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A Spiritual Lesson In Video Game Language 8

Game: Q*Bert, Platform: Atari2600

Topic: Sam

Lesson PDF link: Sam

First, here is a picture of our character of study.


In the game of Q*Bert, the object is to turn the pyrymid of cubes for every level a "target color" and is considered a puzzle game.

The picture above is of Sam, a bad guy in Q*Bert; he is a specialist in meddling by slowing down the victories that can be had, or leading you into a worse bad guy.

For a little background, we will look at how this guy meddles. He pops up out of nowhere on one of two cubes closest to the top of the pyramid of cubes. Sam turns every cube he touches into the starting color of the level. He comes periodically and in higher levels, he comes every few moments seemingly. If Q*Bert can catch him, he is only worth a measly 300 points.

Here is a clip of Sam in action.

Q*Bert: Sam: Direct link for video/webm

Have you ever experienced a person like this, who loves to mess up your hard work and makes everything unproductive? What are some ways that this attitude exists?

Rest assured, these exist in some form or another; they won't be productive themselves, but work extraordinarily hard in making you unproductive as well. This could be as simple as a teammate who doesn't know the meaning of the term and makes you do everything while yelling at you for doing your job correctly. This could be a person that wants to control everything, but leaves you with no stability. This could mean a critic that doesn't like what you do only because it wasn't his/her idea and tries to derail the gift. This could mean the faithless one that doesn't want you to be faithful and tries to stop people from believing in Jesus.

There are many ways that Sam exists. I call him S.A.M. (Sudden Anti-Momentum).

The Bible talks a lot about Sam's attitude. Sam can be a symbol of gossip and/or what's called a busybody.

Let's look at Proverbs 11: 12-13, 16: 27-30, 18: 8, 20: 19, 26: 17; 20 and then 1 Thessalonians 4: 9-12

Proverbs 11: 12-13

12 Whoever derides their neighbor has no sense, but the one who has understanding holds their tongue.

13 A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy person keeps a secret.

Proverbs 16: 27-30

27 A scoundrel plots evil, and on their lips it is like a scorching fire.

28 A perverse person stirs up conflict, and a gossip separates close friends.

29 A violent person entices their neighbor and leads them down a path that is not good.

30 Whoever winks with their eye is plotting perversity; whoever purses their lips is bent on evil.

Proverbs 18:8

8 The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to the inmost parts.

Proverbs 20: 19

19 A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid anyone who talks too much.

Proverbs 26: 17; 20

17 Like one who grabs a stray dog by the ears is someone who rushes into a quarrel not their own.

20 Without wood a fire goes out; without a gossip a quarrel dies down.

Paul has these words in 1 Thessalonians 4: 9-12

9 Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.

10 And in fact, you do love all of God's family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more,

11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you,

12 so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.

Sam's mentality or attitude is to meddle in everyone's business and make you spin your wheels. Any victim of Sam would beg him to stop, but he has just too much fun wasting your time. Sam is the type to argue just to argue, criticize for no reason except to hear your reaction, or talk about you to ruin your reputation. Sam is not to be trusted as a friend to anyone trying to do God's kingdom work.

For the ones that suffer from criticism and violence, there is hope.

Let's look at Matthew 10: 1-42

Mt 10:1 He called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out evil spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

Mt 10:2 These are the names of the twelve apostles: first, Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John;

Mt 10:3 Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;

Mt 10:4 Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Mt 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: "Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans.

Mt 10:6 Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel.

Mt 10:7 As you go, preach this message: 'The kingdom of heaven is near.'

Mt 10:8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Mt 10:9 Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts;

Mt 10:10 take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep.

Mt 10:11 "Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave.

Mt 10:12 As you enter the home, give it your greeting.

Mt 10:13 If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you.

Mt 10:14 If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.

Mt 10:15 I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.

Mt 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Mt 10:17 "Be on your guard against men; they will hand you over to the local councils and flog you in their synagogues.

Mt 10:18 On my account you will be brought before governors and kings as witnesses to them and to the Gentiles.

Mt 10:19 But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,

Mt 10:20 for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.

Mt 10:21 "Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death.

Mt 10:22 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Mt 10:23 When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. I tell you the truth, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes.

Mt 10:24 "A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master.

Mt 10:25 It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!

Mt 10:26 "So do not be afraid of them. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known.

Mt 10:27 What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.

Mt 10:28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

Mt 10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny ? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.

Mt 10:30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

Mt 10:31 So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

Mt 10:32 "Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven.

Mt 10:33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven.

Mt 10:34 "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.

Mt 10:35 For I have come to turn " 'a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law--

Mt 10:36 a man's enemies will be the members of his own household.'

Mt 10:37 "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me;

Mt 10:38 and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.

Mt 10:39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Mt 10:40 "He who receives you receives me, and he who receives me receives the one who sent me.

Mt 10:41 Anyone who receives a prophet because he is a prophet will receive a prophet's reward, and anyone who receives a righteous man because he is a righteous man will receive a righteous man's reward.

Mt 10:42 And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."

Sam's mentality or atitude is one of hatred and destruction. When he doesn't get to have fun messing with you, I bet he could become violent if this was real life.

Let's look at a scripture that I have used a lot in other lessons, but it is spun differently for this lesson.

Let's look at Matthew 13: 24-30

Mt 13:24 Jesus told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field.

Mt 13:25 But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.

Mt 13:26 When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared.

Mt 13:27 "The owner's servants came to him and said, 'Sir, didn't you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?'

Mt 13:28 " 'An enemy did this,' he replied. "The servants asked him, 'Do you want us to go and pull them up?'

Mt 13:29 " 'No,' he answered, 'because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them.

Mt 13:30 Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.' "

Sam's mentality or attitude is also one of trickery. You never know when he is going to show up and when he does, he brings his bag of nasty tricks to ruin a victory.

A harvest is a kind of victory for the farmer, however in this parable what does the farmer do?

The answer is absolutely nothing except to wait and be patient. Sam would like nothing better than a rash decision to try to destroy said weeds. Doing this would be tedious at best and risky. Sam would hope that the farmer would root up the harvest with the weeds, thus ruining the hard work because the harvest wouldn't be ripe just yet. The yield would not be very much if any good at all; the bad guy would win.

I have noticed on higher levels of Q*Bert, patience is quite a virtue concerning Sam. You just about have to ignore him and keep plugging away at the puzzle. Usually, the player can make up the ground lost to Sam quicker than he can show up. Sam sometimes isn't worth trying to catch and a lot of times should be ignored (just like in the parable of the tares); remember, he is only worth 300 points. I don't know if you noticed this too, but when I was trying to jump the Coily snake, I got caught because I mistimed the jump. Sam might have influenced the timing of this worse enemy to cost me a life. So, the idea is when Sam is on the same cube as Coily then dodging the cube altogether instead of trying to jump in rhythm with the enemy as I normally do. I wasn't even going after all of the lost cubes at the time, but to get into better position to do so. I was going after the lost cube that I died on then I would have made a pattern to easily get everything. This is actually the first time I think I noticed that a rhythm change can be caused potentially by Sam. Sometimes the enemy has other tricks besides the one you know of. The likes of Sam will be judged when it is time. For now, enemies of God like Sam have time to repent and change forever, but in case they don't, then these types of people are stumbling blocks to faith in Christ and the Bible is not going to bring anything but judgment warnings against them.

Let's look at our final Bible passage in Luke 17: 1- 3a

1 Jesus said to his disciples: "Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.

2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.

3a So watch yourselves.

What have we learned?

Jesus is right; Sam is dangerous and will fall under very harsh judgment. We need to watch ourselves so we won't become the "Sam" of someone's life. To that person, it is a burden that sometimes isn't bearable, but to Sam, no good thing will come eventually--only destruction.