Manly Character Matters: A Son Remembers His Fallen Father’s Purity

I just read one of the most encouraging commendations of a father’s character I’ve ever encountered. Grant Castleberry, Associate Editor of the CBMW Men’s Blog, Manual, shared this in a poignant post on his father’s legacy. Captain Charles Castleberry died nearly three decades ago. He was a fighter pilot. Though Grant was left without a father, testimony of his dad’s character has endured.

Please read the following and be deeply stirred to live life as a man and a person of character (actual picture referenced below is to the left):

My Father’s Purity: One night my dad’s squadron took a “mandatory” trip to a beach house somewhere along the Atlantic Coast. No wives or children were allowed to come. This was a special night in which many of the young pilots would receive their “call-signs.” Shortly after my father arrived at the beach house, he realized why family members were not invited. Someone had invited strippers as entertainment for the evening. Later that night, when he confided this event to my mom, she asked him how he responded. He said that he had stayed in the corner of the beach house with his hand over his eyes. A few months after my father’s crash, a pilot in the squadron gave my mom a picture that someone had taken inside the beach house that night. He told my mom that deep down “everyone respected Kelly for it, but no one had the guts to follow him.”

Sure enough, in the background was my father with his hand covering his eyes. As a young boy, my mom showed me that picture and explained to me the integrity and courage my dad had displayed in that moment. She then explained the necessity of walking a path of purity in my own life. My mom framed the picture and put it in my room for me as a constant reminder to always walk in purity. The legacy of purity my father left for me has made a huge difference in my life. Many of my heroes growing up (Jesus, Joseph, my dad), faced incredible temptation and realized in that moment that those temptations “had no lasting city,” but they sought “the city that is to come” (Heb. 13:14). In high school, college, and the Marine Corps, I had numerous temptations to compromise, but God used the legacy of my dad and other biblical heroes, through the Holy Spirit, to help me withstand temptation.

Read the whole piece. I am glad that Grant has shared this with us, and I’m personally motivated to push further and embrace the power of the Spirit in overcoming lust and temptation. The world presses in, and our sin encourages us to indulge our evil instincts. The gospel speaks a better word. What a beautiful testimony Grant has offered to the enduring power of virtue and character, the world-defying grandeur of fatherhood that kills sin.

Nearly thirty years later, a father still speaks to his son through that photo, still teaches, still urges on.


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