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What Squid Game Can Teach Us About Faith

October 11, 2021

Squid Game is set to break the record for the most watched Netflix show in the world, and it’s popularity is breaking into pop culture, the media, and even faith.

*WARNING* We will be discussing plot points associated with Squid Game, so if you haven’t watched and don’t want spoilers, we have lots of other great articles you can read.

Starring Lee Jung-jae, Park Hae-soo, and Wi Ha-jun, Squid Game follows the story of Seong Gi-hun, a divorced father who struggles with a gambling addiction, and is desperate to win back money to pay off his debts, and get in a better standing in life to be with his daughter.

He signs up for a mysterious game where hundreds of other players desperate for cash play childhood games, and if they lose or refuse to play, they are “eliminated” (or, as you’ll find out quickly, killed)

What could such a gory, terrifying and depressing concept possibly have to teach us about our faith?

We willingly choose sin, knowing it’s consequences

One of the early plot points that really stood out to me was in Episode 2, when the players all voted whether or not to keep playing, now knowing that death was on the line. The players votes to stop, and were all sent home. In 24 hours, 95% of the players willingly chose to return, knowing full well that they may never return.

Sin has a similar way of luring us in. Many times, when we struggle, we know the consequences, either from seeing them first hand, or deep down knowing where it could lead. The chance of any positive outcome is either extremely small or non existent, yet we willingly choose anyway.

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning.

1 John 3:4-10

We sometimes knowingly hurt those around us

Throughout the series, we see so many instances of characters causing harm on each other, and others taking time to help each other. In episode 6, “Gganbu”, we see this put into practice in the most literal of ways. Players are each given 10 marbles, and 30 minutes to decide on a game. Whoever wins 20 marbles will win, and the other will be eliminated.

Gi-hun gets paired with his closest ally in the games, “Player 001”, and while they are playing odds/evens, takes advantage of an opportunity to knowingly lie to give himself a better chance to win, even though it is at the expense of someone he cares deeply about. In the end, “Player 001” confronts him on his lies and sacrifices himself so that Gi-hun can continue in the game.

What I found incredibly moving about this scene is how most people I’ve talked to who have seen this episode gets angry with Gi-hun for lying, when so many times we do the exact same thing as he did in our own relationships. Husbands can hurt their spouses, siblings can hurt their siblings, children can hurt their parents, and friends can hurt their friends, but how we move on from these moments is what can define us as Christ-followers.

When we realize we are causing harm on those we love, are we striving to become better people, or are we continuing to cause hurt?

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.

1 John 4:20

Kindness and Honesty Prevails

When the players decide to build baricades to protect themselves from each other through the night, and rotate taking watch, an interesting conversation happens.

Gi-hun is placing the beds to protect them when Deok-su, the hateable mobster comes over to threaten him. Instead of reacting, attacking, or anything else, Gi-hun warns him, asking him if he really trusts those around him, causing him to look at those he’s been working with in a new light.

Gi-hun has no reason to show any shred of kindness to Deok-su. He had no reason to even talk to him, however, he decided to calmly talk and give him friendly advice.

Throughout the series we constantly see players cheating, taking advantage of each other, lying, even stealing to make it to the next game, and each of these instances shows short term gains, but long term consequences.

Sin has the same effect on our lives. We may feel short term victories, short term pleasure, but inevitably, the purpose of avoiding sinning is to grow closer to God, but also not to cause harm to other people. Can anyone name a sin that doesn’t come with a risk of causing harm to ourselves or others?

You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. 

Matthew 5:43

Our culture is quick to demonize anything new or popular in pop culture, looking for ways to see it as harmful. Yes, in many ways, the gory imagery and tense plotlines of Squid Game can cause some to have issues, but I always encourage people to try and find Biblical or Faith conversation points whenever you view something new.

It’s fun to talk about with friends, and might just grow your faith too.

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