November 14th, 2014 | By admin
by Timothy Hall
Harry Potter fans will remember a scene from the first installment of that movie series in which a game of chess – Wizard’s Chess, to be exact – becomes more than just a game. Harry and his friends are lucky to make it through the “game” alive.
By definition, a game is something we play for enjoyment and (usually) relaxation. An evening with no plans often leads to a pleasant time with Monopoly, Rook, or working a jigsaw puzzle. One of my favorites in my younger years was Battleship.
Battleship became a battle recently for a 68-year-old Utah man and his 18-year- old daughter. After accusing her of cheating, she got up to leave, prompting the man to grab her by her hair and point a rifle at her. Needless to say, the man is now in custody after being charged with suspicion of intoxication and aggravated assault.
Someone has observed that Americans generally play at their work and work at their play. From my observations, our society does indeed take games seriously. Stories of fans flying into a rage following the loss of a game, or brawls between fans or players following a hard-fought contest are becoming more common.
Is it a competitive nature that leads to such game-time strife, or is it something more serious? James’ words may help us diagnose the problem: “But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic” (James 3:14,15). The traits of envy and self-seeking are clearly present in many of the confrontations we read about. This passage shows how wrong this frame of mind is.
James continued: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” (James 3:17,18). How much better to play games with people like this!
Those who have trouble remembering that “it’s just a game” may react to this message angrily. They would do well to consider something James wrote earlier in his letter: “So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; for the wrath of man does not produce the righteousness of God” (James 1:19,20). Ironic, isn’t it, how a quick-tempered person gets mad when someone suggests they might have a problem controlling their temper?
You and I have much more leisure time than our grandparents had. Games are likely going to be a part of our lives. Let’s approach our diversions the way we should approach every other aspect of our lives: with God’s wisdom guiding us.
Come to the light God offers! Study His word, the Bible. Worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). Get in touch with us if you’d like to discuss these ideas further.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Copyright, 2013, Timothy D. Hall. All scripture quotations, unless otherwise noted, are from the New King James Version (Copyright, 1990, Thomas Nelson, Inc.).“LightGrams” is produced by the Central Church of Christ, 2722 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, Tennessee, 37601, and is written by Tim Hall, minister. It is sent free of charge every Thursday to all who request it. To subscribe or to receive more information, write to “Tim@GraceMine.org” (our E-mail address), to the U.S. mail address above, or call (423) 282-1571.
Permission to reproduce and/or use the messages for noncommercial purposes is freely granted provided the messages are not altered.
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Timothy Hall, Minister
Central Church of Christ