Before I get into this week’s topic, I want to apologize to the readers of Beneath The Tangles as I was not able to meet my commitment and post two weeks ago. We (my wife and I) were actually in the process of moving into our first home so we are very blessed and grateful to God for the new change. Things got so busy that I could not just type up a poorly written piece, as I truly want to do these articles with excellence for you and my Heavenly Father.
This week is going to be all about why we game, and the motives behind the time we spend holding the controller. A long while back, I found this article that talked about how we can honor God through our video games, and to be honest it was pretty negative and pointed out how video games are basically a waste of time and don’t give God any glory.
I’m not going to write a rebuttal to that post, but after reading it I realized that the writer was being sincere and explaining his feelings. That being said, I decided to ponder this and see how do I bring God any honor by playing video games for hours throughout the week (not all in one sitting).
I’ve written on the subject about overdosing on what we enjoy as entertainment and that has its place, but what about God? Where does He fit in while we are conquering our digital worlds, leveling up or camping to snipe the next unlucky player? How can we reconcile our faith with our hobby (yes, I said hobby, unless you’re getting paid to play)? When we are playing games full of violence, gore, foul language and immorality, can we praise God at the same time? These are very valid questions that many Christians and other people of faith ask themselves, and I myself have even been asked on an interview.
Honor God With Your Video Games
17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
In the above verse, the Apostle Paul was speaking to the Colossian church and explaining how everything they do needs to honor God, even their words. As Christians we need to pay attention to what game we are playing, because God will hold us accountable for everything we do. Even if it’s a game that you really want to play, but you feel a tug at your heart to not purchase it, then you need to make the right decision.
What if you’re not a Christian, or you are thinking, “I can play those kinds of games and it’s ok, I’m not going to kill someone like I do in the game or get influenced by it. It’s just a game, it’s not real life!” Whether you want it to or not, what you spend hours doing will affect you whether you want to or not. Whatever we spend enough time around we start becoming.
20 Walk with the wise and become wise;
associate with fools and get in trouble.
Some parents and outsiders look at geeks, otaku or gamers and say what we do is a waste of time, is demonic, fills our mind with junk or will just make us less productive citizens. This can be the case for some forms of media, but not all. Most of the time, we are playing a video game or watching an anime to just relax and enjoy it, not because we don’t have anything else to do. I like to compare video games to any other hobby, whether it’s watching TV or knitting a sweater. Some people know every sports team, all the players, and all the ins and outs of the game while a video game fan could know just as much about the industry, what game is coming out soon, consoles, graphics, game play and other details.
Video games are not about wasting time, but about appreciating a work of art and becoming immersed in the creator’s world and unraveling the story they have laid out for the player.
Some people will see video games as a distraction to their personal relationship with God, while others will say it helps them relieve stress and is as enjoyable as any other fan is to their pastime. Just like when TV first appeared or rock and roll music was starting, many pastors, churches and Christians were quick to say it was the “devil’s work”. I agree that there is evil in almost every form of media, because it’s made by people who aren’t perfect, sin, or don’t care about God or biblical values. Anything can become a distraction, you just have to be careful and be wise with your time.
If you see yourself spending way too much time in front of a screen, whether it’s a video game, computer or TV then you need to reevaluate your time. If others have told you that you spend “too much time playing those games!”, even if they said it in a not so encouraging way, listen to their words and consider them. It’s something we all need to do, myself included. I heard a quote today that sums up what I’m attempting to illustrate:
Time is what we want most, but what we use worst.
I hope that as Christians, we won’t be quick to judge those that are gamers or geeks in any context, and instead get to know them better and walk with them as the body of Christ that we are a part of. If you are not a believer and your reading this, I want you to look at your day or weekly blocks of time you have for your gaming or hobbies. Are they just that, a time to relax and have a little fun, or are they consuming too much of the most important resource we have in life to share with our loved ones, time.
What habits do you have that help you either honor God with your video games (or other hobbies), or ways you limit yourself from spending all day watching anime or stomping on goombas?