Learning from Y2K: Part 2

Mary Naber
Part 1 of our series on Y2K explored the Christian evangelical worlds response over the past year (Click here to read Y2K: Was it worth it?), which provides a basis for the present-day lessons outlined in this Part 2. As Proverbs advises, may we always seek after wisdom.

The Y2K Bug has already been swept into the history books as an insignificant event. Youve read enough articles regarding minor glitches, the debate on over-preparation, and the humorous uses of mass quantities of rice.

Yet has anyone asked, What can we learn from the Y2K Bug?

Do Not Live In Fear
Many Christians were plagued with terrible bouts of paranoia as a result of Y2K. They grasped hold of exaggerated and falsified information before a clear assessment had been made. Many individuals entertaining this panic did damage to their relationship with God, their finances, and the Christian witness of peace and rational mind to the world.

Our community has a dangerous habit of constantly adopting a pessimistic worldview. We continue to see crisis at every corner -- from the national debt to Social Security issues -- even while living in the richest country in the history of civilization.

The Israelites clearly demonstrate our folly: Upon reaching the edge of the Promised Land, Moses sent twelve men to survey and explore its valleys and hills. They came back with glorious reports of milk and honey and choice fruits, yet ten of the men warned that the native peoples were too big to attack. They convinced the Israelites that the problem was too large to overcome, and they missed out on the kingdom. We are like grasshoppers in our own eyes, (Numbers 13:33).

When we allow crisis concerns to absorb our minds before weve even fully absorbed or identified the problem, we become like the Israelites were so emotionally overwhelmed that we forget about the nature of God and become so fearful that we deny His sovereignty.

Our God is a God of Peace, not of fear. Trust in our Fathers promise: Have no fear of sudden disaster... The Lord will be your confidence, (Proverbs 3:25-26).

Beware Of False Prophets
My girlfriends and I have identified an important rule regarding men -- despite claims of faith in Christ, we maintain our guard and boundaries. Only after sufficient time, demonstration of credibility, and other character evaluations do we begin to trust.

Just because someone says Christ! Christ! you must not check your brain at the door. Many Christians blindly followed experts who popped out of nowhere, peddling fear and $225 newsletters or a special one-year, four person [food] package for only $3395 plus shipping!
We must become more discerning.

Jesus warned, Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, I am he, and will deceive many, (Mark 13:5-6). I found it difficult to believe that many of the Lords followers would be deceived, until this very prophecy was displayed in many Christians reactions to Y2K.

Christian Leaders Are Not Infallible
Unfortunately, many inaccurate claims and concerns about Y2K were spread through popular Christian evangelical media channels.

First, we must be diligent in evaluating all information -- even if it is heard on the show of a well-respected Christian leader (and especially if the topic is not in his or her field of expertise). No great Christian leader will say that he or she doesnt err or is beyond reproach.

Second, we have an iimportant duty to keep those leaders who are representing our cause for Christ accountable to Truth. The Bible warns that the teachers will be judged more strictly than other sheep. Hence, we do them a favor if we raise valid questions in regards to their teachings, so that they can repent and redirect any individuals they may have led astray.*

Fortunately, in the last few months of 1999, Christian evangelical leaders were getting more complete information on the Y2K bug situation -- often from their listeners -- and were revising earlier statements.

Keep A Discerning and Rational Mind
The Israelites were ready to enter the Promised Land, but 10 of the 12 exploring men placed fear in them. Only two, Joshua and Caleb, encouraged their people to have faith in the promise of God. They spoke truthfully and rationally, The Lord is with us. Do not be afraid of them, (Numbers 14:9). But they were rejected and threatened with death and stoning.

Only a few individuals in the Christian evangelical community came forward with a more positive and balanced perspective on Y2K, in light of Gods enormous blessings and promises. I was saddened to learn that they too, received harsh responses to their message of hope.

In the 1999 book The Millennium Bug Debugged, author and Bible Answer Man, Hank Hanegraaff, acknowledged that he was not seeking popularity or political correctnessonly truth. He also noted that while Jesus warns against judging self-righteously (Matthew 7:1-5), we are still obligated to judge rightly (John 7:24).

This principle applies to prophets, Christian evangelical leaders, financial advisors, and even the teachings of world religions. If we dont make rational and discerning judgments about the claims we receive, if we get caught up in the panic and hoopla, we are likely to follow deceivers.

The Lord encourages us to inquire, probe, and investigate [claims] thoroughly, (Deuteronomy 13:14). Our First Commandment is to love and worship and serve the Lord with all of our minds.

Pray For a Discerning Mind and Spirit of Peace
I truly believe that if more individuals had been quiet before the presence of the Lord, He would have given them the blessed assurance that things were under His control. Unfortunately, like the Israelites, we largely ignored God and ran around convincing each other of sure destruction, and moved in that direction because of ill-informed financial decisions. As we move into the new year and all the unknown paths before us, may we memorize and meditate on the verse:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7)

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