Dr. Hormoz Shariat was a year or two into his walk with the Lord when he heard that his younger brother was arrested in Iran on a minor political charge. Little did Hormoz know that God was going to change his life through the death of his brother. Hormoz went from wanting revenge, to evangelizing to the very people that killed his brother.
Hormoz’s Brother Murdered in Iran
“They told my mom, ‘Oh he’s been fine. We’re going to let him go.’ When I heard that my brother was arrested, I started praying for him. I was praying, ‘God my brother doesn’t know you. Please let him hear your message. Save him! Let him at least hear the Gospel.’ They kept him in prison for two years. Then they called my mom and said, ‘Come and get his body. We just shot him.’”
Struggling with Thoughts of Revenge
When Hormoz heard that his brother was murdered, he went through a crisis. He spent two days in his room crying. Hormoz told God, ‘I prayed that you would save my brother. I begged you to save my brother and you didn’t!’
“I asked God, ‘What is my role in this? By the way, God, there is so much injustice and cruelty in this world. What should I do about it? I know that you are love, but what is my role in this?… I want to kill the people who killed my brother.’ Then I remembered how God says in the Bible, “revenge is mine alone to avenge” (Romans 12:19). When I realized that my thinking was wrong, I repented for thinking like that.
Then I went on to say, ‘God, I hate them!’ Then He stopped me with the realization that if I hate someone, it’s murder in His eyes. So, I apologized and repented for those thoughts. Then I told Him, ‘God I’m angry.’ I thought I wasn’t even allowed to be angry towards the people who killed my brother. God reminded me that if I was angry at someone, then I’ve killed them in my heart. I also asked God, ‘Can’t I just curse at them so I will feel better?’ Then I remembered that you can’t even cuss at someone because you worship with your mouth. You can’t curse with your mouth and worship at the same time.”
God’s Revelation: Witness to Muslims
Hormoz dealt with a lot of frustration in his faith walk after the murder of his brother. After mourning his loss, he felt God speak to him saying, “Those who killed your brother, they are not your enemies. You’re supposed to love them. They are the victims of the one enemy of me, Satan.” After revealing to Hormoz that the only enemy he really had was Satan, Hormoz asked God how he could oppose Satan. God told him the best way to oppose Satan was to evangelize.
Hormoz explained, “When one person comes to Christ, there is rejoicing in Heaven. There is probably mourning in Hell because Satan and his angels are sad because they are losing people to the Gospel of Jesus.”
Hormoz dedicated himself to witnessing to Muslims and loving them. He shared the Gospel with them with love. He also asked God if He would use his life to bring one million Muslims to Christ.
“If I want to go, let’s go big. I was praying and didn’t know how it could happen, but God knew. There was no satellite TVs at that time, and hardly any of the technology that we have today. I just asked that God would use my life. He has been faithful and has helped me to reach out to millions of Muslims. My prayer is that one million of them will come to know Christ.”
God Saving People in Iran
Hormoz firmly believes that Iran will be the first Islamic nation that turns to Christ.
“The openness of Muslims to Christ is supernatural. Iran will be a Christian nation eventually. What that means is that people will know who God is in Iran. They will worship and obey Him in every way. That’s the future of Iran according to Jeremiah 39:48, “I will set my throne in Elam….” Before 1979, Iranian Muslims were not open to accepting Christianity at all… If people talked to missionaries, they would say nobody was open to hearing God’s message. At that time among Muslims, only one out of 100 people would accept the Bible… Now, the majority of people in Iran aren’t Muslims, they’re Christians…”
Hormoz feels it’s our duty as Christians to not fail Iran. He believes that it’s our duty to share the Gospel with Iranians.
Hormoz explains, “When we share the beautiful message of the Gospel it becomes a number one choice. We have to put it on the table and let them look at it. Once we present it, no religion, not Islam or anything else can compete with the message of the Gospel…”
History in The Making
Hormoz wants to encourage everybody that we are witnessing history in the making. According to him, Iran is ready. Hormoz invites everyone to come together to make history and help more Iranians know Christ. Hormoz believes that Iran can be a Christian nation in one generation.
“We have to do our part. It looks like Jesus is running a special for Muslims these days. He gives His peace to them, heals them, and does miracles in their lives. Jesus is doing His part. So, we have to do our part and be His hands and feet. Jesus turns to us Christians in the west and says, ‘I love Muslims so much I died for them. Would you love them? Don’t hate them. Don’t be afraid of them…’”
Some supernatural miracles that have happened in the last few years including the fact that people aren’t afraid of the government in Iran, or afraid of Islam anymore.
Persecuted For Christ
There was a young man who was calling Hormoz’s ministry hotline every day, begging to talk to Hormoz personally. Hormoz found out the man came to Christ through their TV show when he was 19. He got arrested at age 22. He was tortured in prison and needed medical attention. He’s been in prison for five years. They released him from jail for one week to receive treatment. He wanted to talk to Hormoz before he went back to jail.
“I picked up the phone and a soft, sweet voice said, ‘Pastor Hormoz, I insisted to call you because I want to encourage you to continue doing what you’re doing. Don’t give up. People are getting saved. I was saved. We are doing the right thing.’ I asked him about his torture. His response was, ‘do you remember Psalm 23 where it says. “I will set a table for my enemies”? How can you experience that verse if your enemies are not there? When I was in the torture chamber, in front of my enemies, His presence was so strong. Even if I am in a torture chamber, Jesus is there for me.’”
Hormoz couldn’t believe that this man had been tortured for five years and yet the man took the time to encourage him. Hormoz was touched by the man’s attitude. The fact that the man was able to spread the Gospel to others in jail speaks testimony to the greatness of God.
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