If you have not yet allowed the glorious chaos that is “Fall Guys” to grace your console or PC, you should go take care of that. Like… right now. What are you still doing here? I’m serious, you need to drink DEEPLY from the fountain of anarchy that each and every multiplayer match contains. You know, I feel like you aren’t taking me seriously on this. FINE… I see you will need more convincing. Don’t worry, I have the full recipe for you below:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
- Add one cup each of Wipeout and Takeshi’s Castle (better known in America as MXC-Most Extreme Elimination Challenge)
- Mix in a generous helping of any cute little characters in funny costumes you see laying around the house
- Throw all that into a blender with an online battle royale tournament that pits 60 people from all over the world against each other with only ONE winner
- Lather, rinse and repeat until you realize that it is 4am and you have to get up in three hours
It is FUN, easy to pick up and play, and seriously addictive… you have been warned. Oh, by the way… you can turn your oven off now. I don’t even think that part was necessary, really. So back to Fall Guys… the simple gameplay controls and bright, silly characters may be a HUGE part of the game’s draw, but they are also exceptionally deceptive. Make no mistake about it, this is a true battle royale, winner-take-all, no-holds-barred struggle to survive in which there can be only ONE player standing tall at the end… Highlander style. You compete through multiple progressively difficult minigame challenges as your initial group of 60 participants is whittled down to a handful of players, culminating in one final challenge to determine who was both lucky enough AND skilled enough to claim the crown at the end.
The challenge of the game isn’t necessarily in the individual mini-games themselves, although they can be a bit frustrating as you find yourself caught in a fan blade over and over and OVER until you are eliminated. The real difficulty is in the exceptionally unpredictable behaviors of your fellow participants, who either intentionally or accidentally will get in your way, cause you to fall, or get you stuck in the exact same predicament they are trapped in. If played alone, I have no doubt every participant would easily reach the crown at the end with only a few “trial and error” moments. But the complexity is derived from the crowded battlefield of people who are trying to capture the exact same prize, and will stop at nothing to do so. In the world of Fall Guys, there ARE NO RULES.
Life can be a lot like this as well, and it seems even more so over the last several years. Everyone is just trying to grasp that brass ring, get to the “good life”, and find a way to reach their happy place… and there is nothing wrong with any of those pursuits. But the problem quickly becomes that in doing so everyone is just cramming themselves through the exact same doorway, trying to reach the exact same place, and often trampling all over each other in the process. This is NOT the race that we were designed to run, and yet our supposedly civilized culture quickly devolves in a “survival of the fittest mentality” as soon as the toilet paper supply gets a little bit short at the grocery store.
So let’s dive a little bit deeper into the REAL issue at play here… the seemingly paradoxical challenge of pursuing our own best interests while still putting other’s needs FIRST the way Christ directed us. Jesus addressed this exact issue when sharing the very commonly known but unfortunately poorly understood story of the “Good Samaritan”, and if we dig deeper into this we will find some very relevant answers to ALL of these challenges that surround us on a daily basis.
Luke 10:25-29 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?” So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’ ”And He said to him , “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.” But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
It’s a fair question that I think we are all asking ourselves, and now more than ever. Who is our neighbor, and how can we be a “good” neighbor to them? What does this truly mean to me and how I live my life? And to answer this Jesus shares an example that is just as appropriate now as it was when he told this story two thousand years ago…
Luke 10:30-37 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion. So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him. On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’ So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?” And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
So let’s break this down… we find this victim laying on the side of the road, stripped of both his belongings and his health. Both organized religion (the priest) and the local government of the Jewish people (the Levite) failed this victim… his only hope was in this unnamed Samaritan. If you are not aware of what a “Samaritan” was and what this represented, the Bible sheds some light on this as well. The Jews and the Samaritans occupied the same area of the Middle East and were LITERAL neighbors, but their relations were ANYTHING but neighborly. We can see this reflected in the dealings of Christ with the unnamed “Woman at the well” in John chapter 4…
John 4:9 When the woman of Samaria said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?” For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.
John 4:19-20 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship.”
The Jews had a clear prejudicial bias against the people of Samaria, and there was a massive breakdown in how they each viewed their worship of God. For the Jews, the Samaritans were essentially a pagan offshoot of their own beliefs… a difference so significant that Jews were not to be in business with the them, associate with them, or even converse with them. And yet in this example, it was someone with such a clear and obvious division in the most PERSONAL of beliefs that was the ONLY one to help this wounded stranger.
Let’s cut to the chase… Jesus is using this tragic circumstance to explain what being a good neighbor truly looks like, but even more important is the identity of who the victim was that was being helped. When we consider who our “neighbor” is, let’s consider what Jesus was TRULY saying here in this case of this Jewish victim and the Samaritan who rescued them…
- Our neighbor includes the person who DISAGREES with us on ANY matter, even those of eternal significance
- Our neighbor includes the person who WORSHIPS differently than us, possibly in a way that offends us
- Our neighbor includes the person who openly OPPOSES us and all we stand for
- Our neighbor includes the person who would NEVER have helped us if the tables were turned
- Our neighbor includes the person who may have brought this on themselves through carelessness or poor decisions
- Our neighbor is the person who NEEDS US… the person who has been HURT, the person who is in PAIN, the person who is HELPLESS and needs to be defended… no matter what they look like, where they live, who they worship, how they worship them, or ANY other factors.
Before you take umbrage with any of those statements, let me remind you that the Jewish victim in this scenario represented ALL of these things to the “Good Samaritan”… and he helped him anyways. This victim was diametrically opposed to their Samaritan benefactor in every way a person could be, and yet the Samaritan saw ONLY THEIR NEED… not their race, not their political ideology, not their religious views, and certainly not their status as someone on the opposite side of a very personal war. The Samaritan saw the robbery victim the way CHRIST saw them… as one of His children needing help, support, safety, and care. And that is the REAL WORLD lesson here… unfortunately just like we see in Fall Guys, the world around us tends to be a chaotic free-for-all with fragile partnerships that break down as soon we see the slightest deviation in our views or values, or as soon as it does not benefit us any longer.
Jesus didn’t just ask us to “do better”. He didn’t ask us to merely care more, or simply send up “positive vibes”. He COMMANDED us to “Go and Do Likewise”. To actually go and HELP those who have been marginalized, hurt, held down, or broken by the world around them. To change their narrative from victim to survivor, and maybe even SAVE their lives in the process. And in the world we are currently living in, we don’t have to look far to find those who are hurting and need to feel our arms around them as we carry them to the help that they desperately need. Everywhere we look we can see hurting people, scared people, damaged people… all trying to be heard and supported in their time of need. Will we “Go and do likewise”, or are we no better than the priest or the Levite who SAW the need but kept walking by? Just like in Fall Guys, there is a crown at the end of this race as well (James 1:12) But this one doesn’t go to the one who ignored those who were struggling and hurting on their way to the top. It goes to the ones who who made themselves last so others could be first (Luke 13:30, Luke 14:7-11).
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