showed me a reflection of myself with all my inadequacies, I said to them, ‘But gentlemen, I am much worse than that.’ For you see I had learned it was unnecessary for me to justify myself. One had already done that for me – Jesus Christ!'”

The lesson from this to me is that Stypulkowski was totally honest before God, which allowed him to be fully honest about his condition before men. When we realize that being “justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand” (Rom 5:1), we will find the courage to face the truth about our needs, and experience healing grace. A ‘faithful walk’ occurs as we stop looking at our own self and failures and have our vision full of the One that has justified fully!

…..Dave Lewis


1 Comment »

  1. Good conclusion!

    The older we get, the more we become aware of our own shortcomings— or the more ridiculously deluded, depending. Remember when Jesus said that “he who has not sinned” should throw the first stone? The older ones left first.

    It’s hard to fill my vision with Christ. I pray that will increase, too, as I get older.

    Comment by hrwilliams — July 23, 2008 @ 3:25 pm | Reply

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