Preparing for Heaven

Building the Eternal Phase of Your Life

Forbid Mistreatment of One Another

by Dick Wulf | Course Three

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It only makes sense that our God who tells us to love one another would not want anyone in His family to be mistreated. There are many ways Christians can hurt one another and none of them glorifies God.

While we cannot absolutely forbid Christians mistreating one another, we can take this desire of our God seriously and prevent some mistreatment or keep ongoing mistreatment from continuing. We can sometimes anticipate hurt in our closest relationships and try to stop it before it starts. And we can try to stop mistreatment already under way. When we see it happening in our Christian Inner Circles where we have influence, we should be able to stop it.

The various Bible instructions to forbid mistreatment of one another can usually be followed adequately only together with others in our Christian Inner Circles. This is where others have a stake in the right treatment of everybody. This is where bonds of love should be strong enough to correct wrongs.

In heaven no one will be mistreated, no one without the basic necessities of life, no one unfairly slandered, or any of the thousand others ways people are now mistreated. So, how will watching now to see that other Christians are not mistreated affect life in heaven?

Forbidding one another from being mistreated develops our spirits to have greater capacity to care about other people. To not just shake our heads in sadness or disgust, but to intervene in some way to stop mistreatment requires more than average love. It means sticking our neck out for others and risking getting hurt ourselves.

Even though there will be no mistreatment in heaven, there will be continual opportunities for caring about the other citizens of heaven. Even now, friends and family members care about one another in many ways unrelated to evil. In heaven, as before death, caring deeply for others should become high priority.

1 Peter 1:22 is a critical instruction for us. “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”
This instruction from the Bible is for life now and even more so for life in heaven where love will be the uninterrupted way of life. Therefore, we should want to go to heaven with as great a head start in heart- love as possible. Love from the heart erupts from our spirits. So, anything that can develop our spirits toward sincere love expressed in caring that requires unusual effort is quite valuable. Forbidding mistreatment is powerful for building stronger love in our spirits.

Think of a Christian who has advocated for a student on probation in a school system unresponsive to her needs. Standing up against such mistreatment, and any number of other examples, will cause that believer’s spirit to grow in the ability to care more than just average caring.

Continual intentional and sacrificial love like this will be needed in the wonderful society of God’s heaven, just not for mistreatment – as there will be none. Others throughout eternity will benefit from caring in the form of encouragement, interest, affirmation, and other forms of loving nurture. We should want our spirits to grow in godly caring. Forbidding mistreatment will contribute to this spiritual growth.

Caring is something that can grow in heaven, but nothing like it can grow now with sin as its opponent. Let’s get ourselves ready to enter heaven with strong ability to care about what goes on in the eternal lives of others. Let’s search out opportunities to forbid mistreatment.
Imagine going to heaven with a greater capacity to care about the heavenly experiences of others. All of us will feel relief from the tendency to focus on ourselves.

Many who had few friends because they were so much more concerned about their own things will be set free by entering through heaven’s gates. While they will no longer be so concerned about their own goals or their own discomfort, they will still be unpracticed in observing with deeper caring what is going on in the lives of others. They will begin growing in that area little by little. Yet, it is sad that back in the world of sin they did not carefully watch out for others, especially that they not be mistreated. Their spirits could have grown exponentially into the likeness of Jesus in the ability to care deeply with sincere love.

There are those who enter a new job and are so concerned about themselves that they do not know how to reach out to others. Then there are those who have escaped self-protective habits and right away show interest in others in their new workplace. When we enter heaven, each of us will be somewhere along this spectrum.

Forbidding mistreatment pushes us to care more deeply and observe more carefully what is happening in the lives of others. Because it is uncomfortable and somewhat painful to take notice of mistreatment of those we care about, our spirits will get stronger by resisting the temptation to look the other way. Individually, we might not win this contest with sin. But because we are to live faith together, we can stand against people who are mistreating others as “two or three with Jesus”.

Imagine in heaven, with its thousands of opportunities in relationships and activities, the elation of caring what wonderful things happen in the lives of those we live near or meet in worship or on adventures. As colors will undoubtedly be more vibrant without the smog of sin that dulls them now, so caring will be bursting with exhilarating joy.

Forbidding mistreatment in God’s flock will be appreciated by God now and in heaven. How that gratitude will be shown is unknown, but creative recognition will be shown by our God.
If we had a child who was continually picked on at school and a classroom friend came into his or her life and put a stop to it, how might we show our appreciation? For starters, we would praise that child for stopping the mistreatment. Perhaps at Christmas we would give a gift to that child.

It might be that Jesus will give special gifts in heaven to those who forbade mistreatment of His sheep. Let’s desire in heaven for eternity whatever special recognition and closeness God will bless us with if we forbid mistreatment of one another now,. Let’s make more effort to watch over one another and see that none of us are mistreated either by harmful words and actions or by being sheep not tended with the Togethers that bring growth in our spirits.

Another possible enhancement of life in heaven should be mentioned. Those who worked hard to stop mistreatment of others will feel tremendous relief that in heaven such difficult effort is not needed. A portion of joy will be added to that believer’s eternal life in heaven.

The various Bible instructions to forbid mistreatment of one another can usually be followed adequately only in Christian Inner Circles where the Togethers can be applied. This is where others have a stake in the right treatment of everybody. This is where bonds of love should be strong enough to correct wrongdoing.

Christian friendship groups, Christian families and Christian marriages are responsible to God to see that no one is the victim of power plays. Those who witness oppressive behavior must act to forbid such mistreatment.

If a husband or wife is so harsh as to frighten the spouse into submission, those in the Christian Inner Circle of the offender need to forbid such mistreatment. Mistreatment of children through excessive and frightening loudness and threats also need to be stopped because usually the other parent is too overpowered. So it is a job for the Christian friends of the harsh spouse or scary parents. The method of forbidding mistreatment is the application of applicable Togethers.

Accusing people without checking out the truth of suspicions is forbidden by God, and we are to forbid this also. Falsely accusing people is serious mistreatment. We have most likely seen it happen and witnessed the destruction that follows. When someone passes some indictment along to us, we should immediately ask if he or she or someone above reproach has checked it out. We might also ask why we were given the information. Is it for corrective or precautionary reasons or is it irresponsible gossip that makes it mistreatment?

Ultimately, the greatest mistreatment of one another is to withhold love. Since Jesus commanded love for one another as He loved His disciples, as recorded in John 14:21, not implementing the Togethers which define the love Jesus had for His closest friends is horrible mistreatment. The Togethers, representing hundreds of Bible instructions on loving one another and helping one another’s spirits grow, need to be more than studied. They need to become lifestyle in our Christian Inner Circles. Anything less is mistreatment of one another, which we are to forbid.

It is far easier to think of mistreatment of one another as insulting each other, taking advantage of one another’s generosity, and the like. These we can avoid with only a little effort. Important as they are, we need to begin realizing that it is great mistreatment to ignore our main purpose for being together – which is to love one another and help one another conform our spirits to that of Jesus.