A few years ago I had a dream. It was peculiar to say the least. I was on a train. I have only been on a train once in real life back in Peru. My dream started on this train. I had no real idea how I got on this train, but I knew the destination of the train was somehow important. I ended up having a conversation with the conductor of the train. I will spare you readers the details of the conversation, but at the end I realized in this dream that I had died, and that this train was taking me to my destination after death. Basically, I was taking a train ride to heaven.
Somehow that did not strike me as strange. It was what I saw in the train that surprised me. I saw other people. People I knew and met throughout my life. Ironically none of them were my close friends or family. It was various people that I had never gotten along with or treated poorly. At first I felt extremely awkward in this train. The hostility I expected to have shown at me and show back to these various people made me sick to my stomach. The result was far different. All the issues were in the past. We met each other with smiles and hugs. People who probably would have been considered my enemy at one point or another were happy to see me. In the midst of it all we couldn’t help, but wonder why we wasted so much time hating and disagreeing with each other on earth.
“I realize I may be with that person in heaven one day, but I really don’t like them right now.” It’s a common statement. Most of us have probably heard something like it. Most of us have probably said something like it ourselves. It also happens to drive me absolutely nuts.
We can just be nasty to others sometimes. Sometimes we show hate and anger towards another believer because of some argument. Sometimes we just don’t like the person for some silly and pointless reason. People can get under our skin, and we express that we hate being around them. We just make things difficult.
Sometimes it is over a different view whether it is politically or theologically. We can do a great job at showing hate to others due to minor differences on views. “I realize some people who believe like this may be in heaven, but the differences are just too big for now.” This saddens me because I have had attitudes like this before, and it never really got me anywhere. In the end I just wasted a bunch of time, and left a pretty crummy testimony behind me.
Why are we waiting until heaven to get alone, and show kindness, compassion, and partnership? I have had to work with some really difficulty people in ministry ever since being in High School. There were some that I just couldn’t stand being around let alone make a difference in other people’s lives for God. I wasted a lot of time and energy on my hate and pride towards fellow Christians.
Yes, sometimes it is not hate and just simple pride. We think of ourselves better than others in our faith. We have a superior purity in our resolve, we study Scripture more than others, we abstain from worldly things more than that other person. We take our “righteousness” and “sanctification” and use it to become proud.
Here is the thing. I realize that my dream was just a dream, but it really got me thinking ever since then. How much time will I feel like I wasted looking down and being angry at others? How foolish am I going to feel when I am on that train for real? The dream came up after I just could not get along with some other believers. I found myself hating them for their personality, some for their different views, and I let their flaws and sins dictate my behavior towards them.
I’m not saying I get along with everyone or that I even agree with everyone, but should that really keep me from working with them all the same to advance the kingdom of God? I still wrestle with this issue in my mind. I think Christ’s church would be a lot better off if we all wrestled with it a little more.