It Isn’t About Me
As a youth pastor, you see a lot of darkness. I work with students whose home lives range from rock solid to ever turbulent. If ministry has taught me one thing it’s that teenagers act the way they do because of what has taken root at home. This perspective has helped me navigate and reach students whom others would rather leave be.
Not many people have this perspective; this ability to pull back and see the “bigger picture”. Which is why I was so surprised by Concrete Genie. For those that don’t know, Concrete Genie follows Ash, a creative personality who gets picked on by the bullies of Denska. Through a series of events, Ash gains the ability to fight back the darkness that has taken over Denska. How does he do it? With a giant paintbrush that has the ability to create genies and light up the darkness through art. But the brush has another ability.
Throughout the game, Ash encounters the bullies again and again. Each time, the bullies try to swipe Ash’s paintbrush. In so doing, Ash and a bully will hold the brush which causes Ash to have visions: visions of what that bully’s home life is like. I recall sitting shocked seeing one bully’s parents constantly fighting, another whose father is in prison. As a youth pastor, it really broke me. I know teens just like these, I thought. Ash begins to see the bigger picture: the anger the bullies have isn’t about Ash at all. It’s about their own pain.
Galatians 6:1-2 reminds us,
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
While Concrete Genie is not an allegory for a Christian influence on others, I can’t help but see that when playing the game. It’s a visually powerful reminder that we all struggle with things. We, as Christians, should have this understanding. In so doing, we can come alongside one another for encouragement, sharpening, and prayer. As we help others with their burden, the darkness gets pushed back, the love of Christ settles in, and the law of Christ is fulfilled.