Rated M for Mature
August 16, 2018
I’m not super old enough… excuse me… super wise enough to say something like “this might date me” but this statement just might date me. I remember a time when video games were as simple as a frog trying his hardest not to get run over before he got to the other side of the street. I remember helping Mario heroically save the princess from a super mean looking tortoise (was he a tortoise??) and ghosts that literally looked like small children with sheets on their heads. I remember flying around as a fun purple dragon that I really don’t think could blow fire. I remember a time before San Andreas (which was the first time I ever ran over a prostitute in my life) or before the real fear of my mother and brother being soldiers in the Army set in because I had died tragically trying to play Call of Duty. To say the least, I remember the first time I recognized when video games went from fun and silly to emotionally disturbing.
Around 1994, someone decided that games were not for everyone. So, age and maturity ratings began being added. At that time, the ratings were voluntary. Yes, this says one should be 18 or older to play but you don’t actually have to be. You can be 8 years old if you have the money to get the game. By 2002, however, those ratings soon became a federal law. Stores can actually be fined or even sued now for selling these particular games to minors. There are now serious consequences put in place to people opening the door to violence, crime, sex, and (might I be so bold to say) things of this world to children.
Here is my question: at what age do you become mature enough that these things won’t have a lasting affect on you?
Recently, I had a pretty interesting conversation with someone that really got me thinking. I made a comment about how shocked (no, outraged) I was that there was an actual scene in a video game where a man had sex with a woman:
1. By pushing X and L2 on the controller
2. With a woman who viewers knew was definitely not his wife.
The response to my reaction: Victoria, you’re an adult. Get over it.
Mediate on that for a moment. Though we have been called out of darkness, though we have been told to not participate in the things of this world, though we have been told NOT to give our bodies to someone who is NOT our spouse- the mere fact that I was adult not only made it okay for me to participate in this game but that I shouldn’t even worry about it. Don’t misunderstand- I am not some advocate for burning video games at the stake. Let your children play whatever you want. My fear really isn’t about video games at all. My fear is that society has gotten us to believe that the enemy somehow becomes ineffective at corrupting our thoughts and our actions after we hit a certain age. My fear is that we have allowed ourselves to unlock the door to chaos in our lives but confidently believe because we are over 18, that chaos won’t walk into our homes, our lives, our marriages, and our hearts.
This goes beyond video games. What are you listening to on the radio? Does it have a good beat but goes completely against what you know to be true? What addicting TV show do you binge watch knowing full well you probably shouldn’t indulge in a hilarious show that advocates premarital sex and promiscuity? What movies do you stand in line for with your ID card to show you are mature enough to watch it? What books? What magazines? What about what you are reading on social media? For me, I have to be very careful about what I watch on TV. I can become so emotionally involved it is ridiculous! I end up crying uncontrollably, screaming at the TV, or watching it over and over again (time that could easily be spent with my husband, my children, or (crazy thought) with my Heavenly Father).
Hear my heart when I ask- are we really even trying at this point? Here’s the thing- we are not called to be perfect. There is no point in you and I attempting to reach perfection. I am not encouraging you to try and scrutinize each and every aspect of your life and how the enemy could distort it. The truth is, he’s crafty, he can distort anything- even your praise. What we are called to do is to perform at our humanly best which takes faith, effort, and discernment. Would you do something for me really quickly? Identify a few areas that you are struggling with right now. Is there chaos erupting in your marriage? Have you been stressed out at work lately? What about your finances? Now identify some areas that, hypothetically, could be reinforcing those issues. Are you watching shows on television that try to persuade you to believe you are not pretty enough or dramas that are filled with marital unrest? Are you binge watching rated R movies (which means rated restricted just FYI) simply because you can? What about the company you keep? The friends you gossip with? Who are you following on social media all day long?
Yes, be very mindful of what you allow your children to watch and do. However, be even more diligent about what you allow into your own life. God never told us to not be of this world until we were legally allowed to be of it. He never said the restricted things of this world are only restricted until you get to a certain age. We must use discernment when we involve ourselves (often spiritually and mentally) with things we don’t even want our children doing. This is an everyday mission that is going to require some work on our part. My prayer for each of us is that we can become mature enough to know what we are too mature to involve ourselves with anymore, rated M or not.
Peace, Love, and Strength