Saturday, September 19, 2009

Games People Play

Pastor Tim Howard
September 19, 2009

Back in the day, we didn’t have Nintendo, Wii, PlayStation or Xbox 360 electronic games. Even if they had been available, most of us wouldn’t have been able to afford them. We had games like tag, king of the mountain, ring-around-the-rosy, jump rope, dodge ball, capture the flag, red-rover red-rover, hop-scotch and tic-tac-toe. For those who were older and didn’t want to participate, they could always watch the television game shows like Password, Let’s Make a Deal, Beat the Clock, The Price is Right, I’ve Got a Secret, To Tell the Truth, Wheel of Fortune, The Gong Show and Hollywood Squares. Games have always been a part of life since creation but some games can cause problems when played in the wrong arena.

When I play Hide and Seek with my grandson, a whole lot of joy and laughter fills our home but when Adam and Eve played the game of Hide and Seek with God, things began to breakdown. You may remember the historical record that is recorded in Genesis chapter 3. God had given this couple everything they could possibly need. They were in a beautiful garden with full access to everything except one tree. That seems more than fair but for some reason Adam followed Eve’s lead and went contrary to God’s advice. After deciding to set up self-rule and function with an independent spirit, they became aware of their failure, sin and self-centeredness. That was bad enough but they complicated things even further because they decided to play the game of hide and seek.

Before you criticize this biblical couple for their usurping of authority, disobedience and stupidity, check out 2 Peter 1:3! We are told that Jesus has given you and me everything we need for living a godly and fruitful life. Even though this is true, we also have decided to do our own thing and live independently of the living God. In other words: we have sinned just like Adam and Eve.

The Bible tells us that every man has sinned and gone astray. He likens us to sheep that are notorious for wandering after things, which aren’t beneficial. We shouldn’t ask who has sinned because we all stand guilty. The real question is: What do we do with our sin? I’m glad the Bible is not silent on this issue. In John 1: 9 we are told these words: “If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean break from them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing.”

Then, the next time you make a decision that hurts or violates another person; the next time you find yourself doing things that aren’t proper or right; the next time you are awakened to the fact that you are in the wrong or have sinned, I encourage you to play a different game. Rather than playing Hide and Seek like Adam and Eve, try the game called Show and Tell.

When you TELL the truth, God will SHOW you his love and forgiveness. Show and Tell is more than a game, however; it is a biblical principle that works. When you build a family on honesty and a marriage on transparency, you’re building something that lasts. I’m going to be selective in the games I choose to play. Games that bring lots of joy, life, love and peace, those are games that people should play.

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