Repetition and Resident Evil 4
Have you played Capcom’s Resident Evil remakes?
They are all spectacular.
The way that they’ve remained faithful to the original games while also bringing vast improvements has allowed series veterans and first-timers alike to dive into an exciting world of plagues, zombies, and massive monsters.
Does that sound exciting? I think I made it sound not-so-exciting. It’s exciting, trust me.
I’ve recently been playing through the Resident Evil 4 remake. While they did a great job removing some of the things that haven’t aged well (quick time events, inability to move while aiming, etc), I’ve been even happier to see the things they’ve kept in the game.
I am, of course, talking about the shooting gallery.
In Resident Evil 4 (both old and new), the enigmatic Merchant has somehow constructed an automated shooting gallery beneath the infected village. The player is able to take an elevator down to a large room, where they are challenged to shoot wooden pirates and avoid shooting wooden sailors. If the players do well, they’re rewarded with coins they can use to gain charms that help you throughout the game. The higher score you get, the better coins you get.
The very moment I walked into this gallery, I decided I was going to get the highest score on all the challenges.
It took time, and no small amount of it. I played each challenge dozens of times. It was difficult, and sometimes very frustrating, but every round I got a little better, learned a new lesson, discovered a new strategy. Even when I failed, I was able to take my failure and let it inform my next attempt.
And finally, after much repetition, I succeeded. I completed all the goals on each challenge, and was handsomely rewarded for doing so.
The next day, I was reading through Hebrews 12, and found a surprising correlation.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.” Hebrews 12:1-3
I was a youth and young adult pastor for 10 years, and something that I remember hearing fairly often was, “I’m trying to stop [fill in the blank sin], but it’s just so hard.” So many people, of all ages, have confessed struggles with overcoming sin (myself included!)
Why would we think it would be easy?
Okay, maybe we didn’t think it would be easy, but so many of us have clearly underestimated how difficult it would be to free ourselves from particular sins. But here, we see the author of Hebrews saying that sin easily entangles, that we could grow weary or lose heart trying to overcome it. This is not something that happens easily or quickly.
It’s something that takes repetition.
Try. Fail. Learn.
Try. Fail. Learn.
This is not a moment, it’s a race, a constant journey away from the habits we had formed in the past. We can’t allow ourselves to give up, to move on and say that it’s no use and that we’ll never succeed. We need to continue to try, to fight against sin with all that we have. Make no mistake, you will fail. You will fail a lot. But every time we fail, we learn a new lesson, find a new strategy. And every time we persevere, we get closer to truly being free.
And freedom from sin is, indeed, a handsome reward.
Even better than 5% off of all weapon upgrades.