By Yangying, United States
The First Time I See an Online Game, I’m Filled With Curiosity
While studying at vocational school, I chose to major in computer science. I hadn’t been at the school long when I heard from a classmate that many people were playing online games, and how fun and interesting they were, and that those who couldn’t play them were behind the times. Hearing my classmate say this, my interest in playing these games was even more piqued, and so, with a mind filled with curiosity, my career with playing games began.
Not long after I had my first contact with online games, I was taken over by them. This was because, in these games, I could do many things that I couldn’t do in real life. I could drive cars, for example, and go wherever I wanted, and this felt great. I could also drive a tank or pilot a ship and fight with enemies, and after winning I was left with such a sense of accomplishment. I enjoyed it a lot, whether I was just playing a game or winning a battle. Each time I stopped playing a game, I would always be thinking how to beat my enemies in the shortest time and get an even better battle score…. In this way, my mind gradually became filled with all manner of games. I thought about them all day and all night, and I would even call out the names of these games in my dreams.
Trapped in Online Games, I Could Do Nothing but Carry On
Without realizing it, online gaming became the main theme of my life, and I went crazy and wild for it. Each time I went to computer class, the teacher would be talking on his platform and I would be below, secretly playing an online game with several of my classmates. I would be fully engaged with the game and would completely forget the teacher even existed. The teacher gave me several warnings, but I remained unmoved, and persisted in my ways no matter what was said. When the game was upgraded, my classmates and I would climb over the wall in the evening and go to an Internet café, and we would frantically play online games all night long. The 300 yuan my parents gave me every month for living expenses was almost all spent on playing online games. Later on, I began to make all kinds of excuses so I could take my leave to play online games. If I was not given leave, then I would just skip lessons, and from Monday to Friday I would play games every day until around 4 the next morning. On weekends, I would play all night long, and if I wasn’t napping in the daytime then I was thinking of how to improve my skills and battle scores. I had no mind to study whatsoever, and my school grades markedly declined. Sometimes when I saw my terrible grades, I would feel bad for my parents, thinking how difficult it was for them to work hard to earn the money to send me to this school, and that I must not abandon my studies because I was too busy playing games. But the moment I started playing a game, my whole mind became filled with how I could play well at the game, and my feelings of guilt and regret for my parents all disappeared. Because I was up every night playing online games in the Internet café for such a long time, and because I had no normal routine and would often just eat instant cup noodles, I became malnourished and developed low blood pressure, and my health got worse and worse. One time, in a sports lesson at school, because I hadn’t enough physical strength, I almost fainted on the ball court. Although I realized that playing games was harming my health, that it was bad for my physical development, that it was having a big impact on my studies and I wanted to quit it and not play them anymore, whenever I heard my classmates discussing how to play these games, my desire to play them would begin to swell and I would soon be participating in the games again—I simply had no control over myself! In this kind of situation, it was easier said than done to quit my gaming addiction. Therefore, I felt helpless and distressed, but I still didn’t have the strength to free myself from it.
After graduating, I went straight into work, but such a dull, monotonous job made me feel very bored, and so I threw myself into playing online games even more. A month’s wages were basically spent on gaming equipment and Internet fees. Because I often stayed up all night playing games, I had little energy, I would often make mistakes at work and I cut my fingers on the machines many times. One time, as I was on my way to an Internet café in the early morning, I was even robbed at knifepoint by a gang of thieves. They beat and kicked me, and I almost died. Though indulging in online gaming was causing me such harm, I was still deeply attracted to it, and all I could do was carry on playing.
Where Is the Path to Free Myself From Gaming Addiction?
It wasn’t long before my parents found out about my having been robbed at knifepoint, and they cautioned me over and over not to indulge in online gaming anymore. As I listened to them, I thought about the damage online games had caused me over the years of being at school and in work, and I thought about the people I’d met online and many of my classmates and friends, some of whom had become absent-minded from playing online games for such a long time and then died suddenly in Internet cafes, some of whom had gone out robbing and stealing in order to get the money to play these games and had embarked on an unlawful, sinful path, and some of whom had even thought the people around them to be monsters, and murdered them…. Thinking of this, I felt somewhat fearful and I saw that indulging in online games was really a bad thing, and that it was of no benefit to my life at all but, on the contrary, brought about many bad consequences. I realized that I couldn’t keep playing these games, and so I looked online and found some methods to quit. But no matter how I tried to restrain myself from playing, whenever my addiction began to surge up, I would feel like ten thousand ants were biting at my bones and scratching at my heart, and I couldn’t take it anymore and would start playing again, unable to control myself. After playing, I would sink into deep remorse and would be determined not to play again. But the next time, I would still be unable to control myself. And so, I felt incredibly pained and I suffered a great deal, and I wished so much that someone would help me to be free of online games.
In My Helplessness, God’s Salvation Comes to Me
One day, a friend preached to me God’s gospel of the last days, and I read these words of God: “No one actively seeks out God’s footsteps or the appearance He manifests, and no one is willing to exist in the care and keeping of God. Rather, they are willing to rely on the corrosion of Satan, the evil one, in order to adapt to this world and to the rules of existence that wicked mankind follows. At this point, the heart and spirit of man are offered up as a tribute to Satan and become Satan’s sustenance. Even more, the human heart and spirit have become a place in which Satan can reside and its fitting playground” (“God Is the Source of Man’s Life”). “A world in man’s heart with no place for God is dark, empty without hope” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). God’s words really spoke to my heart. I had lived in this world and yet never knew there was a God, much less that I should rely on Him. I had just been carried along by the tide of life, and I had been simply unable to differentiate between what was right and what was wrong, what people should pursue and what they should spurn. When the people around me were playing games, saying how great and how fun playing games was and that those who didn’t play them were behind the times, I became filled with curiosity about them and started playing. But then it all got out of hand and I became involuntarily mired in it, my entire mind became filled with it, and not only did I let my studies slip by the wayside, but I squandered all my energy too. It affected my health and caused my life to suffer all kinds of unfortunate things, to the point where I almost lost my life when I was robbed at knifepoint by a gang of thieves as I was on my way to play online games. Although I knew that playing online games was bad for me and I wanted to quit, yet I couldn’t free myself from it no matter what I did, and I lived in a state of emptiness and pain, and felt such a sense of darkness and helplessness. Only when I read God’s words did I understand that all this had happened because I’d not come before God, because I hadn’t understood the truth, and because I’d been living in the domain of Satan and was being harmed by it. Coming to this realization, I felt how greatly I needed God’s salvation. Otherwise, if I just relied on myself, I would simply be unable to quit my gaming addiction. I knew that I should come before God to worship Him, pursue the truth, practice according to God’s words and rely on God to free myself from my gaming addiction. Later on, I began actively to perform my duty in the church and I often spread the gospel together with my brothers and sisters. I really enjoyed the life of attending meetings and performing my duty together with my brothers and sisters, and I felt very enriched and joyful. Gradually, the time I spent playing online games decreased, my life became increasingly regulated, and my whole spirit and demeanor improved greatly compared to how I was before.
I Clearly See the Essence of Online Games and Shun Them Completely
Because I understood too few truths, however, although I spent a lot less time playing online games than I had before, I was still unable to withstand the seduction of playing them, and I still played them on occasion whenever time permitted. Each time I finished playing, I would feel a sense of self-reproach, and yet I still had no way to control myself. In my pain, I prayed to God, saying: “O God! I know that indulging in online games is not the right thing to do and that it is at odds with Your will. But I can’t control myself, and I can’t free myself from it no matter how much I want to. O God! I don’t want to continue to be toyed with and harmed by Satan in this way. I wish to practice in accordance with Your requirements and accept Your scrutiny. I ask that You lead me to be free from online games.”
I then read these words of God: “The devil Satan does these things in order to lure people, to cause them to degenerate. For those who live in the virtual world, they have no interest whatsoever in anything to do with the life of normal humanity; they are not in the mood to work or study. They are only concerned about going to the virtual world, as though they are being enticed by something. The second they get bored, or when they are doing some real work, they want to play games instead, and playing games gradually becomes their whole life. Playing games is like taking a kind of drug. Once someone becomes addicted to it, then it becomes hard to get away from it and hard to quit. So regardless of whether it is young people or older people, once they catch this bad habit, it becomes difficult to give it up. … Tell Me, is playing games something that normal humanity should do? If games were needed for normal humanity, if it were the right path, then how come people cannot quit them? How come people can be captivated by them to such a degree? This proves one thing: That is not a good path. Surfing online for this or for that, looking at some things that aren’t healthy and playing games—none of this is a good path to take. These are not the right paths. … This evil world uses all manner of ways to attract those who have not seen through the world and the evil trends of mankind. It specially lures these people. If you cannot often come before God, if your heart and your brain are often blank, then you will be in danger” (“Believers First Need to See Through the Evil Trends of the World”).
Only through the revelations in God’s words did I understand that online games were one way in which Satan corrupts man. Once infected by it, a person will become increasingly decadent and degenerate, and in the end they will be harmed and devoured by Satan. I used to have such a simplistic view of these games, believing that playing online games was just a way to pass the time and to distract myself with entertainment; everyone else was playing them, so it was no big deal if I played them too. But in fact, behind these games were the cunning schemes of Satan; the worlds in these games are filled with violence, murder and iniquity, and within these virtual worlds, one can temporarily satisfy all one’s desires. This is how Satan tempts us and corrupts us, allowing us to satisfy all manner of desires to the maximum extent, and making us become so infatuated with the games that we have no power to free ourselves from them. When I thought about it, every time I drove a car anywhere in a game and enjoyed myself, I felt so excited, and I felt great happiness and enjoyment; some games could satisfy my desire to be a hero, and every time I was victorious over an enemy in a battle and I won the esteem and adoration of my fellow gamers, I would feel very powerful and would have a great sense of achievement; in some games, I could buy pets, and if I played well I would attract a lot of female players to partner with me. This really satisfied my vanity, and my energy at playing these games grew greater. Furthermore, when playing these games, I didn’t need to walk anywhere or do any tiring work, but instead I could realize the unobtainable dream we all shared of being able to live however I wanted and have everything without suffering. Therefore, we were involuntarily hooked tight by all these games and we enjoyed it. But after a short period of satisfaction and enjoyment, our hearts would feel empty and pained, and we would be reluctant to part from the happy life in the games. No matter what the time was, we always wanted to be immersed in that virtual world, and we became sunk so deeply into it that we were unable to escape, our studies were abandoned, and we ruined our futures. Just then, I finally understood that online games were nothing but a cheap trick used by Satan the devil to lure and tease people with, to make them degenerate, and in the end to harm them and devour them. They were a wicked path and were entirely negative things. Because before I didn’t have God’s words or the truth to wield as weapons, I had been unable to resist Satan’s temptations, and so I was seduced and controlled by Satan, and I ended up draining my energy through seeking trivial pleasures, and I became increasingly decadent and degenerate. Through the revelations within God’s words, I came to have discernment of these games and I saw the serious consequences of playing them, and I resolved to shun them and forsake them completely.
One day, a colleague at work asked me to play a game with him, saying that it was the year’s most popular game. He said that if one played it really well, one could earn money from it. As he said this, he showed me pictures of it and told me all about it. After listening to his explanation of this game, my heart was a little swayed and I wanted to try it out. But thinking of the damage that playing games had previously caused my life and my health, and the emptiness and pain I felt after playing them, as well as the revelations about games in God’s words, I realized that playing games was meaningless and that it could not make me understand the truth or live out a true human likeness, but could only allow Satan to continue to harm me. So, I said to my colleague: “I’ve suffered a lot from playing games in the past. We don’t play these games; these games play us. Although online games can give us momentary happiness, indulging in them for too long can only make us more and more degenerate, and they have no benefit for our hearts or our minds. I don’t play them anymore.” My colleague saw my earnest attitude and didn’t encourage me to play online games again. I was so thankful to God, for this result was achieved by God’s words. Thanks be to God!
I Find My Direction and Regain My Freedom
Later, I read a hymn of God’s words that says: “Young people should not be without ideals, aspirations, or a temperament of enthusiastic advancement; they should not be disheartened about their prospects nor should they lose hope in life or lose confidence in the future; they should have the perseverance to continue along the way of truth that they have now chosen to realize their wish to expend their entire lives for God. Young people should not be without the truth, nor should they harbor hypocrisy and unrighteousness, but they should stand firm in the proper stance. They should not just drift along, but they should have a spirit of daring to sacrifice and struggle for justice and the truth, for justice and the truth. Young people should have the bravery to not succumb to the oppression of the forces of darkness and to transform the significance of their existence” (“The Pursuit Young People Should Have” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). This hymn of God’s words encouraged me, and it enabled me to understand God’s requirements and hopes for me. I thought back to how I had been deceived by evil trends and had become infatuated with online games, dissipating my energy through trivial pleasures, muddling along in a daze all day, living befuddled as though in a dream, my heart empty and in pain. I lost the life a normal person should have, I had no proper direction or goals in life, I didn’t know the meaning of life, and I lived bound and toyed with by Satan in unbearable pain. I give thanks to God’s salvation, for it was God who brought me before Him and, through the revelations in God’s words, I came to know the essence of these games, to be able to discern the cunning schemes of Satan, to understand thoroughly Satan’s despicable intent to use these games to harm and damage people, and I managed to escape from Satan’s deceptions and harm. I would no longer be bound by Satan, and I came to live liberated and free before God. God’s words showed me the right direction and goals to pursue, and I knew that I should grab hold of this time to believe in and follow God in all earnestness, pursue the truth and be an honest person, and perform the duty of a created being well to satisfy the Creator. Only this is the most meaningful life!
Now, I am finally free from the bonds of online gaming. Every day, I focus on pursuing the truth and being an honest person, I spread the gospel and bear witness to God alongside my brothers and sisters, and I live an enriched life. My heart is filled with peace and joy, and I give thanks to God for leading me to this new life!
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