It was given as part of an analogy regarding the unwise practice of taking dangerous chances. At the repeated questions from my kids, it became the focal topic.
In our Wineskins travels we had ventured into the chapter on the differences between the Old Covenant law and Jesus’ commands. At one point, I read the statement:
“Without understanding the distinctions between the covenants, it would be like playing Russian roulette with our gift of salvation when we attempt to pick what commands we think are relevant” (p.108).
I was intent on continuing with my reflections on biblical commands, but my kids wanted to know what Russian Roulette was. So we ventured into dark territory.
It is a very sick, demented game played by individuals with little regard for their own lives. I explained that one bullet was placed into the cylinder of a revolver-style pistol, the cylinder spun, and the gun handed to one of the players. He would point it at his own head, pull the trigger, and hope that the gun only clicked on an empty chamber. They would all laugh, take a drink, and hand the gun to the next person who would repeat the same procedure. Chances were that someone would end up shooting themselves in the head before the gun made it around the table.
My son’s eyes grew wide and he innocently asked why drinking water would help someone after they tried to shoot themselves. We then discussed the effects of alcohol on the brain and the abusive destruction of excessive use upon one’s character.
My daughter frowned deeply and asked, why in the world would anyone do such a thing. This was one of those teachable moments. I related how this popular game continues to be actively played in this country by young and old alike.
Kids who experiment with drugs, play their own version of Russian Roulette.
Young people who follow their natural desires and venture into pre-marital fondling and intimacy, play Russian Roulette.
Adrenaline junkies who snow ski off extreme cliffs, who jump their bikes over excessive dangers, who flirt with disaster by seriously risking their lives, play Russian Roulette.
Those who try to attract attention by dressing provocatively, who publicly flaunt money to impress others, who openly humiliate others, who walk alone down dark alleys in the city, who persistently violate the law, who continually disrespect authority, who regularly go to excess and lose self-control, play Russian Roulette.
Of course, as far as God or their character is concerned, such behavior is not Russian Roulette but outright suicide. In that regard, all chambers of the gun are loaded. The game ends violently in death as soon as the “trigger” is pulled. That is the consequence of sin.
I tried to help my kids understand that this was not about avoiding risk. It was about the blatant disregard for God and for the gift of life by allowing ourselves to be exposed to extremes of likely abuse for the sake of personal desires.
Life is to be cherished, even in difficult circumstances, because it is a gift of God. How we treat our bodies and our minds directly reflects upon our view of our Creator.
For those who recognize this treasure and have surrendered themselves to Jesus, preferring to live for his purposes rather than their own, they have become the very Temple of the Most High.
Russian, American, Chinese, or Sudanese, we have all been made in the image of God. Let’s act like it!
Where have you recognized the temptation towards Russian Roulette and repented?