Video Game Controlled?

Snowed in, yet again, I’m pretty sure that I’m being punished. I couldn’t take my dog on an expedition to QuikTrip this morning, there’s nothing good for breakfast, and my lovely wife disposed of a bottle of my favorite beverage to use the empty as a watering can. To top it all off, two of my grandsons are grouchily playing Wii baseball on our TV.

Penny thought the Wii was a great purchase back in the day. After all, it’s a video game system that forces the player to be (slightly) active. But what I’ve found, in listening to these two guys play, is that they are most active in negative attitudes.

With every pitch that he did not hit for a home run, Isa behaved as if he’d been utterly offended by the game system, his brother, and the universe in general. Ira mostly railed at the game system and the injustice of one team having most of the errors.

That was a few minutes ago. Now, Uri and Ira are playing Wii Boxing. On the plus side, they’re not literally hitting each other. On the negative side, I get to hear Uri’s commentary: “I can’t hit you! Oh my gosh!” Nobody ever complains when they win the games. It’s strange.

Games, video and otherwise, often bring out our less-than-best. We grouse and moan because of some perceived injustice, some unfair rule, some cheating opponent, some incompetent teammate, or, in the case of video games, a programming glitch perhaps introduced just for the vexation of the complainer.

I’d love to know what the Apostle Paul would have to say if he were sitting in my home on this snowy morning. Would he perhaps listen to these guys and quote himself from Ephesians 4:31-32?

Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.

There’s nothing wrong with games, virtual or physical, in moderation. What is wrong is when we are not the game controllers but allow the games to control us.

At least if the bitterness, anger, and wrath are not going to be removed, I’d like it to be moved to somewhere that I can’t hear.

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