Assuming that you are not reading this while on a cell phone driving to Starbucks, I want you to let your mind wander for a moment (I would ask you to “close your eyes and imagine with me” but for some reason I do not think that will work very well in this circumstance). Think about what makes an awesomely bad looking monster. Most monsters are going to have huge razor sharp fangs and claws that could easily slice through a mini-van. Perhaps the monster that you are thinking of is one that is somewhat disfigured, or it may even have multiple heads. For some, a monster may be something that remotely resembles a human being, but under the cheap façade is a nasty brutish visage. Whatever the traits that your particular monster has, most everyone can agree that the word “scary” seems to capture all of them.
If you are looking for some amazing monsters, then the best place to look is undoubtedly in video games. From the incredible detail placed in the monsters of Skyrim, to the massive natural giants of Shadow of the Colossus, and even the bizarre oddities found in games like Psychonauts and Bio Shock, there are no limits to what monsters can look like in video games. There is one trait, however, that seems to accompany these monsters equally throughout the gaming universe, and that is the fact that monsters are usually, if not always, evil. Of course, this was true for me until I got the privilege of playing a little indie game called Undertale.
If you are not familiar with Undertale, let me fill you in. You play a character who falls into a pit and winds up in an underworld full of monsters. The main goal of this RPG-style game is to get out the underworld, but that requires you to get by all of the monsters that are in your way. These are typical monsters; they have horns, sharp teeth, and some even breath fire. The difference between the monsters in this game and others is that most of them have no intention of hurting your human character at all. It is actually possible to complete the game without killing a single monster by finding out what they value and befriending them during your encounters.
If you are playing Undertale for the first time, chances are that you are going to fight and kill some of the monsters. When you do that you that you will see the game take a twist towards the monsters becoming less intimating and more frightened of you because you are a murderer. If you do a full “genocide” run on the game (you spare none of the monsters at all), then you will find out that they were not the monsters; you were the actual monster of the game.
Undertale is a game that teaches a Biblical lesson wrapped in a cute and somewhat demented package; it is not the appearance of someone that makes them a monster, but rather their choices and actions that make them monstrous. The Scriptures say that these evil choices are made within the person; in the heart of the monster. Luke 6:43-45 says:
43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.
In the context of this Scripture, Jesus is talking about judging others before you even get to know the full story. In this passage Jesus is calling out to the people who think they know what monsters look like in the world, whether they are Jews, Greeks, poor, or rich. He tells his listeners that good actions come from good hearts, no matter what the source is, and in today’s day and age, there are many sources.
Racism is just a way for people to make monsters out of men, and it is a very unnecessary process. All throughout the world different races and tongues are showing that it does not matter what is on the outside of the person that matters, but it is rather from the condition of the heart that the truth of a person is reveled. Whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and any other race that can be imagined will not be judged by what the color of their skin is, but rather they will be judged on whether or not they have accepted the free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Like Martin Luther King said, they will be judged by the content of their character. Don’t claim that someone is a monster until you have seen if their inner person is truly monstrous.
I don’t usually do this, but I actually recommend that every Christian who calls themselves a gamer to download Undertale from Steam onto their computers and play through the game at least once. This game will totally play badminton with your soul as you start to doubt your decisions to either attack, or give a monster a hug. As you play the game, make sure that you ask yourself the question, what makes a monster, and am I one of them?