Thursday, November 17, 2005

Small Sacrifice, Big Influence

After a long day of work, one of my favorite things to do is to plop in front of the T.V. and play a video game. The types of games I enjoy playing are action games that require you to think about what is going to happen next and then plan for it. A lot of the games that I play include guns and fighting. As a guy, these things don’t bother me and I don’t feel I become desensitized to violence because of them. I know that in real life a gun could end somebody’s life. When it comes down to it, I know the difference between what is real and what is not. My youngest brother Pierce on the other hand, sometimes has a hard time distinguishing what is real and what is not and therefore he is not allowed to play games that have these things in them.

The other day, my mother came into my room and told me that Pierce had come to her asking why I would play these games if I was a Christian. My first reaction was to puff my pride and ignore the fact that Pierce saw those games as bad. I began to ask myself why my freedom should be limited by what someone else thinks, but then I read a part of a letter written by Paul in 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 10:23-33 is a snippet of a letter that Paul wrote to the church of Corinth that talks about a similar issue. In these verses, Paul is coming to an end of his discussion on whether or not it is ok to eat food that has been sacrificed to idols (the discussion starts in Chapter 8). After telling them that it is ok to eat the food, he goes on to tell them that because certain people might find it wrong to do so, we must be mindful of their conscious. These verses state:

You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is helpful. You say, "I am allowed to do anything"--but not everything is beneficial. Don't think only of your own good. Think of other Christians and what is best for them.


Now, why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it? Whatever you eat or drink or whatever you do, you must do all for the glory of God. Don't give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God. That is the plan I follow, too. I try to please everyone in everything I do. I don't just do what I like or what is best for me, but what is best for them so they may be saved.

We see Paul’s sarcasm in verses 29 and 30 when he asks exactly what I did when my mother was talking to me about Pierce’s view on me playing these video games, “Why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks?” The truth is I may not think these video games desensitize me to violence, but Pierce does not understand that I have knowledge of what is real and fake.

Because I value my brother’s relationship with Christ, and the growth of that relationship, I finally decided to limit the games I play around him. I chose to give up my right of playing these video games so that my brother would not feel that I am doing wrong.

Do you consider the perspective of other brothers or sisters in Christ? When you are around weaker Christians or non-believers, are you considerate to their needs? These sacrifices are not to be made into a general hypersensitivity that worries about what others might think. Rather, they are to be made by genuine consciousness of others and a willingness to limit what we do when there are real possibilities of misunderstanding and offense. We may not feel that our actions are wrong, but they may not be in the best interest of others. We have freedom in Christ, but we shouldn't exercise our freedom at the cost of hurting a Christian brother or sister. We are not to consider only ourselves; we must also consider the needs and perspective of others.


Anonymous said...


Rusty said...

Another excellent post. Video games are one of my "gray areas" as well. And Paul talks to lots of churches about this topic (check Romans 14). These gray areas are things that Christians need to pay particular attention to when we're around folks that aren't as far along their walk. But like Collin says... it's not something to be paranoid about.

And I was FPS'n before FPS'n was cool, brutha! ;-)