Salvation and Leadership
By Pierre Bitar
The civil war started in 1975 in Lebanon. As Lebanese, we were in very difficult situations during that time as several parties were fighting against each other and many were killed every day. As a young man I had lots of questions. Why would God allow for such a war like this? I was hopeless, miserable and blaming God. Why didn’t He change the situation in Lebanon? The war left me with a strong sense of emptiness in my heart. I tried to fill it with the pleasures of the world, but nothing could fill my need. In April 1991, the Son of hope shined on my life after years of living in darkness. At that time I realized God’s love for me, the love that saved me from my sin.
The Scripture teaches us that the history of the human race is a history of man in rebellion/disobedience against God and separated from His presence, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The only solution for humankind to recover the relationship with God was for God to send His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross and pay the penalty for our sins. Through the work of Jesus on the cross, and His love, salvation became available for the human race, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It was a turning point in history when God restored the relationship between man and Himself through His love on the cross.
God loves us and wants us to share His love and the Good News to others. For example, if someone is sick for many years with a horrible disease and suddenly he discovers that there is a medicine to heal him completely from that disease, he won’t hesitate to buy the medicine and take it. Also, he will share the medicine with anyone who has the same disease so they can be healed. Therefore, everyone who experiences salvation ought to share God’s love to others. During the civil war in Lebanon, I observed the fight spreading all over Beirut. Many were killed every day and dozens of injured were scattered everywhere. There was a lack of food for many days and months and people could barely find food to eat. Doctors and nurses were a hope at that time for the injured to receive healing. The United Nation played a big role to rescue people from danger and eliminate the death on a daily basis as well as providing food for the hungry. During the hopeless, miserable time that the country was passing through, I experienced Christ’s salvation that turned my life around and gave me passion to help those who need to be rescued. God always stretches His hand to His people and He considers us as partners with Him to carry out the Gospel of Salvation to our communities. “After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go” (Luke 10:1). God wants to visit people in every place in this world. He can do this by Himself, without you and me; but out of His love, He shares His work with us, as ambassadors on His behalf, to preach the Gospel. In the same chapter, the disciples came back with joy saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name” (Luke 10: 17).
As the world is flooding into our city on a weekly basis from the Middle East, we ought to stretch out the hand of God to those people around us and proclaim salvation to them. As a church pastor, I am sharing in ministry to the refugees with some American friends to proclaim love to the Arabs that are coming to resettle in the Dallas area. Also, I hope to help those friends to become aware of the needs of the refugees. From this stand point, I also model the idea that we are from different countries and are brothers in Christ. We share the same heart for ministry to help these families overcome the trauma that they are experiencing as new residents in a western country. My plan for the coming weeks is to relieve some families by taking them on a tour in Dallas and having a refreshing time together. I will be available to them as a brother and father and carry with them their pain and needs as new residents.
At one time I was frustrated and hopeless, but God’s salvation was presented to me through people who led me to experience Christ as Savior. Feeding the sheep and preaching the Word of God through the Holy Spirit produces Salvation and relief.