We have seen the word “hell” used flippantly and jokingly. But the reason why we shouldn’t speak flippantly or joke about hell is because the biblical authors never do. The biblical authors are crystal clear about hell. It is a real place, where all unbelievers suffer consciously under the wrath of God as a just penalty for sin, and it never ends.
I like to joke around. I grew up with brothers, and we said and did all kinds of dumb stuff. For six years, I played organized football and heard enough locker room talk to last a lifetime. When I worked for a supplement retail company, there was always some type of goofing around going on in the back of the store when there wasn’t a customer in it. I enjoy being around godly people who can handle and give a joke.
But there are some things in life you should never joke about.
Jefferson Bethke has a book out called, To Hell with the Hustle: Reclaiming Your Life in an Overworked, Overspent, and Overconnected World. The description on Amazon says, “This is your wake-up call to resist the Hustle culture and embrace the slowness of Jesus.” The book advocates living life at a slower pace and not being incessantly busy. The word “Hell” in the title is used over and against a lifestyle of hustle, sort of like saying, “Get rid of it” or “Eliminate it forever.” It’s like saying send hustle to hell.
You may have heard Christians say sentences like these:
“That was a hell of a game.”
“Caffeine is a hell of a drug.”
“Get the hell out of here.”
In response to these sorts of sayings, David Platt keeps it blunt: “The way we talk about hell shows that we have no idea what we are talking about.”
In the examples above, the term “hell” is used flippantly. Along the same lines, however, the word hell is often not only used in a flippant manner by believers but also in a humorous way.