Why do people use that saying? I confess I've said it and of course, I have heard it dozens upon dozens of times that someting is 'funny as hell.' I have never stopped and really given thought to that saying though...until today in my Eschatology (study of the end times) class.
In fact, we have a number of sayings in our language and culture we use with the motif of 'hell' in them. For example:
- "When hell freezes over..."
- "People in hell want ice water..."
- "Go to hell..."
- "That's one hell of a..."
- And many more
My prof began the class by playing an array of popular songs about hell. Many of the songs were not somber, sad songs, but upbeat. What irony! The common theme in each song depicted an attitude of mocking hell and death. We as humans tend to mock that which we are afraid of. It keeps us from having to face reality, face our fears, face our God.
The reality is, hell is not very funny at all.
I wish it weren't so, but hell is real. Hell is a place reserved for the wicked, a place where there will be 'weeping and gnashing of teeth,' the Bible describes. "Should we not already begin to weep at the very prospect?" says theologian John R.W. Stott. People you and I know may be seperated from God in hell if they do not repent and confess Christ as Savior. So, why do we mock it? Why do we laugh? As my prof said this morning, "I believe hell is going to be a hell of a lot worse than we can ever imagine." (No pun intended)
As a Christian, I should not perpetuate the mocking the world does at the thought of hell. To do so is to buy into the notion that, 'hell doesn't exist, therefore, let's poke fun at it.' I believe God's heart does ache at the thought of the evil and wickedness of men's hearts who will not repent and come unto Him. If our hearts are to be aligned with the Lord's, then our hearts should be burdened for those who will spend an eternity in hell too.
I can hear you saying, "But, what about Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Adolf Hitler? Don't they deserve hell?"
My answer is yes, they do deserve hell. But so do I, and so do you. God does not seperate, as we humans do, degrees of sin. Sin is sin...unrighteousness is unrighteousness. Romans 3:23 says all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Thank God for His saving grace through Jesus that saves us not only from eternal hell, but hell on earth! (Although we will suffer in this world, having Christ see us through our suffering is our hope)
Every once in a while, we Christians should give ourselves the opportunity to feel the realness of hell...it is no laughing matter.
"I long that we could in some small way stand in the tearful tradition of Jeremiah, Jesus and Paul. I want to see more tears among us [Christians]. I think we need to repent of our nonchalance, our hard-heartedness." John R.W. Stott