A good holiday weekend. The weather wasn’t horrifying, at least not in the part of the world where we are. A few fire works sounded off on Saturday and Sunday evenings. People enjoyed an extra day off. And the world did not end. The predicted “rapture” scheduled, according to Harold Camping and his followers to take place on Saturday, did not occur. Now he is saying that there was a spiritual return of Christ on Saturday and the more physical event will take place on October 21.
It strikes us as unbelievable that being proven so terribly wrong that the man wouldn’t just ‘fess’ up and admit it. And we can only pray that his followers will come to their senses and abandon the man and his teachings. But there will be those who will remain faithful and there will be those who will stick with him no matter what. And he will not fess up.
Matthew 24:23-27 (ESV)
Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you beforehand.  So, if they say to you, ‘Look, he is in the wilderness,’ do not go out. If they say, ‘Look, he is in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
None of us like to admit when we are wrong and one can only imagine what kind of responses went on in the heads of those who were convinced that Saturday was day last when they woke up Sunday morning. But the way this false prophet is reacting to his own failed prophecy is not that different from the way we all try to make excuses for ourselves when we are proven to be wrong.
We will say things like “What I really meant was …”, or “that wasn’t exactly what I said …” It is the rare human being who we hear say “I was wrong. I said it, did it, and I was wrong. I am sorry for any pain or suffering I may have caused.” This is rare and the sad thing is that it is rare even among Christians. We can wax eloquent about only God never being wrong and how we are unworthy creatures deserving of nothing more than judgement, but as soon as someone challenges us about something we have said or done we start defending ourselves and offering excuses for what we did. Christians we may be but we are the perfect descendants of our first parents. Adam blamed Eve and Eve blamed the snake.
We are going to be wrong. We are going to misinterpret sections of the Bible. We are going to believe things that are not so and will not happen. And when we are proven to be wrong we should just admit it, thank God that He showed us what was right and make the necessary changes. But far too often we want to defend our reputations, let others suffer for our mistakes or put the blame where it does not belong.
We will not make mistakes in the magnitude of the Doomsday sayers of last week. At least I hope we will not. But we will be wrong about things. As believers let us show that Jesus has saved us from dishonesty and self promotion and admit when we are wrong and change appropriately. There is a testimony in such behaviour that is powerful. Far more powerful than the ridicule those who now say that they missed the date by six months are justifiably receiving.
We laugh at the folly of Camping and his disciples. But let us not forget that while we will not likely make the same error we can respond to ours in the same way. Let’s show that we really are a saved, changed, repentant people. Let us pray “Forgive us our sins” with brutal honesty and rejoice that God’s grace in Christ does just that.