A few years back the Country music world was raising Red Solo Cups and singing along with Toby Keith: “I love you red solo cup, I lift you up, Proceed to party, proceed to party.”
Over the course of my life I’ve had literally thousands of conversations with people over a variety of subjects ranging from sports, the bible, to what the best milk bones are to give to your dogs. One of the more interesting topics that I have ever discussed with people is the topic of Hell. What boggles the mind is how people think Hell will be better than Heaven. Many people picture Heaven will be a drag, boring, or a place for goody two shoes. The conversation usually ends with a statement like this, “Why would anyone want to go to a place like that?” Obviously they have heaven mixed up with some of the churches I’ve visited in my life time.
However, once they make it clear they could care less about going to heaven, they usually begin singing the praises of Hell. “I tell you what, when I die, I’d just as soon go to Hell and party with all my buddies.” Ahhhh! That’s when the light bulb went on for me – they think Hell is going to be a Red Solo Cup party.
There’s just one problem with that thinking – none of it is true. Here are some of the words used to describe Hell in the Bible: agony, banishment, brimstone, contempt, curse, darkness, deprivation, destruction, distress, fire, grinding your teeth, guilt, hopelessness, loneliness, pain, suffering, pressure, prison, punishment, ruin, separation, shame, smoke, torment, trouble, and weeping. Does that sound like a party to you? In addition to this description of Hell, it’s also important to point out what’s missing from Hell. In Hell there will be no music, no friendships, no love, no peace, and worst of all no presence of God.
What’s the Point?
Maybe the people who are looking forward to Red Solo Cups in Hell are taking their cue from us as believers! Is it possible that they don’t believe Hell is a terrible place because we as followers of Jesus don’t act like it’s a terrible place? If we believed Hell was terrible – then why aren’t we more committed to our faith? Why aren’t we more active in inviting our friends, neighbors, family members, and co-workers into a relationship with Jesus or at the very least to church?
Jesus tells the story of a rich man who went to hell. He made the following request upon arriving in Hell:
“And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father’s house—for I have five brothers—in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.” Luke 16:27-28
This man who found himself in Hell wanted to let his five brothers know – Don’t come to Hell – there aren’t any Red Solo Cups here! It’s time for us as followers of Jesus to start taking Hell serious – then maybe others around us will take it serious as well!