When the Spotlight is Off

 Andersonville Prison served as a Confederate Prisoner-of-War camp during the American Civil War. 12, 913 of the approximately 45,000 Union prisoners died there because of starvation, malnutrition, diarrhea, disease, alleged abuse, and blunt execution from the guards.

Years after the war ended, during a trial in one of the courts, a lawyer was cross-examining a witness from whom he failed to draw any damaging confession, suddenly stopped the line of questioning which he had been using, and abruptly asked the man,

“Have you ever been in prison?”

The man replied, “Once.”

A gleam of satisfaction came into the face of the attorney who was cross-examining him, and was seeking to discredit his testimony. Confident now that he was about to do that, he said to the old man,

“When and where were you in prison?”

The old man lifted up his shoulders, drawing his faded blue coat across his heart, for he had been a soldier in the army, answered with almost a shout,


The courtroom erupted with cheers, and the case was dismissed. He had been in prison, yet maintained his character and dignity.1

Because of false accusations, Joseph was thrown into prison. In Genesis 41:38, we read, “And Pharaoh said to his servants, ‘Can we find such a one as this, a man in whom is the Spirit of God?’” It is said, “He had been stripped, and yet decorated. He was in prison, but in prison with honor.” 2

Plato was once falsely accused of dishonorable conduct. “Well,” he said, “we must live in such a way that all men will see that the charge is false.” 3

“Character is what you are willing to do when the spotlight has been turned off, when the applause has died down and no one is around to give you credit.”


© 2016 D & LK Publications



  1. Clarence Edward Macartney, Sermons on Old Testament Heroes, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, New York and Nashville, Copyright 1935, pp. 66, 67
  2. Ibid, p. 66
  3. William Barclay, The Letters to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon,
    Westminster John Knox Press, Louisville, KY, Copyright 1975, p. 98
  4. Ann Landers, Creators Syndicate, Reader’s Digest, December, 1998