“Cheer up, Harold Camping. Everyone is wrong sometimes. It’s not like it’s the end of the world or anything…”
Everyone has seen or heard jibes like that relating to the Rapture predictions of the radio pastor. Why not laugh? It’s an endless source of witty, snarky jokes. After all, no one really took Camping seriously anyway, right?
Wrong. Lots of people took him very seriously, some to the extent of selling their homes, quitting their jobs, liquidating their assets, and giving everything to the cause. At least three family men took this leap of faith. Every time I see photos of these people they look bruised, violated, bewildered and dismayed, as if they cannot understand. Newscasters have dismissed it as “their fault” and discussed their “gullibility.”
Yes, it is their fault. Yes, they were gullible. And now they're paying the price: not only in the shatters of their faith, but in the shatters of their lives.
It's so easy to laugh and take comfort that we'll never make the same mistake. But Jesus wouldn't have warned us against "false Christs" and "false prophets" if He hadn't thought that - just maybe - we might. Okay, so it'll take someone a little more convincing than Harold Camping to fool US. But that person, that prophecy is out there somewhere, for Jesus also said that even the elect would be in danger of deceit.
It's something to think about while we laugh.