came and went…
Much to the satisfaction of some,
and the chagrin of others.
As a Christian, and someone who- despite my wishes- is being lumped in with everyone who claims the title of Christ follower (the good…and bad…and misguided), I can at times become frustrated with how people make our job as a Christian more difficult. By their actions, they make Christians out to be kooks, and frauds. They make the God follow look weak, irresponsible…or at best, a bit inconsistent.
The past couple days, though, I’ve begun to think about things differently.
My heart is being guided away from anger and towards compassion.
I believed that guys like Harold Camping, who caused the bankruptcy of many, and disillusionment of countless more, were following a God much different than mine (And it’s possible that they are). I became angry and judgmental towards him, and all those who spread this message.
And though I began with a desire to show the world how different I am than the “Camping Crazies”…I began to realize all the reasons why now, more than ever, it’s important to offer grace to Camping and his followers.
After all, until we see definitive proof otherwise, he is our brother.
(Note: Before I begin, I want to say that there are many negative consequences resulting from Camping’s predictions that cannot be- nor are they intended to be- overlooked. Countless people donated their life savings to Camping’s cause, mothers killed their children, families were broken…and these horrible stories continue. This post is not my disregard of what happened. My hope with this post is to look at where we go might go from May 22nd on into the future)
I can respect Harold Camping because of…
His complete disregard of public humiliation to preach the word of Christ: He did something that many Christians simply will not do; he put his entire reputation, and name on the line for his beliefs. Whether the be misguided or not, he showed a backbone that most Christians do not possess. He was not ashamed of Christ, and he did all he could to proclaim that message.
His impressive study habits: Camping is a man who spent his life studying the Scriptures. He “worked out” the details of Christ’s second coming, and though I don’t know a specific number of hours spent in the word- my guess is it is a pretty large number. Before we judge, we should crack the spine of the Bible and figure out why we disagree…and, most importantly, do this before stating that we disagree. It’s a fair guess that many Christians who are claiming the idiocy of Camping, couldn’t win a debate with him…
The chance he gave us to love those left hurting: Christ loved the broken and the poor. After this missed prediction, there are countless “broken and poor” laying in the aftermath of May 21st. Christians have a chance to be Christ to the people who’s lives are now left in ruins. We have a chance to live out generosity. We can offer our homes, food, clothes and…love. They have been let down in a serious, and possibly life-altering way. It’s up to each one of us to show them that Christ does love them, and that we still care for them. Their zeal is to be envied. The church could use a few people who followed Christ as devoutly as they did.
The chance to love and show compassion to our own: Let’s face it- Christians need a do-over. A few months ago, we were damning people in 300 characters or less, and burning a book not yet even printed. In the worlds eyes, we have little loyalty to our own…and whether we claim them or not, in eyes of many people, you, me and Camping are all the same. So how we act in response to Camping, and his followers, will show the world how we will act in response to them…and if we’re worth getting close to.
This is our moment. The world knows that Camping is wrong…and we all would be safe to bet that he will probably be wrong again. But, as Christians, let’s not dance on his grave, or on the grave of those who follow him.
Let’s love them and show the world that we take care of our own.