[What follows is my personal testimony. This post will be accessible as a permanent page at the top as well.]
When I was a child, my parents took me to church on a regular basis. Very little of the religious instruction which I received stuck with me, however a general belief in the existence of God was fixed in the back of my mind. This thought stuck with me from my childhood on up through my young adult years, and provided me with an advantage which later allowed me to seek the Lord in a time of need and distress. Eventually my parents divorced and in response my father pulled me out of Church.
The events surrounding the divorce of my parents devastated me as a child. Having never been much of a social creature to begin with, much of my free time was spent in my room playing video games. I had always been an avid gamer as a child, and from that time period forward until I gave my life over to the Lord this had been a well established addiction. Sinking deeper into the world with each passing day, religious instruction and the very thought of God faded out of my mind. Eventually the Lord drifted out of my life completely.
Some time later during the end of my teenage years, I once again crossed paths with tragedy. Tears had become my daily bread as I continued my descent into despair. Conquered by my own miseries and unable to escape the clutches of heartache I sunk ever deeper into darkness. Yet I limped forward and fought, managing survival on a day-to-day basis. With no craving in my heart for attention, I sought to camouflage my pain that I not take the notice of others. I became exceedingly efficient with each passing effort to cloak my sorrow in secrecy, rarely if ever catching the notice of any. Overwhelmed with utter anguish, my mind then conjured the deepest of philosophical questions to which many I associated with could provide no satisfactory answer.
As this time period reached its close, I turned to the Lord. Inquiry about him sprang up in my mind, and slowly but surely I plied my father with question. The family’s religious background made him the logical candidate with which to share my sudden craving to investigate spiritual things. Consulting my father over the subject every weekend, I searched for answers until finally lead to the Lord. Prayer gradually became routine and I began to peruse the Bible. Yet a conflict always existed between my addiction to video games and my curiosity about our heavenly father.
My addiction engaged in continual warfare with my investigations. Every effort to investigate the Bible was confronted with the sudden overpowering temptation to obtain my latest fix. Unaware of the warfare taking place, the battle raged on. Eventually I found myself confronted with a conflict between a plain duty laid out in the Bible and my desire for video games. Although questioning the morality of my actions a desire to avoid submission to plain conviction drove me to excuses. Using fallacious reasoning as a shield I sought to escape the possibility of having to surrender my iniquitous practices. Overcome by the power of my addiction my curiosity in regards to our Lord became restrained and suppressed, yet not destroyed.
Although I ceased to peruse the Bible, prayer became habitual. With the thought of God stuck in the back of my mind I could not help but seek to commune with him as a friend. As of result there appeared to be a stalemate between the things of this world and my desire to seek out our Lord. This continued for a year, until curiosity transformed into an overpowering hunger and I finally called out to the Lord in prayer. Within a twenty-four to forty-eight hour period, a family friend whom I had originally attended Church with made an appearance on my front doorstep. This individual requested that I help out with a program conducted by my Church, which would be taking place all week.
Seizing the opportunity as an open doorway to return to the truth, I jumped upon the invitation. I attended the program every night until eventually working up the courage to ask some one for a ride to Church. The individual I asked agreed. My first day at Church I was confronted with nothing but love from my brothers and sisters to such an extent that I felt as though I had stepped into heaven. As the day reached its close a group of believers gathered for fellowship at one of their homes and I was invited to attend. While conversing with each other, the subject of violent video games eventually came up.
As a passive observer, I listened intently. In total disagreement with every point brought forward, I walked away from the conversation unconvinced of the truthfulness of that which was said. Yet I could not shake from my mind the thought that I must expel my addiction from my life. I arrived upon the decision to cease playing the games. From that moment forward it was as if my desire for the games had been completely annihilated. Yet a final push was made to imprison me in the clutches of addiction forever. One evening a friend asked me, “why don’t you play one last game with me?” Although in reluctant agreement this never saw the light of day, and I have not played violent video games since.
On the 8th of December, 2012 I gave my heart to Jesus Christ through baptism. This was the best thing that ever happened to me. I can scarcely find words to describe the light that poured into my life. Our father in heaven has completely destroyed any pain which I had previously suffered from, and I have finally begun to understand my value as an individual. It has been said, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16. These words make plain to us the value of human life, for every soul on the face of the planet has been bought with a price.