This is Faith in Play #66: Promises, for May 2023.
I was very young when I saw a western something-or-other (don’t know if it was a movie or a television show) in which one of the characters made a statement that has stuck with me for over half a century: “A man’s only got his word, and if that’s ruint, he’s got nothin’.”
It was brought to mind by recent events in the role playing game industry, but that’s not the point of this article. Rather, I was reminded that from time to time we have raised the question of how to bring our faith into our games, and this struck me as one more possibility.
There is a recently popular worship song in which one part really impressed me as clever: it said that we trust God, “’cause You’re a man of your word.” As I have discussed before elsewhere, that’s why Abraham believed God: God had repeatedly demonstrated that He kept His promises.
Similarly we are called to be people who keep our promises, whose yes means yes even while our no means no. We don’t have to promise everything, to agree to everything; but when we agree, we need to keep our promises.
We can let this apply to our game characters: by making them the kind of people who can be trusted to keep their word, we demonstrate one aspect of our faith within the game.
Again, though, what is more significant is that in our interactions with our fellow gamers we demonstrate the same trustworthiness. It is that they see our character–not the one in the game, but the one in our life–as someone who can be trusted, someone who does what he says, who keeps promises, that has the real impact on them. Our lives should have such integrity that people trust us.
That might even mean that when we tell them Who makes us who we are, they will believe us, because they already know that we can be trusted.