I've noticed that joking about going to hell seems to be
a trend that has picked up popularity again.
 
When I was growing up, I would hear family members reply to the question of "where are you going?" with their giggly answer of
"to hell if I don't change my ways!"
 
Another one I used to hear was 
"why should I serve in Heaven when I can rule in hell?"  
Where in the world did they get the idea
they were gonna be RULING in that place of torment?!  
There will be no pleasure there....it's a place of punishment.
 
Now it seems to be a trend to joke about going to hell
and saving a spot for their best friends...
 
I. JUST. DON'T. GET IT!
 
Surely, if they knew the truth of the matter, they would never wish this upon anyone, let alone someone they care about.
 
Hell is a place of unending torment.
Why would we want our friends to be there even if we are there?  It's like telling someone that you wish for them the most painful, most terrifying of times.  To my ears it’s akin to hearing them say, “Hey!  I have so much fun with you…I hope that you and I get cancer and die a slow, painful death!  C’mon…it’ll be FUN!”  How ridiculous does that sound?!  Hell will not be a picnic or entertaining in any way.  It will be a thousand times more excruciating than any pain we could possibly face on this earth.
 
We should not be surprised, though, to hear such folly being tossed about.  Scripture is full of warnings against it...
and even contains the explanation of why.

"For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."  
1 Corinthians 1:18
 
"For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength."
1 Corinthians 1:25
 
As believers in the truth contained in the Word of God, we will face heartbreak when watching friends pursue evil paths.  We are not alone in this pain, nor are we alone in the rescue that God provides.
 
"For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell putting them into gloomy dungeons to be held for judgment: if he did not spare the ancient world when he brought the flood on its ungodly people, but protected Noah, a preacher of righteousness, and seven others; if he condemned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah by burning them to ashes, and made them an example of what is going to happen to the ungodly; and if he rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)—if this is so, then the Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of judgment, while continuing their punishment.  This is especially true of those who follow the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority. 
Bold and arrogant, these men are not afraid to slander celestial beings; yet even angels, although they are more powerful, do not bring slanderous accusations against such beings in the presence of the Lord.  But these men blaspheme in matters they do not understand.  They are like brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish.  Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight.  They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.  With eyes full of adultery, they never stop sinning; they seduce the unstable; they are experts in greed—an accursed brood!"
2 Peter 2:4-14 (italics mine)
 
"These men are springs without water and mists driven by a storm.  Blackest darkness is reserved for them.  For they mouth empty, boastful words and, by appealing to the lustful desires of sinful human nature, they entice people who are just escaping from those who live in error.  They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity—for a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.  If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning.  It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred commandment that was passed on to them.  Of them the proverbs are true:  'A dog returns to its vomit' and, 'A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud.'"
2 Peter 2:17-22 (italics mine)
 
My heart breaks to see my friends turn away from the One who loves them so dearly.  I get angry when I see them mocking Him...He that endured an excruciating and humiliating death to give us life.  
I pray that there will be hope for them yet...that they will realize their mistakes and have time to turn from them before it's too late.  
I pray that I will always choose to believe
and pray for the strength and courage to follow my Lord...
even when it is unpopular or even dangerous to do so.  
We have to continually examine our own hearts...
to be sure we are clean...that our motives are holy...
and so that we can recognize and root out
any weeds of sin in our own gardens. 
I don’t know about you…but I have much work to do in this respect.
 
We must hold on tight to our faith, no matter what storms batter our door.   
"Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."
Hebrews 11:1

"And without faith it is impossible to please God,
because anyone who comes to him must believe
that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."
Hebrews 1:6
 
It's so hard to keep silent when someone you care about is headed toward destruction...so there are times when we must speak up…but here are some things to keep in mind:
 
"Do not rebuke a mocker or he will hate you;
rebuke a wise man and he will love you."
Proverbs 9:8
"Do not speak to a fool, for he will scorn the wisdom of your words."
Proverbs 23:9
 
Sometimes...it's hard to tell which are wise and which are foolish until after you have tried to correct them. 
 
While we can pay attention and "know a tree by its fruit," we must be careful not to sit in the seat of judgment, for that is a heavy responsibility that has not been given to us.  Only God has the wisdom and knowledge to judge a person's heart.  We can be certain that He sees all, knows all, and understanding that, we must make ourselves ready to stand before Him when it’s our turn.
Dangerous Folly
completed & posted
22 Apr 08
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photograph by: Shirley/Oklahoma/Jan 2008
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