On Sunday morning, February 9, 1986, I drove over to the Rizal Theater located in the center of the business district of Makati, Metro Manila, Philippines, having been invited to preach to a congregation of about 900 members. The Lord laid it on my heart to preach on the text from 2 Corinthians 5:18-19, and call it the “Power of Reconciliation.” I had two reactions when the Holy Spirit urged me to preach on that subject. One: that it may appear that I was getting involved in the contested Presidential election that was going on, which I didn’t want to do. Or two: that since I didn’t understand how deep the feelings ran either for or against the incumbent President, it might make them feel that as an uninformed outsider I was trying to tell the people what to do.

But I took a deep breath and preached the message that God gave me. The service was great, the people responded with great enthusiasm, and a good number of people came forward to be born again. I left the Rizal Theater thanking God that He had used me to deliver His word and prayed that it would have a positive effect. But I wasn’t expecting what I was about to hear. As I crossed the parking lot to my car, I heard a voice calling, “Brother Bob! Brother Bob!” I turned around to see a young man and his wife hurrying toward me. I stopped to greet them, and then my heart began to beat fast as I heard the young man’s story.

He was a member of the Philippine Army and had just come down from the mountains in the south where they were fighting the Communist Party’s New People’s Army (NPA). With tears welling up in his eyes, he told me that just a few weeks ago his brother, also a soldier with the Philippine Rangers, had been killed by the NPA. But that wasn’t all; they shot him three times point blank, and then used their rifle butts to smash in his face until he was almost unrecognizable. As soon as he was told of his brother’s death and torture, he vowed in his heart to go back and revenge his brother’s killing no matter how long it took. He wanted to do the same thing to them they did to his brother.

That’s when he paused for a moment, then looking into my eyes he said with great emotion, “But since I heard what you had to say this morning and went forward to be born again and receive Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, I’ve made a new pledge. I want to go back to the mountains and find the NPA soldiers who killed my brother and tell them about Jesus and His love. Thank you, Brother Bob, for bringing your message of reconciliation.” After we hugged and shook hands they left. As I turned around to continue on to my car with my family, my heart burned inside me and I looked up and thanked the Lord for His guidance. I also made a vow on that day that I would never again doubt or hesitate to follow the Spirit’s leading, or ever underestimate the power of God’s Word.

About drbob76

Retired missionary, pastor, seminary professor, Board Certified Chaplain and American Cancer Society Hope Lodge Director.
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