The surge in popularity of class-based games such as Overwatch and Apex Legends and the continuing dominance of titles like Team Fortress and League of Legends has brought the age-old concept of building a perfect team into the limelight… the days of games that featured identical protagonists with minor modifications such as armor color have been replaced with a deeper, more personalized experience. While every Master Chief in a Halo title plays and controls in a similar manner, these class-based games allow participants to choose roles that are better suited to their play style as tank-like warriors, range-focused fighters, nimble assassins, and more. Every great squad should demonstrate a balanced approach in their loadouts, allowing the team to offset their vulnerabilities with corresponding strengths… a team full of “heavies” may be exceptionally strong, but they typically lack the speed to achieve the mission’s objectives. Classes based on ranged attacks will often struggle when the combat gets too close for comfort… but when the players select complimentary roles, they tend to achieve success. And within all of the different character classes, the most essential loadout is often the one that has the lowest number of volunteers… the HEALERS.
Now, this isn’t because the act of healing isn’t valued… to the contrary, a skilled healing support character typically makes the difference between victory and defeat for their entire squad. It’s just… well, let’s be honest. It isn’t always the most FUN job on the team. The “tanks” on the team get to push through enemy lines wreaking havoc, creating chaos, and racking up HUGE stat lines thanks to the massive damage they can deal and their superior health bars… those in the “medic” support class tend to possess far fewer offensive capabilities and many times have the lowest health bar on the entire squad. While the other players get to run, jump, and blast away at the opposition, the healers on the team must remain calm, avoid battles they cannot win, and monitor the health of their teammates… this is not a role for those who are seeking the spotlight. And when it is time to perform their role, healers have to risk their own lives in order to support their fallen comrades… it is a dangerous (and often thankless) job. But amidst all of the chaos that exists on the battlefield, there isn’t a more welcome sight than seeing a healer risking it all to fight through the explosions, push through enemy lines, and pick us up when we are down.
The role of a healer in our video games isn’t typically a glamorous one… the player must be willing to sacrifice their own ambitious goals and personal desires in order to anticipate and respond to the needs of others. And often, from the healer’s vantage point the actions of those who they are seeking to save can seem non-sensical or downright foolish… but it is not the healer’s role to judge the decisions of those who have fallen on the battlefield. It is their unique mission to meet them where they are, provide healing, and guide them to safety so they can try a different approach next time. It is this very mission that Christ Himself chose when He came to this planet… not as the conquering Hero that the people wanted, but as the merciful Good Physician that they needed.
Matthew 9:10-13 Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” When Jesus heard that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”
Christ made it abundantly clear that in His time here on earth He had a very simple focus… to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10). And throughout His ministry He was consistently found healing the bodies, minds, and souls of everyone He came into contact with (Matthew 8:16, Matthew 12:15, Mark 6:56, Luke 4:40… pretty much the whole New Testament I suppose.) In a life that only spanned about 33 years, Jesus spent the bulk of His time seeking those who were hurting, healing those who were suffering, and saving those who were lost. In a story that was completely about Him, the Son of God chose to be a support class character, to the point of even washing His own follower’s feet… including the feet of the one who would betray Him (John 13:1-17). And when He had finished this action, He had a simple request of those who would choose to follow Him… to go and do likewise.
In our real world, people are hurting all around us… physically, mentally, and spiritually. And the greatest disservice we could do to the example that Christ set for us is to see this world as a warzone where we hunker down in the safety of our base and ignore the cries for support that are coming from every direction. If we could see the “battery life remaining” in others the same way we are able to see the battery life remaining on our phone screens, we would probably interact with them differently. If we could see a big, red flashing bar over the top of someone’s head showing they only have 5% left before they completely collapse and fall apart, maybe we wouldn’t be so quick to judge them and condemn them. And this thought convicts me more than any other right now… if we could truly see through the eyes of Christ through to the pain, weariness, and torment others were facing, we would spend less time fighting others on this battlefield and more time HEALING others on this mission field.
Matthew 9:35-38 Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd. Then He said to His disciples, “The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.”
Jesus spent His life healing the oppressed and doing GOOD (Acts 10:38)… and if we want to truly display the heart of Christ and our love for Him in the world that we occupy, we don’t have to look much farther than one of His final actions before He breathed His final breath. As the ultimate healing support character, in His terminal and tortured condition on the cross we see the true heart of Christ on display for all to see… even in the place of His deepest pain, He pushed through it to provide one last hurting human with reassuring words of peace and comfort.
Luke 23:39-43 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”
Jesus didn’t waste His time correcting the blasphemous statements of the thief on one side of Him… instead, He spent His limited remaining strength providing spiritual healing to the one who was reaching out for help. And THIS is the calling we have been called to… Jesus didn’t need more Pharisees, he needed more HEALERS willing to leave the comfort of the ninety-nine to seek and save the one who had gotten lost (Matthew 18:12-14). In his moment of anguish, Christ pushed through His pain to reassure a repentant criminal and even forgive those who were currently in the process of murdering Him (Luke 23:34). And as His representatives in this fallen world, if often feels like we are in an under-powered support class with too small of a health bar to even take care of ourselves, much less heal others. But His power to save is shown best THROUGH our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)… it is the unique position of Christ’s followers to push through our own insecurities, pain, and vulnerabilities to stop in the middle of the battle and ask someone else if we can help them. And when we become the covering that others need, binding up their injuries and carrying them to safety, it is in THAT place that we will find a heart receptive to the message of Christ.
The role of a “healer” or support class in our video games is an essential part of the team, but often an unwanted position to occupy… it means putting the needs of others ahead of our own, helping those who have made decisions we don’t agree with, and picking up those who have fallen in battle without judgment. It means we save those who from our view may have taken actions and made poor decisions that made them “unworthy” of being healed… but we are ALL unworthy of the mercy and grace that we have received (Romans 3:10). It means risking ourselves in the midst of a battle in which we may also be wounded and hurting… but we still stop what we are doing to heal others, because that is our calling. We are healers who have been given the ministry of reconciliation, acting as the physical hands and arms who bring other fallen and injured souls back into harmony with the Father (2 Corintians 5:18-21). And when we bring them to Him, He will perform the deep surgical work on the inside that will lovingly guide them, convict them, and purify them (John 16:8-11). We are His vessels of mercy… choosing the path of healers, acting as a covering for those who are wounded and have fallen in battle and bringing them to the place where they can find true healing. At times we may feel weary from our own journey, and we would rather simply find a safe and quiet place to wait for the Lord’s return… but we cannot turn our ears away from the sounds of those who are still suffering and seeking healing and peace. There are still too many people who are NOT ready for His return… and He is waiting until each and every one of them find their way home. I hear someone calling for healing… and we are the ones who have been commissioned to answer their call.
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