Gaming and relationships are not two terms that are normally put together. When you think of gaming you think about building characters, building the ideal gear, building up your achievements and scoreboards, but you don’t think about building relationships. Relationships are reserved for that thing we gamers like to call IRL. I mean, we tend to come to the gamerverse to disconnect from IRL relationships, stress and worries, right? Why would I want to build relationships here?
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them. Matthew 18:20
When I got back into gaming I threw myself full force into the full experience. I loved my MMO of choice and, regardless of the purpose of an MMO, I refused to reach out to other players and make friends for a long time. I wanted to stay in my solo gamer bubble and only group up with people when I had to, and only random people because then I wouldn’t have to keep talking to them after the group disbanded. I was insanely secluded, increasingly lonely, and grew incredibly depressed and anxious as this went on. Finally it dawned on me that I really needed to start making friends if I was actually going to enjoy the full capacity of this game. I began reaching out, became part of a couple of guilds, and fell into step with the toxic nature that we so often find in the gamerverse. I would get angry, mean and impatient. I refused to help others (nevermind if they just helped me). I was toxic!
I suddenly felt a serious tug on my heart that said “HEY! Is that what I want from you? Is that how I’ve called you to be?” Wow, okay God! I hear you loud and clear! I got slapped with God’s reality check and decided if I was going to continue gaming I needed to seek out some fruitful gaming relationships.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2
See, only gamers truly know what the gamerverse culture really feels like. Only Christian gamers understand the struggles of being in step with Jesus while playing the games we love. Wouldn’t it make sense, then, for us to build relationships with other gamers who know that, as the kids say it, “the struggle is real”?
And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 1 Thessalonians 5:14
Once I started finding other believers to play with, I also started to notice a very unexpected difference in my life outside of the gamerverse. As I developed healthy gaming relationships, my IRL relationships started growing stronger. As I surrounded myself in my “free time” with people who are also trying to walk with Jesus, I began seeking Him more and more. I began to live life differently, treat people in and out of the gamerverse better, love myself more, and above all else I began to truly seek God first because I was constantly building relationships with others who are in a relationship with Christ. This has really helped me learn more about God’s design for relationships. He made us to do life together, not alone. We were made to build each other up, grow in Him together, empower each other, learn together. None of this can be done without building relationships. Relationships are important in every area of our lives whether it be with our significant other, our children, our family, IRL friends, or the people you share a hobby and passion with such as gaming. No matter what you spend your time doing, it is so much better to do it in relationship with others who are in relationship with Christ.