Blasting Bad Guys
Posted by Brian Armitage
I’m just now playing through Fallout 3, and I’m enjoying it a lot. I love post-apocalyptic fiction. It’s also been a while since I played through an RPG, so it’s a nice change of pace from my usual shooters.
When I play video games, I get pretty immersed; that’s doubly true with roleplaying games. I try to keep a healthy distance from my characters, but I find myself getting into them all the same. Most often, I play characters somewhat similarly to the way I think I would act in their situation.
For example, when I found myself in the first subway area in Fallout, I was reluctant to open fire on the first raider I saw. I had put a lot of points into the Speech skill so I could talk my way out of problems, and I hoped I could do so with the leather-clad gentlemen with the handgun. Yeah. Not so much.
In RPGs like this one, you gotta have stuff to kill for experience. Enemies. And you can often tell they’re enemies because they’re marked as such: in Fallout 3, their names appear in red. It makes things simple. If someone has an actual name and it appears in green, chat ’em up. If they have a generic title that appears in red? Apply shotgun. Reload. Repeat until dead.
Neatly-labeled enemies are great for video games.
If we treat real people like that, we have a problem. And I don’t just mean by executing horrible violence against them; I mean by labeling them as enemies, and feeling justified in treating them badly.
Maybe it’s someone who disagrees with you all the time. Maybe it’s someone who really doesn’t like you. Maybe it’s even someone who goes out of their way to hurt you. When you think about them, it’s like their name appears in red. It’s tempting to treat them like they treated you. A little payback would only be fair.
But God says some crazy things about how we should treat our enemies. Jesus stood in front of a crowd of people and said, in all seriousness:
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them.
Jesus calls us to an absurd level of humility. And He means it. I’m still working out the implications of that quote in my life. It changes everything when you “repay evil with blessing.”
I’m trying to imagine what would happen if Jesus walked into that subway tunnel in Fallout and saw that raider. I can’t help but think He’s talk to him for five minutes, and the guy’s name would turn green.
What about you? How have you treated your enemies?
Has someone you mistreated ever been inordinately kind to you? How did it affect you?
About Brian ArmitageStruggling to live like Jesus, celebrating mild successes.
Posted on October 7, 2011, in Christianity, Gaming, Geekery, Holiness and tagged beliefs, Christianity, Fallout, forgiveness, gaming, God, grace, morality, religion, roleplaying, RPG, The Bible, video games, xbox. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.