Heaven Isn’t a Place for Getting Even!

I’ve heard people say–and even authors write–many times, “When we get to heaven, we’ll see who’s right!” I think this is an abominable (and I don’t think I’ve ever used that word) attitude to have, for a number of reasons.

Dear friends, now we are God’s children. What we will be isn’t completely clear yet. We do know that when Christ appears we will be like him because we will see him as he is.
1 John 3:2 GW

In This Life
We know it’s true that “every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord.” Sadly, this includes those who have rejected Christ as Lord, but will see that he is Lord when he comes back to judge, and they will be separated from God for eternity. But this isn’t what I’m talking about. Seeing people going to hell isn’t something to gleefully say, “I told you so” about.

When it comes to debate about theological or other topics, you’re not as smart as you think you are. Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we should be comparing ourselves to God (Isaiah 55:8-9). If you have read the Psalms, notice how God is described; or read the oft-neglected Proverbs to see how to act. I confess this all the time–thinking I know more than I do. Silly.

Every day in a thousand ways I make myself the center of the universe.

–William Temple

If we’re constantly thinking this way, there may be a lack of love.

Don’t act out of selfish ambition or be conceited. Instead, humbly think of others as being better than yourselves.
Philippians 2:3 GW

This isn’t to say that we should never criticize those who arrogantly disobey Scripture, or disagree with other people, or tell them when we think they’re wrong (1 Timothy 3:16 etc.). This can be edifying and educational.

In Heaven
When people talk about their pet theological theories and have disagreements, they often think that when they are with Christ in glory (Colossians 3:4), they will at the same time seek out those who disagreed with them to tell them they were right. Or, it may be more friendly than that and two people or groups of people will try to see who was right about what.

Short Answer
You won’t care!

First of all, when we are in the presence of our indescribably magnificent God, seeing him face to face, do you think you are going to be seeking out others to see who was right about your pet theological ideas? Really? I would think this is enough to grieve the Spirit in this life.

Do you think you know so much that when you get to heaven, after seeing God, his angelic army, and his heavenly creation that you will be telling people how you were right about .0000000001% of things in the world? And what if you found out that the people that you disagreed with knew .000000001% more than you anyway? (That’s one less zero.)

When we are perfected, we will be happy. We will have an attitude of love. There won’t be spite, arrogance, or even earthly knowledge. It will all fall away compared to what there will be. We will be too busy praising God and enjoying the fellowship of the saints, worshipping in perfect spirit and truth.

After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands. They cried out in a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who is seated on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels stood around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, singing,

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”
Revelation 7:9-12 NRSV

Our knowledge is incomplete and our ability to speak what God has revealed is incomplete. But when what is complete comes, then what is incomplete will no longer be used. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, thought like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became an adult, I no longer used childish ways. Now we see a blurred image in a mirror. Then we will see very clearly. Now my knowledge is incomplete. Then I will have complete knowledge as God has complete knowledge of me. So these three things remain: faith, hope, and love. But the best one of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:9-13 GW

Full disclosure: While I have not ever had thoughts of seeing who’s right or wrong in heaven, God has been showing me how arrogant I am about how much I think I know, the mean thoughts I have and things I’ve done to people, and general lack of love. So while the post is scolding in manner, the same general sin applies to myself in many various ways.

2 Responses to “Heaven Isn’t a Place for Getting Even!”

  1. 1 pedro4jc

    Keep up the good work, Jeff.

  2. 2 Scripture Zealot

    Thank you, Peter.

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