The Game *

       People like games.  All kinds of games & sports.  Americans have athletic games, table games, party games, auto-racing games, video games, tv game shows, casino games, etc, etc.  We like games.  Do we play evil games too?   I think there is one that goes on in families & schools that is so subtle that it often is not recognized.
      The game of ostracism – to banish or exclude from a group; shut out, shun, disgrace. (Webster)  My father was the oldest of 5 siblings.  Having the misfortune of suffering 2 brain injuries as a boy set him up for this – especially with 4 younger sisters. . .  It made him mean in attitude.  My mother also had a handicap as a young girl.  She said “kids can be so cruel”.  It appears that there is a group psychology or consciousness that enjoys this “game”. – “We are and you are not. . .
      This fun human game seems to rise up in the school arena early – 2nd or 3rd grade?  My wife refers to the game - “let’s be mean to Suzie today.”  Then in high school this becomes the “in crowd” and the “out crowd" game.   But it is not as innocent because it forms a more permanent grouping.  We have a national suicide problem today as this game can & does lead to bullying which some sensitive kids – male & female, can’t handle.  One recent case backfired on the H.S. girls when the unfortunate victim of their plot was smarter than expected and took her situation VIRAL on the internet.  Ref. Michigan – 2012 “Bullied teen now home-coming queen.”   Their victim became the home-coming queen with police protection, local & national news coverage, etc.
     Now the psychological power–play of groups; and finding the pecking order may be quite natural.  Secular groups of all sizes need to have a power structure/leader orientation.  Finding a person to ostracize may be only a twisted & entertaining form of our natural tendency to seek leadership.  Instead of “who’s the boss around here,” this game says “who’s the loser, let’s have some fun.”   But how about the religious family or church group?  With a faith commitment and talk about the power of prayer, the presence of God, etc., do we play the ostracism game??  Unfortunately it will be found here too.  I personally believe it is a subtle tool of our spiritual adversary the devil (John 10:10) to undermine and weaken our group.  When we should be praying (if we believe in it) for that “odd man out” or “wild card”, instead we are often making them out to be the enemy.  (Here’s a church growth secret for all preachers & denominations – habitually pray for and just love the underdog “sinners” you have, instead of rejecting and ostracizing them.)  See “The Underdog”  link #26
      So how can a subject like this lead to a Christian appeal to faith?   It can't directly, but indirectly it can.  "Gospelnotes" are an approach to evangelism that hopes to use catchy titles, analogy, figures of speech, and EXPOSURE OF COMMON PROBLEMS or objections to faith in Christ.  The ostracism or in crowd game in the church is fair "game" for me.  Especially since so many people are sensitive to this kind of "stuff," and VERY turned off by it.  SHAME on anyone who plays these games, ESPECIALLY in the church or a religious family.  And I do believe God has a special place in his heart for the UNDERDOG.  “He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.” Isaiah 40:29     “I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will come and pray to me, and I will hear you”  Jeremiah 29:11-12  Choose Jesus and his Spirit, they are alive.  Be aware of petty human games and avoid them.  “Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them.”  Ephesians 5:11

*  Am I mad, to see what others do not see, or are they mad who are responsible for all that I am                seeing.      Leo Tolstoy
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