One local church was concerned that Camping's followers could slip into a deep depression come Sunday. Pastor Jacob Denys of Milpitas-based Calvary Bible Church planned to wait outside the nonprofit's headquarters on Saturday afternoon, hoping to counsel believers who may be disillusioned if the Rapture does not occur. "The cold, hard reality is going to hit them that they did this, and it was false and they basically emptied out everything to follow a false teacher," he said. "We're not all about doom and gloom. Our message is a message of salvation and of hope."
I found this little story in the middle of a longer story on FOXnews.com about the "end of the world" craziness that's been happening this week. The article interviewed Camping's followers, and the skeptics, and presented the harsh arguments that both sides were giving. But this one paragraph struck me; instead of trying to find proof and arguing obnoxiously about how false the predition was, this pastor saw Camping's followers as lost sheep following the wrong person and felt sorry for them. He had plans for Sunday...to comfort and counsel Camping's followers, not by arguing with facts but by presenting to them a message of salvation and hope.
This was the first time I heard this perspective. Everyone on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else is quoting Matt. 24:36 and talking about how wrong Camping and his followers are. Never did it occur to me that there's a third option we can choose, not the side of Camping or the skeptics, but of those who see these people as lost and hurt for them and want to love them and pray for them instead of judge them.
Why didn't it occur to me? How could I have been so blind to not see that loving these people could be the only thing that brings peace? In chapel I sing over and over, "Show me how to love like You have loved me," but I didn't think to love these people like God loves me. How did I fail so easily? How could I condemn these people as crazy when I turn around and act like such a hypocrite?
I need God's grace every single day. So does Harold Camping, and his followers. So do all the skeptics. Everyone needs His love so desperately. And that is the message I want to live out in my life, not arguing and condemning, but loving even those who would be called crazy. "Show me how to love like You have loved me." Yes, that is my prayer, and I pray it even more earnestly than before.