A Horizons team went out on a Friday to a Christian area of Beirut where there are tons of refugees living in abandon buildings or working as janitors or on construction sites, while getting paid next to nothing. One of our staff was handing out Bibles and finding great success with the refugees, most of which are Sunni Muslims. They were very receptive to the conversations and taking the bibles with excitement. Then a Christian man who was walking by, saw what we were doing, and began to get very angry. He looked furious at our staff member and then ripped the bibles out of the hands of the muslim men who had just received them with joy. Then he started yelling at our staff and said,
“This is forbidden! Muslims don’t deserve Jesus or the Bible!”
Then he stormed off in a rage. Our staff member was left deeply saddened by this event. How could a Christian man be so cruel?
I thought about Jesus sharing the story of the Parable of the Sower. There was the seed that fell on the path but was eaten up by birds, then the seed that fell on the rocks and had no place to grow, then the seed that was choked by thorns, and finally the seed that fell on the good soil (Matt. 13).
When I heard the story about the man taking the Bibles, I was reminded of the seed that fell on the path but was eaten by the birds. This man was like a bird, coming and steeling the good seed from these potential believers.
In Lebanon, religion is different than it is in the United States. You are born into a religion and it is on your identification card. Religion is not something that you are expected to chose for yourself and certainly not something to be changed. Although there are many people registered as Christian in Lebanon, for many people it is more of an identity than a faith with transformative power.
So although we were saddened by this unfortunate occurrence, we were very encouraged by the day of evangelism and the amount of people wanting Bibles and desiring to hear about Jesus.