By Siwen, Myanmar
Indulging in online games, I led a decadent life.
I was not a game addict until one day my friends invited me to play games in an Internet café. That day when I told them I didn’t know how to play games, they promised that it was easy to learn. So I thought: “Since it is easy and I also have nothing to do, why not try it out?” As I stood in front of the computer seeing my friends skillfully operating the keyboards, my heart was stirred and soon I was attracted by the characters of the games. Under the guidance of my friends, I learned how to operate. After a period of time, I was totally addicted to online games with my mind always filled with various scenes in the games like fighting with enemies, burning their castles, beating levels, and winning battles.
Each time I entered into the world of games, I would not stop to take a rest or have meals, feeling it would be a waste of my time. I would keep playing with an empty stomach until I was unable to hold on any longer. Then I would buy instant cup noodles and eat while playing. Most times I would play games all night long and wouldn’t leave the Internet café until I had to go to work the next morning. When at work, I was already drained of all energy and felt so sleepy that I often dozed off and sometimes even failed to catch what my colleagues were saying. Yet the moment I went back to playing games in the Internet café after work, I would again feel invigorated. I kept living this way for a long time until I got kidney stones.
Recuperating at home just provided more time for me to play games. When tired from sitting there playing, I would lie down and carry on and, when I got a sore back lying on the bed, I would then stand up to play. Sometimes even when I was using the toilet, my eyes were still glued to the games. I kept playing games and wouldn’t go to bed until midnight. Just like this, I poured all my thought into games. I remember once when my brother called and asked me to buy some groceries and cook the meal. As I was engaged with the game at that time, I thought running those errands would take up a lot of my time. Fearing that he would call again and disturb me, I simply turned off my cellphone. When my brother returned home and blamed me for being idle every day, I just ignored him and kept on playing games. Later, because my family would often call me whenever something came up, which affected me playing games, I then blacklisted all of them on my phone.
Because I played games day and night and didn’t have meals regularly, I often felt dispirited, my body was wasted, and my eyes also got short-sighted. Besides, with my mind filled with nothing but games, I lost normal communication and interaction with my family and friends, alone living in a virtual world. More than that, I became more and more irritable and would frequently lose my temper—I had turned into a completely different person. Seeing how deeply I was mired in online games, my brother thought I was so incorrigible that it was no use urging, scolding, or cold-shouldering me. He always moaned and groaned and could do nothing but just watch me indulge myself this way.
The guidance of God’s words allowed me to see through how the online games harmed people.
Just as I was sliding into decadence and depravity, I was fortunate to accept God’s work of the last days in September, 2018 and began to participate in church life together with my brothers and sisters. Learning that I was infatuated with online games and unable to free myself from them, they read me a passage of God’s words, “What things now constitute the thoughts and souls of the majority of young people in the world? Eating, drinking, and playing games. Everything they say and think is inhuman. One cannot use the words ‘dirty’ or ‘evil’ to describe the things they think about; so many of them are inhuman. … These people cannot do well with their studies, and if they are made to exert themselves working at a job, are they then willing to do this? When you make them work at a job, what then do they think? They think: ‘What’s the point in working? This work is so tiring. How long do I have to do this work for? Playing games is so much more fun, relaxing and enjoyable. What will I get from working? Even though you work, you still get to eat three meals a day. I haven’t seen you get anywhere good. It’s great playing games. As soon as I sit down in front of a computer, I have everything I need. I have a virtual world and living in that virtual world is enough for me!’ And if you make them work 9 till 5, getting to work on time and working fixed hours—how do they feel about that? Are they willing to stick to those times? When someone always plays games and always plays on the computer, then their will disappears and they become decadent, and they have no normal humanity. They become filled with the violence and killing of these games and with the things of the virtual world. The things of normal humanity are stripped away by these games, filled and forcibly occupied by them, and they forcibly occupy any room they have for thought; they are then decadent. … 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.”
The brothers and sisters then fellowshiped with me, “Online gaming is an evil trend that arises from Satan in order to seduce and corrupt man. Once we get addicted to online games, our hearts will be completely possessed by them. Living in the virtual world all day long, we no longer have interest in anything that normal humanity should pursue and possess, but are only concerned about those violent and evil things in the games. We would rather not eat and sleep but carry on playing online games, indulging ourselves in trivial pleasures without any desire to make progress—this is all harm that is done to us by the evil trends of Satan. If we don’t believe in God, we will have no truth and thus cannot distinguish between positive and negative things. We will be unable to see the danger of online games but will enjoy them instead. It’s really so pathetic and sad….”
The revelation of God’s words and the fellowship of the brothers and sisters deeply touched my heart, allowing me to understand that online gaming is an evil trend given rise to by Satan. I thought of how, since I got addicted to online games, my heart was completely taken over by them. I played games all night long and even felt it a waste of time to eat and sleep. Not only that, but I didn’t wash clothes or cook meals. I had no normal communication with my family, much less showed any concern or understanding for them but was completely living in a virtual world. Having seen how greatly Satan harmed me through games, I made up my mind to quit playing them and start afresh. I wished to read God’s words more, have gatherings and fellowship with my brothers and sisters more, and pursue the truth to walk the right path of life.
Although I had gained some understanding of the harm and corruption online games brought to people and I also wanted to free myself from them, I still didn’t possess the power to overcome sin and hadn’t seen through the essence of how Satan used online games to destroy people’s mind and body, so I was again and again trapped into games when Satan used people and things around me to tempt and entice me.
Once, a team member said to me, “Our rankings are all higher than yours. So hurry and play, otherwise you’ll never be able to catch up with us.” Upon hearing this, I was afraid that they would think my skills were poor and thus look down on me, so again I threw myself into playing games. As time slipped by, I finished one round after another until I won the final battle. However, when I quieted down after that, I felt bored and empty in my heart and realized that I actually had gained nothing, so I told myself I would never play again. However, whenever my friends came to tempt or goad me, I would again fall into the game world. Struggling like this several times, I felt very distressed and helpless. I thought: “I’d made up my mind that I would never play games, so why did I always fail to quit it? Isn’t this deceiving God?”
At a meeting, I opened up with my brothers and sisters about my situation, and they then showed me a passage from: “Satan destroys your mind, making you powerless to resist, meaning that very slowly your heart turns toward Satan in spite of yourself. It instills these things in you every day, every day using these ideas and cultures to influence and nurture you, very slowly ruining your will, making you not want to be a good person any longer, making you no longer wish to stand up for what you call righteousness. Unknowingly, you no longer have the willpower to swim upstream against the tide, but instead flow down along with it. ‘Destruction’ means Satan torments people so much that they become like neither man nor ghost, then it seizes the opportunity to devour them. … anything Satan does and any means it employs can cause you to degenerate, can bring you under Satan’s control and can mire you in a quagmire of evil. These are the means Satan employs to corrupt man.”
From within God’s word, I saw that Satan just used online games to constantly ruin my body, mind and will, making my heart slowly turn toward it until being completely possessed and controlled by it. I thought of how at first I hardly knew anything about online games and wasn’t interested in them either, how I came into contact with them through my friends inviting me to play in the Internet cafés time and again, and how, little by little, I sank into the world of online games until finally being inescapably entrapped by it and losing the life a normal person should have. After I had come before God and resolved to never again play online games, Satan still didn’t let me off and used the people around me to tempt and rope me in. As a result, I couldn’t stop myself from getting trapped again and put the resolution I had made before God to the back of my mind. My ability to self-discipline and desire to seek the truth became less, and I was completely living under the domain of Satan, abused by it. That was when I saw that online games were one way in which Satan corrupts and harms man. It just wants us to be bound by it, lose the desire to go toward the light and seek the truth, and become decadent and degenerate. I thought about many people who suffered from gaming addiction, among whom some had abandoned their studies, some had ruined their careers, and some even died suddenly when playing online games. Only then did I truly see how despicable and malicious it was for Satan to use online games to corrupt and bind people. If I was never able to abandon online games, I would ultimately be devoured by Satan and the consequences would be very serious. Thinking of this, I set my resolve to completely forsake Satan.
Free from online games, my life again burst out in splendor.
Afterward, I decided to not play again. However, when my friends were playing games around me, the screams of excitement they let out as well as the various sounds in the games kept luring me. Unable to resist it, I sometimes would come close to look. When I realized that I had again been seduced by the games, I would feel my heart accused.
One day, I read these words of God: “You should implore God often, that you not fall into temptation, and that you not be deceived by Satan. In this evil age, in this age infested by unclean spirits and devils, you should pray that God’s kindness and protection will often be with you, that He looks after you and protects you, so that your heart won’t leave God, and you can strive to use your heart and your honesty to worship God.” God’s words showed me a path for how to betray Satan and completely break free from online games. Although I still lacked stature to triumph over Satan, I could pray and rely on God, asking Him to give me the faith and strength to no longer follow Satan in sinning and rebelling against God. Therefore, I made a prayer to God, saying, “O God, I’ve seen how harmful online games are to us and how Satan uses them to destroy my body and mind, but I can’t free myself from them. I beg You to give me the strength to break free from the bonds of online games. Please discipline and punish me if I play again….”
Amazingly, after I started to practice this way, once when I had the idea to play games, I felt a terrible headache and nausea and had palpitations. Immediately, I remembered the resolution I had made before God, so I turned back to God and came before Him to pray and rely on Him, and then my symptoms disappeared right away. I knew this was God’s love coming upon me and that He was protecting me from being captured by Satan. Just like this, through praying and relying on God, I gradually broke out of the binds of online games and lived before God every day, feeling more and more liberated in my heart.
In the days that followed, my online friends would send me messages asking me to play with them, and sometimes I would just reply with an emoji to say that I had quitted. They were all surprised that I suddenly made a change for the better and quitted my gaming addiction. I even heard my brother tell others how incredible it was that I, who used to treat online games as my lifeblood, no longer played them. I felt very happy to hear this. Thanks be to God for leading me to be free from online games so that my once-decadent life could wax radiant again. All glory be to Almighty God!