By Scot Thigpen
Shut the Hell Up
Shut the hell up! Yes, I am talking to you. And I would say it to your face if we were together. But before you clench your fist to fight, would you hear me out first? I’m directing these comments to followers of Christ who are participants in His Kingdom building work here—in other words, faithful followers who trust and obey Jesus.
There is too much hell around us and it feels like it is coming from all sides at times. At the risk of being Captain Obvious, just think about it. What messages are communicated via Hollywood, television, and radio these days? What about social media? What’s coming out of those conversations and posts? Civil discourse has deteriorated into dehumanizing rants. I see and hear a lot of hell around us and wish it could be shut off. It can and each of us as Kingdom participants should contribute to exterminating it.
In Philippians 4:8, Paul writes to the church and says, “Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Now wouldn’t that be a great way to live life? What if the people of God were so filled with the fruits of the Spirit, that they poured out those heavenly characteristics on a daily basis? I think it would shut some of the hell up that surrounds us.
My personal study Bible states that one of the main purposes Paul wrote the letter was to call the church to unity on the basis of the humility and servanthood of Jesus Christ. Maybe that is a message the church needs to be reminded of today. So what is each believer to do in order to do our part to shut all this hell up? I think Paul gives at least four pieces of advice that can be followed.
Early in his letter, Paul prays, “…that your love may abound more and more…filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ.” Do you want to help shut the hell up that is blaring from everywhere? Then let your love abound more and more and see if that doesn’t help shut the hell up. I wonder if the world needs your love more than it needs your opinion.
Secondly, he says, “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” He gives simple ideas such as to value others above self. I wonder how much hell is unleashed as a person looks at his or her own interests and opinions rather than taking on the very nature of a servant as Christ did. Want to help shut the hell of broken marriages and relationships up? Let your conduct “be poured out like a sacrificial drink offering.”
The third lesson is the secret of contentment Paul finds in any and every circumstance. Go back to the list and see how difficult it is to match them with somebody who is not content. Discontent people generally don’t do what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable.
Lastly, Paul writes that believers need to “let their gentleness be evident to all.” When somebody unfurls their hellish words or actions at you, respond in gentleness and see if it doesn’t shut the hell up. We don’t fight fire with fire. We fight fire with love. That’s how we shut it up.
Jesus defeated sin once and for all on the cross. Hell has been defeated. He died not only to bring us up to Heaven, but to bring Heaven down to us. His life, in the lives of believers through the indwelling of the Spirit, is a light to be shined in the dark, hellish culture.
Will you be a part of shutting all the hell up?
Scot Thigpen is president of The Thigpen Group, a Wealth Advisory Firm in Jackson, MS. He is married to the former Kimberly Inkster and they are parents of two sons and attend Christ United Methodist Church. Contact Scot at firstname.lastname@example.org.