They’re only games, aren’t they? Everybody plays them, from young children to adults. They’re just fun entertainment!
Well, let’s take a closer look to see if these statements are true. First, we gain some wisdom from the story of the frog in the pot on the stove. It becomes acclimatized to the temperature as the water is heated up very slowly, but doesn’t get out because it has grown comfortable to the heat, a bit at a time, until it’s too late—it’s cooked! Keep this in the back of your mind as you continue reading about the growing problem of video game violence.
The $15 billion (and growing) worldwide video game industry is booming because of supply and demand. Producers keep a close eye on the market, and feed it! There are many good interactive games out there to play in areas such as education, pro sports, and simulations, which don’t capitalize on violence.
There is, however, an ever-growing flood of violent and evil video games on the market. They range from mild violence to the most savage, brutal, bloody, gory, repulsive, diabolical and obscene things imaginable. Remember, the player is an interactive participant in this – no one forces a player to take part in these violent, insidious games; they eagerly want to participate! After all, they’re just fun entertainment, aren’t they?
Players often start with what would be tame games, then become bored after a while and get hungry for something with more challenge and excitement. In time these games also lose their thrills and you’ve got it! Off they go to find another game that will outdo all the others. They find one that is quite violent and evil, but it’s cool and pumps the old adrenaline up, and is intense, but really exciting and challenging, with lots of levels to conquer.
One afternoon, while working up a sweat from playing the game so hard, a thought pops into a player’s head: “I really shouldn’t be playing this! It has so much violence and evil in it.” God commands us to “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil.” I Thessalonians 5:21, 22
King David said, “I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes” (Psa. 101:3 a). For a minute or so he feels guilty, but then reasons “The game isn’t really that bad! It’s just a game after all! Everyone plays them!” So he pushes God’s commandments out of his mind, and continues to fight the enemy, not realizing that the real enemy of his soul, Satan, the great deceiver, smiles! Satan has just won another victory in that player’s life. Players don’t realize how acclimatized and desensitized to violence and evil they have become.
For the professing Christian, if he is playing these games, the worst thing he can do is try to be the judge of what is, or what is not OK to play. He has already shown that he is not able to make God-honoring choices by the violent and evil games he has and plays.
For the Christian, God’s Word is the source we must turn to for guidance. “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (II Tim. 3:16, 17). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Col. 3:16 a). If God’s Word does not speak specifically concerning a subject, it does in principal and very clearly. “If a man love me, he will keep my words” (John 14:23 a).
After dinner one night a player is browsing through the latest video game magazine (which is full of violence and evil) and wow! He finds that a new game is out and rated highly, with fantastic graphics, seemingly no end of challenges and thrills. It also rated the game as extremely violent and evil. The graphics in many of these new games can be so incredibly lifelike that many players must upgrade their computers with more powerful 3DFX video cards to be able to play them. A good force-feed joystick and speaker system is a must to get the full impact of the dramatic effects. All this really helps to pump the adrenaline up!
God commands us to, “Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good” (Rom. 12:9 b). “Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Rom. 13:12 b). “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest that they are wrought in God” (John 3:19-21).
Games like Max Pyne, Half-Life, Ghost Recon, Red Faction, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein are a few among a vast number that are incredibly violent, gruesome, bloody, with gut-wrenching killings imaginable throughout them. In the most violent level of Mortal Kombat, players can decapitate an enemy; rip a beating heart from a victim; or tear a foe’s head off, pulling out his twitching spinal cord with it. Some players say, “They wouldn’t play games like that!” No! Well look how far along the road of violence and evil they have already come, and for many, they are already engrossed in these games. Their minds are full of this bloody violence! It doesn’t matter if they are killing space aliens, or people, or playing Dungeons and Dragons, etc., to God it’s all gross sin and evil; they need to REPENT and STOP IT! They need to trash all those wretched games that are taking them farther and farther away from the Lord Jesus Christ and the Word of God. The same goes for TV, movies, videos and music that fill their minds with violence and evil. It is impossible to walk with the Lord while they are involved in these things.
Jesus came to save sinners out of their sin—not in it! They will never have peace and joy in the Lord unless they repent! Remember, Satan is the great deceiver and can give them a false sense of well being to deceive them. This is why it is so important to, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (II Tim. 2:15). “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (Jam. 1:22). This is not an option. It is a command!
Players need to stop trifling with salvation, sin and hell; there are eternal consequences involved. “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matt. 7:21). “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry” (I Sam. 15:23 a).
Jesus said, “If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31 b, 32). Perseverance in obedience to Scripture is the fruit or evidence of genuine faith. Real disciples are both learners and faithful followers.
Next month, the Lord willing, we will give further attention to this topic.