No Laughing Matter: Satire, Terror, and the Seriousness of Eternity



This past week, the world watched as scenes of terror unfolded in the City of Light — Paris, France. Two Islamic extremists walked into the offices of a weekly satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, and opened fire killing five of the magazine’s cartoonists, an economist, two police officers, and four others. Eleven people were also wounded, some of them critically.

The men who carried out the attacks claimed they were avenging the Prophet Muhammad over some cartoons of him which the newspaper had printed in 2012. While some might question the wisdom of printing such material which is known to be offensive to Muslims, many have rallied behind the magazine in support of free speech and the freedom of the press. After all, one of the biggest factors behind the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo is that it is satire — humorous commentary meant to generate laughs while also pointing out (and poking fun at) the vices, folly, shortcomings, or abuses of others. Surely, something so harmless could not possibly become the target of a violent terror attack.

But, on January 7, 2015, it did.

And, during that attack, each of those who died or who faced death also faced the seriousness of eternity. Even the most lighthearted person would quickly sober as he thinks of death and what lies beyond.

Some in our world today like to joke about death and eternity. At funerals, people often tell jokes or funny stories about the person who died in an effort to ease the grief of those who are left behind. Some say that they wouldn’t mind going to Hell because all their friends are there or because they think Hell will be one big party. Others often make jokes about what Peter will say or do when they meet him at the pearly white gates of Heaven.

But, in all actuality, death and eternity are no laughing matter. The twelve people who died in the Charlie Hebdo terror attack are either in Heaven or Hell right now. On top of that, their families, friends, and loved ones are left behind grieving over their loss and the tragic way in which their lives were stolen from them. Death and eternity are serious business.

One day, you, too, will face the seriousness of eternity. Hopefully, it will not be in such a horrible way as was experienced by those who were killed this week. Nonetheless, such a moment will come, and the only thing that will matter at that moment is whether or not you are ready to leave this temporary life and go out into eternity.

Once we die, we will not return to this life. We will go out into eternity where we will face God and be ushered into one of two eternal destinations — Heaven or Hell. The Bible says that some “shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.” The destination where you end up is based on a decision you make in this life. Since this is the only life you get, I encourage you to choose wisely.

Heaven is a place of eternal happiness and bliss. Hell is a place of eternal sadness, grief, and pain. Matthew 7:13-14 says, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction (Hell), and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life (Heaven), and few there be that find it.”

You have to choose which road you will walk on in this life. I encourage you to take the straight and narrow road by following Jesus Christ, and you will end up in Heaven with God for all eternity. You can begin following Jesus Christ by giving your life to Him today by taking the following steps:

First, recognize that your sins have separated you from God. Our sins are the bad or wrong things that we do. In honest repentance, agree with God about your sinfulness and admit your need for forgiveness. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he [God] is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Second, realize that God loves you, and believe that His perfect Son, Jesus Christ, died for your sins — taking the punishment that you deserve. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Because of Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross, we do not have to go to Hell for eternity; we can be saved from that terrible place.

Third, accept Jesus Christ’s invitation to receive salvation by believing in Him as your Savior. Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

If you want to open your heart and life to Jesus Christ and secure your place in eternity right now, you can pray a short prayer to let God know about your decision. Repeat after me and mean it from your heart:

Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today and forever so that I can have your peace and assurance about my life today and my eternal future. Amen.

If you just trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and you prayed that prayer and meant it from your heart, I declare to you that based upon the Word of God, you are now saved and you are on your way to Heaven. Welcome to the family of God! Congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is receiving Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”.

Believe by faith. Share the faith. And keep the faith! God Bless You!