Playing with Wrong?

Palestinian boy with toy gun in Nazareth by David Shankbone
Playing with wrong?

An event a few weeks ago at school got me thinking about things we enjoy. When you consider 1 cor 13:6 what does Paul mean about rejoicing in wrong? How far can one “enjoy things that are wrong”? Where do lines get drawn when it comes to violence?

committing violence against people?
cheering the protagonist on as he/she kills their way out of a ‘desperate’ situation?
acting out violence against people in video game?
playing a part in violence against people?

A student brought in an airsoft gun that was given to another student to act out violence to another person. The metal ‘toy’ gun looked like a pocket-able handgun, and very bothersome to me, the orange tip was cut off and painted over black. This ‘toy’ was modified to make the play more realistic.

As I raise my children where do I draw my lines? Playing war games on-screen or simulated with plastic pellets or bits of paint? What about dodge ball? Can they play doctor? What if they want to play abortion clinic? Should I be concerned?

If I really believe we have been created in image of God (imago Dei) I need to have, and develop in my children, a deep respect for people and life. Now the hard part is how that gets translated to their minds and hearts.


  1. I’ve also pondered this topic. Much of our play includes elements of competition or survival of the fittest that is not Christ-like. How about hockey, basketball, Risk, Sorry!, or even Settlers. On the other hand, Monopoly can be played by Christian ethics… but it’s no fun (seriously, it’s been done). We do things in games we would not do in real life. The question is how are we being formed by those experiences?

    I suggest that several elements tend to make our experience of “evil” in games more formative:
    1. Personal maturity of those involved
    2. Graphic nature of the violence or other evil
    3. Rules of the game world (is evil rewarded? is good suppressed or ridiculed?)
    4. Engagement of the will in acts of violence

  2. Do you think you maybe taking this too far. I can see how violent video games can have a negative effect on people. However what is wrong with monopoly or dodgeball?Or even airsoft? What it really comes down to is the motive for these games. It all comes down to the heart! if your motive is to have fun with friends what is wrong with that as long as nobody is hurt physically or emotionally. It all comes down to motive!

  3. I think your thought about hurting people physically or emotionally has some merit, but how do we know when we’ve hurt someone emotionally? I’ve heard some freshman talk about their weekend airsoft battles, I hear some hurt feelings come out about how upset our immature some of their friends respond to the “game”. The “immature” response, I think, comes from a wounded heart.

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