By Jiejing, Japan
I Inadvertently Became Addicted to Video Games
My dad is a video game lover. Whenever he had free time at home, he’d always be sitting in front of the computer playing one of his games while my brother and I sat by his side watching. Without even realizing, I also became enticed by the games’ beautiful graphics and looked forward to the day when I could try playing some of the games for myself. At that time, because my mother strictly forbade us from playing video games, I would wait until mom and dad had gone out and then sneak onto my dad’s computer to play, making sure to shut down the computer as soon as they came home. Gradually, I also began to really enjoy playing video games.
After I started high school, I finally got my own computer and could buy my own games. High school was really stressful—I wouldn’t get home at night until around 10 p.m., but as long as it was the weekend or I didn’t have a test the next day, I would go to my room to play video games. When I played, however, I would totally lose track of time. My mom would wake up in the middle of the night only to see that the light in my room was still on and would tell me to go to bed. I would tell her “Ok, I know,” but as soon as she left I would get right back to playing. Sometimes I’d feel really tired or have a headache, but the pull of uncompleted storylines would draw me right back in—I just couldn’t stop and sometimes would play through until the early morning hours. If I didn’t have class the next day it was alright—I could just take a nap during the day to recover. However, if I had class the next day I’d often feel sleepy and would be called out and reprimanded by my teachers. I would do my best to stay awake, but in such instances, I wouldn’t be able to absorb anything my teachers said. Slowly, I became completely absorbed with gaming. I was drawn in by the brilliant graphics and beautiful characters in the game and had no interest in anything outside of the gaming world. I didn’t even care about my studies—as long as my grades weren’t too egregious, then it was fine. I didn’t care at all about my own life and future, all I could think about was gaming. All I ever wanted to do was go home and start gaming.
On weekends, I almost never called friends to hang out. As soon as I got out of bed in the morning, the first thing I’d do was open up my computer and start gaming. I didn’t pay attention to my parents when they told me it was time to eat. I sat in front of the computer all day playing tirelessly and the only time I paused was when I was hungry. My mom became angry when she saw me like this and would scold me saying, “You just play games all day and never study. You don’t even come when we call you to eat! If you continue like this what kind of prospects will you have for the future?” However, no matter how my mother scolded me, I didn’t pay her the least bit of attention. Sometimes, when my mother would keep yelling at me incessantly, I’d become annoyed and talk back to her. This would make her even angrier.
Video Games Ruined My Youth
After starting college, I got more and more into gaming. I especially liked playing Japanese video games, so, to understand the plots of the games, I transferred into the Japanese department during my second year. Because the university I was attending was far from my home, I moved out of my parents’ house and got an apartment close to school. Without my parents breathing down my neck, I was free to game all night long. I slept less and less and only when my body just couldn’t handle it any longer did it occur to me that I had gone another night without sleeping. During the day if I wasn’t skipping class to make up on sleep, I was probably sleeping through class. I knew that my habits were having a negative impact on my health, but I just couldn’t resist the draw of video games. Every time I began playing, I’d say to myself that I was only going to play for a little bit, but as soon as I got going, there was no stopping me. Every time I felt really tired, I would regret staying up all night to game, but as soon as I had caught up on my sleep, I couldn’t help but dive right back in with abandon. When my mom would reprimand me for playing video games when I came home on the weekend, I would self-righteously explain that I was just doing it to practice my Japanese, after which she would usually relent.
One time, when I returned home, my parents looked at me with a start and, in a very concerned toned, asked me, “What happened to you? Why is your neck all swollen? Do you need to see a doctor?” I hadn’t noticed that there was anything wrong with my neck and even thought that my parents were overreacting, so I didn’t pay any attention to what they said. Later on, my parents decided I still should see a doctor and so they took me in for a check-up. As it turned out, the doctor said I had developed hyperthyroidism as a result of my poor sleeping habits. When the doctor delivered the diagnosis, I knew it was because I had been playing too many video games and hadn’t shown any restraint. Only then did I realize how serious things were and I suddenly felt very afraid. The doctor said that surgery was risky and I’d be better off to control the hyperthyroidism with medicine. He also said that I would probably have to take the medication for the rest of my life. I was utterly taken aback when I heard the news—I never imagined that I would contract this kind of medical condition at such a young age.
After developing hyperthyroidism, I became more anxious and easily angered, my hands shook and I often had palpitations. The medication I was taking also caused me to gain over twenty pounds in a short period of time. Because of my swollen neck and the fact that I had suddenly gone from being skinny to overweight, I got really down on myself and often complained about how unlucky I was. Yet, despite all this, I never considered that I should stop playing video games, but only limited myself to playing until a certain number of hours for fear of getting sick again. As my sleeping habits became more normal, I was able to put a little more time into my studies. One year after graduating and beginning work, I came to Japan for studies.
In February of 2017, my doctor, seeing that I hadn’t improved at all from taking medicine, recommended that I have surgery. After being successfully cured following surgery, I just couldn’t resist the temptation to stay up all night gaming. I reasoned to myself that the surgery was a success and so I probably wouldn’t relapse. I completely forgot all the pain and sickness that gaming had brought me and quickly sunk back into my gaming obsession with no hope of escape.
No Place for Video Games on the Right Path
In August of 2017, I received theof Almighty God. After entering into the Church, I saw the following passage of God’s word: “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. … 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.”
Only after reading God’s word did I learn that video games are tools Satan uses to deceive and corrupt mankind. Satan has used video games to construct a virtual world to lure people in. Within the games, Satan uses all kinds of interesting stories, beautiful graphics, and characters to deceive the hearts of men and make them completely willing and happy to fully invest themselves in the games, so that all they think of is gaming. They become indifferent to work and studies and are even willing to sacrifice their health to play into all hours of the night. Gradually, they lose the sense and habits of a normal human. Indeed, ever since I had got my first computer in high school, I became completely obsessed with gaming and paid little attention to my studies or the chidings of my teacher and parents. I even sacrificed meals and sleep for gaming like a drug addict. I had completely lost the life of a normal human. To understand the plots of Japanese games, I even learned Japanese and moved out of my parents’ house so I could game all night long. The result of all this was that I utterly destroyed my own health. Even then, I still didn’t realize how low I had stooped, and, after getting surgery, I went right back to playing absurd amounts of video games and eventually got to the point where I had no control over my gaming habit. Online gaming had poisoned me nearly beyond repair.
I remembered reading a story in the news about a boy who had gone crazy playing video games and could no longer distinguish between reality and the virtual world. He thought he was a character in a game and went around chopping real people up. At the time, I had thought that there was probably something wrong with his humanity, but I now knew that his mind had been controlled by Satan and this is what had made him lose the sense of a normal human. Thinking of this, I rejoiced in the fact that I had accepted God’s work in the last days and knew the reality of how Satan poisons and ravages people through gaming. Otherwise, I too would have been devoured by Satan. Only after reading the exposition of God’s words did I realize that gaming is not a good path, but is rather the way by which Satan corrupts and devours man. I realized how terrible gaming is and wanted to kick my gaming habit.
One time, after I asked some brothers and sisters to help me fix my computer, I noticed my games had been erased. I knew this was God trying to protect me. God knew I didn’t have the power to overcome sin, and so He went through the brothers and sisters to help me. After that, I didn’t reinstall the games and didn’t game again.
Kicking the Gaming Habit Isn’t Easy
At first, I could control myself quite well, but sometime later when I saw an ad for a game on my phone, I just couldn’t resist playing. I knew that God wouldn’t be pleased, but I reasoned that playing phone games probably wouldn’t be as disruptive to my life as playing games on the computer. I could limit my gaming time, and in this way avoid falling back into my old habits. After going back and forth for some time, I finally decided to download the game and ended up playing until late in the night. Once I had started, there was no stopping—I would even play secretly during online meetings and couldn’t quiet my heart to ponder over God’s words. I didn’t listen carefully when my brothers and sisters fellowshiped, and, ultimately, I stopped being moved by God’s word and felt dark and numb inside. This situation lasted for quite some time—I was unhappy with myself and worried that if I kept up in this way I would be abandoned by God, but I also didn’t want to seek the truth to resolve my problems. I couldn’t bear to abandon gaming halfway through a game. In this way, I continued to be controlled by videogames.
Just when I had completely lost control, God’s discipline came raining down upon me. Whenever I played games during the meeting, my head and eyes would feel tight and painful. At first, I thought nothing of it and continued playing. After a few times, however, I knew this must be a sign from God—it was God’s way of warning me. I clearly understood that gaming was bad and would negatively affect my life. I also knew that God despised people that were always gaming and yet I just wasn’t willing to stop playing. I continued to indulge my flesh and didn’t even feel the slightest desire to repent. If I continued in this way, I would be in danger of being abandoned by God. Reflecting on these things, I became worried and frightened by my own behavior.
I saw a passage of God’s word that says, “Playing games is not something that just follows social trends. If you cannot even quit such a small matter, or control yourself, then you are in danger. … 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.” It was true that, though I believed in God, I would still feel like gaming whenever I was bored. At first I thought that I was just undisciplined and that as long as I restricted my gaming time, I could control myself. I never imagined that even after trying to restrict gaming time, I still couldn’t stop playing, I couldn’t control myself. It was only then that I realized how truly terrible games are. Video games are like a drug, as soon as you try them, you get latched on and can’t let go. This led me to acknowledge that all that God had exposed in His word is fact; video games truly do deceive and control people. Satan’s evil desire to devour mankind is disguised within these games. If I didn’t see through Satan’s treacherous plot, I would be unable to overcome the enticements and temptations the games presented me with and the result would be very dangerous. In order to help save me from Satan’s harm, God had orchestrated certain events to remind me. The pounding headaches I got from playing games were God’s way of forcing me to come before Him seeking the truth; God had also used His words to exhort me to stop what I was doing and repent to Him. I felt God’s compassion and patience. I was no longer willing to be hardened and rebellious. As such, I prayed to God and sought for a way to resolve my gaming addiction.
Finally Overcoming My Gaming Addiction
After concluding my, I read the following passage of God’s word: “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.” I found a path of practice in God’s words. Because we live in a world of evil corrupted by Satan, we constantly face Satan’s temptation. Also, because we are small in stature and can’t easily overcome temptation, we should often pray to God asking Him to ensure that our hearts do not stray from Him, and do not fall prey to Satan’s deception and temptation. At the same time, we also must read more of God’s word, seek the truth more, and arm ourselves with truth so that we may distinguish good from evil and not be tempted and deceived by Satan. Having realized this, I deleted my games and consciously put more effort and time into church meetings and reading God’s words. Gradually, my situation improved and I attained some enlightenment and understanding in my reading of God’s word.
One day later on, while browsing on the internet, I came across an ad for a new game that seemed to have beautiful characters and an interesting plot. Out of curiosity, I clicked in and downloaded the game. That night, I played the game until very late. I realized that I had once again fallen prey to Satan’s temptation. I told myself that I shouldn’t acquiesce to my desires and continue playing, so I immediately prayed to God, saying, “Dear God, through Your discipline, I have already made the pledge to quit gaming, but here I am once again unable to control myself. Dear God, I pray that You give me strength, protect me from falling prey to temptation and allow me to truly grasp the horrible consequences of gaming.” After concluding my prayer, I felt a sense of peace. I thought of how, in the past, I always first satisfied the desires of my flesh and was unwilling to betray myself and practice God’s word. Only in retrospect, would I realize that I had spent the whole day gaming and, only then would I feel regretful for having wasted so much time. It occurred to me that the games I was playing took place in the virtual world—no matter how much time I spent on them, I would never get anything real out of playing. I was just wasting my time. If I hadn’t limited my playing time after getting sick, and kept playing as I used to, gaming would have probably totally ruined my future. I could have been doing something really meaningful with that time! Having realized all this, it became clear to me that Satan uses gaming to corrupt mankind. Not only does Satan use the violence and evil in games to debase our bodies and minds, sink us into the deepest misery, and rob us of our normal thought processes and reason, it also uses games to deprive us of all our waking hours, so that we have no time to reflect on our lives, come before God to praise Him and establish a normal relationship with God. At that point, I hated myself for wasting so many good hours on video games and hated Satan even more for using games to torment and deceive mankind. I decided, then and there, to thoroughly break free of the fetters and strictures with which video games had bound me and devote myself to pursuing the truth. I resolutely deleted the game and went to bed.
Later on, there were a few times when I was bored on my commute to work and wanted to download games on my phone to play and pass the time. However, just as I started playing, I would feel something was off and knew that God was reprimanding me. At such times, I would pray to God to protect me from the temptation of gaming. After praying, I wouldn’t have the same strong desire to play and would delete the game right away and start listening to hymns of God’s words. Listening to hymns of God’s words would help me to relax and let go. Gradually, I started to find video games boring and I was able to quiet myself and diligently read God’s word, study and work. I finally regained the life of a normal human. Not long after that, I started to fulfill my duty in the Church. I used all of my free time to fulfill my duty and, so, there was little time to think about gaming. Without the influence of gaming, my life and habits became more normal and I started living a very fulfilling life.
Reflecting back on my experience of being tormented by video games, I’ve realized that it would have been very hard to overcome my drug-like gaming habit if it hadn’t been for the exposition and enlightenment of God’s words. My life very well may have gone to waste. It was God’s word that allowed me to gain new life, lead a life of meaning and live in the light. I am willing to work hard to fulfill my duties and repay God’s love. Thanks be to God!