Is there any danger in playing a violent video game? Yes, we are just role playing, but we are also being conditioned to respond in a proud way, taking things into our own hands and taking vengeance on those portrayed as evil. As Christians, we are admonished to let God fight our battles for us. God says “Vengeance is mine.” “Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord”(Romans 12:19). “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:18).
An environment where people are being tortured and slaughtered is not what God wants us to provide for our children. We certainly wouldn’t purposely pick a neighborhood with that sort of violence and expose our children to it. Does it make any sense, then, to bring that sort of violence into your home?
I went through the race riots in Detroit in 1967. Let me tell you, real war and fighting is not glamorous. Driving through the streets in town, ducking from military gunfire, is not a game. I continued to have flashbacks for years whenever there was fighting on the school grounds or in the neighborhood.
If we surround ourselves with this type of thinking, we and our children can be conditioned to get back at (take revenge) because we feel justified and have the right to do so. We may not actually wield a weapon, but our words can be just as deadly. If we really think about it, we as God’s people can be conditioned by society and by the media to accept that fighting is justified. There are times we fight righteously with our words, but if the words have no meaning and are in spite, they are weapons indeed. In God’s eyes, however, it is not justified.
Our children look to heroes and try to emulate them, putting themselves in the place of the one who is taking revenge on the “bad” guys. Today there are all kinds of powerful heroes and heroines not only in comic books and movies, but especially in video games. They are not portrayed as normal everyday men and women, but disproportionately muscular, so that boys and men want to be invincible and girls powerful and attractive. The desire is to yearn for their build, attractive look, and power. However, this is unattainable. Nevertheless, our children put themselves in the place of these men and women of war and connect with them in their minds. God says that as we think, so we are. Why? In the New Testament church, not only are we not to harm our enemies, but we are to love them. What we think in our minds matters, whether it is real or not. God says if we lust after a woman, we have already committed adultery in our hearts. If we kill and destroy our enemies, even if it is only in our imagination, we have also sinned in our hearts.
James and John wanted to call fire down from heaven. Did they have a right to? Here is what Jesus had to say about that. “And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, ‘Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?’ But he turned and rebuked them, and said, ‘You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them.’ And they went to another village” (Luke 9:54-56).
What being is full of this pride of life and lust for power? We know that this is the spirit of Satan.
Why are these video games so popular in today’s culture? Why are they making mega millions and growing more and more popular each year?
Too many children are embracing them, and too many parents are allowing it.
We have a New Testament covenant with Christ as our example. Included in His final words on the cross was, “It is finished.” What was finished? We know that He was the Lamb of God, taking on to Himself what all of us deserve. There is more, however. He also finished His earthly example by not reviling, but leaving it all in the hands of His Father to the point of being beaten to death for the sake of His enemies. This is the type of example we should all be looking to emulate. “Jesus answered, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now my kingdom is not from here’”(John 18:36).
Then would My servants fight, but My kingdom is not of this world. We are not to be part of this world or emulate its ways. We are to train our young children to emulate Christ. How are these violent video games fulfilling this admonition?
What kind of person are our children trying to emulate as a superhero? Is Jesus Christ their Superhero? What did Christ do when He knew that Satan would enter Judas? Christ washed Judas' feet. He did not attack him at the last supper.
The world's mindset is one of fighting it out and feeling justified when they take things into their own hands by fighting with others with whom they disagree. And we feel we are right because we know in our hearts they are wrong. We kill with our tongues. Isn’t this the same mindset? God says if we hate our brother, we have killed him or her in our heart. God admonishes us to turn the other cheek and not to take things into our own hands. God says, “I will repay.” We are to love our enemy, and do good to them that hurt us and despitefully use us and persecute us. If a man slaps you on the cheek, turn and give him your other cheek. Stephen followed Christ's example and at his death said,“Lord, do not charge them with this sin” (Acts 7:60). Don't we want to instill that attitude in our children?
Is God in control? He struck Herod down when he boasted and allowed people to think he was a god. God has the power and right to take vengeance, not man. Herod was swelled with pride. This is what we do not want to allow into our thoughts or hearts.
Are we to retaliate or are we to give them what they need to become more like God? Our lights are to shine on the evil and the good. We are ambassadors for Christ. Do we teach our children to do this by watching video games that portray the opposite?
The Spartans trained their young men for war as soon as they could hold an arrow and bow. They were trained in the art of war as some nations do today with their very young children. As you know, some even strap bombs to their young children and send them into a building to destroy it. We look forward to a much different future. “He shall judge between many peoples, And rebuke strong nations afar off; They shall beat their swords into plowshares, And their spears into pruning hooks; Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, Neither shall they learn war anymore.” (Micah 4:3).
Our children are now the princes and princesses in training for a world we and they will rule with Jesus Christ. It is to be a world of peace. It is not a world where vengeance is entertainment.
God does not want us to feel the rush of getting back at others. That only fuels the fires of our human carnal nature and enhances the feelings of power and pride. Isn't that the mind of Satan?
“These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to him: A proud look…” (Proverbs 6:16-17). God hates pride.
Satan can entrap our children with this world’s entertainment, especially in the form of virtual reality video games, encouraging them to embrace the ways of darkness.
God is real! Let’s train our children to emulate Christ in everything they do.
To learn more about what God has to say about this, request our free study aid Marriage and Family: The Missing Dimension