There is a sadder sight than people who aren’t Christian
I used to play Halo everyday after school for many hours. This is when I was 13 or 14. I loved my Xbox, and I remember what it sounded like to turn on the TV downstairs in the early morning. I remember the sound of the Xbox starting up and the green glow on the screen. Morning and night, I would be driven to beat this game. I would die, and die, and die, and get more and more frustrated that I couldn’t get past a certain part. So I would play till I beat the level—long enough to see dots when I looked away from the screen: long enough to get lightheaded when I stood up.
But when I started to take Jesus seriously, my desire for mindless video games decreased. As I grew up, video games had less and less to do with pursuing Christ, until they had no place at all. They didn’t do anything to advance the journey of life. If life was a road through a forest, video games would be like going off the road, and falling into a river of muddy water going the opposite way. After you struggle to the surface to catch your breath, you lie flat and float down the river, the opposite way from which you were going. Eyes closed, unaware, and smiling, you float farther away from where you wanted to go. But it doesn’t feel bad to float; it feels good—to not think about anything, to let the river carry you, to let it do all the work.
When you decide to stop playing the game, you swim to the side of the river and get out onto the road again. You’re sopping wet and you realize the river took you a mile and a half back from where you went in. Not only did you not get where you wanted to, but you backtracked in the trail. You did nothing with the time that was given to you.
I fear that video games are taking us miles and miles and miles back in life. But I fear more for the fact that we let them take us there. Humans like passivity. Here we are, living this beautiful, fragile life, and we decide that the best use of it is to stop living it for a few hours, and instead, pretend to live in a virtual world in which we gain nothing from (even if, in the game, we get the highest honors). Maybe our desire for video games comes from our dissatisfaction with the life we actually live. In that case, we need a new trail, a new goal, a new purpose for living.
These days, the saddest sight for me isn’t non-Christians living in darkness, but Christians who know the gospel and still waste their lives in virtual playgrounds. In my mind, the gamers don’t know the gospel anymore than the non-Christians do. If they did, they would invest their life into something that will last. Not a second of video game playing will matter for eternity.
This all brings me to tears. Many times, I’ve cried over Christian gamers. They don’t get it. They don’t get what Christ has done, how he sacrificed his life so they could live theirs for his glory. How he has given them the chance to live a deep and vibrant life. They waste their lives. They never really live. They never really achieve. They never really know what it means to be on this earth.
This—this is the kind of person who saddens me the most lately. This is the saddest sight I know.