In my younger years, I played a lot of flash games online. Looking back, I'm guessing most of those games were pretty low quality games that I wouldn't be bothered to play through now. As time goes on, I feel that I am slowly learning more and more the value of putting a game down.
One example of a game I put down recently is Secret of Mana. After I got a Super Nintendo Classic, I took it upon myself to try out some of the classic games I had heretofore missed. But Secret of Mana just really didn't stick with me. I had a poor first impression of the menuing, the slow start of the story, and the finnicky action battle mechanics. I really don't doubt that there are things about the game that make it great, but for me I feel it was valuable to put down the game when I didn't have enough interest in playing it.
But this past week, I put down a game for a different reason: conscience.
I had been recommended this game to play from a source that I trust. I heard that the game had some solid mechanics, an intriguing story, and was an all-around fun experience—sounded like a win to me. So I picked up the game when it was on sale and started my journey playing through it.
The problem is that there were a couple of factors in the game that I wasn't at peace with. I was enjoying the game, but I kept feeling bothered by these small parts. I attempted to convince myself that it wasn't a big deal to push through, and I even found a Christian reviewer who didn't seem to recognize the quandry I felt while playing the game. But I kept feeling like it was wrong, and I noticed that I didn't want to tell other people that I was playing this game.
Although I had been considering dropping the game this whole time, I really didn't make up my mind about it until I was musing over a Facebook post from an old friend of mine. In this post, my friend challenged head-on some Christian standards, calling them into question and implying their obsolescence. I was bothered by the post and thought to myself, "Even if this friend is right that these standards are not strictly necessary, I want to live by a higher standard of holiness." As I thought this, my mind soon went back to the game I was playing, and I decided then to put down the game.
Here's the thing: I still don't know for sure that I'm willing to call the game I played morally wrong (hence I haven't called it out in this post), but I think it was the right decision to ditch it. The New Testament has a surprising amount to say about this kind of thing where believers should seek a higher standard of holiness than strictly necessary. In 1 Corinthians, one of the things Paul seems to be addressing is an attitude some believers have of, "Everything is permissible" (1 Cor. 6:12). Sharply constrasting this mindset, Paul later goes so far as to say, "if what I eat causes my brother to fall into sin, I will never eat meat again, so that I will not cause him to fall" (1 Cor. 8:13). (From a modern American point of view:) Isn't that kind of extreme, Paul?
There is this pattern that is set up in the Old Testament (Exodus is chock full of this theme) that continues on into the New Testament where God calls his people out from the wickedness of the world into a life a holiness. I keep thinking of this idea as Paul calls out in 2 Corinthians: "Come out from them and be separate."
As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people."
"Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.
~ 2 Corinthians 6:16 - 7:1
I could go on about this at length, but I have already gone on too long for this short post, and I am a big fan of letting God speak through Scripture itself.
I am by no means a perfect example of holiness, but I want to encourage believers out there to seek to live a life of holiness in the midst of a world where many want to live as close to unholiness as they can get. Choose to live a life of holiness for God, because he sent his Holy One to reconcile our dead, unholy selves to himself and gave us the Holy Spirit to mold us into the likeness of the Son.