Happenings, News

ARE YOU GAMING TODAY?

If you are, remember, it is not the answer to your problems. It may offer some temporary relief, but problems cannot be gamed away.

HAVE you been gaming lately?

With all the adrenalin pumped up, it is not surprising that you can be glued to the chair and the joystick for countless hours without realising that time has flown. Fun and thrilling, isn’t it?

Perhaps even therapeutic, because gaming releases the tension within and in several spasmodic manoeuvres, all the stress just disappears and there is a feeling of exhilaration as you focus your energies on the game of Counter-Strike. Problems are forgotten. An inexplicable sense of satisfaction follows with each gaming victory. Even losers can have a fair share of excitement.

Does gaming have any side effects? It would be nice if the answer is “No” but that would not be true. Gaming is not the answer to your problems. It may offer some temporary relief like a Panadol. But problems cannot be gamed away. Reality still bites.

Gaming also takes away your time from your loved ones. You may have your friends with you in the gaming session and yet little is done to build the friendship because everybody is concerned primarily about playing. The stuff that strengthens friendship like love and understanding cannot surface in a gaming session.

Ironically, it is love and understanding from friends and family that keep us going when the going gets tough. Love and understanding can only result when quality time is spent with loved ones and friends, but not with machines. Besides, gaming is not all that cheap in the arcade. It is an expensive pastime with little significant returns on the money spent. That does not help anyone to develop prudence in the stewardship of money.

“But who cares? That’s the way adults think,” you may retort. Adults love to have fun, too. But being older, adults have the benefit of experience and wisdom. Let us just say adults are more careful because they were reckless before.

Some adults made colossal mistakes when they were younger, fooling around and wasting their time. They simply do not wish for the bad things to happen to the younger generation. Some adults try very hard to make sure that their young do not take the wrong step in life, end up with bad company and waste their lives away. Their intentions are good although sometimes their actions are harsh.

Of course, gaming is not a sin in itself. An arcade game is in essence no different from the board game Monopoly. There should not be any condemnation. But anything excessive is bad. Gaming can control us and lead us into bondage when we give all the time we have to it and give up all we have for it. Then it becomes idolatry and it takes the place of God in our lives. It may not be a graven image cast in heavy stone or metal but it is an idol that is being worshipped when undivided attention is given to it at the expense of everything else.

Youths have even turned violent on their loved ones when they are told they are “grounded” for the rest of the week because of “too much gaming”. Indeed, what appears to be harmless because it is only a game can actually have harmful effects.

How can anyone avoid the pitfalls of gaming? The answer lies in three key words: Focus, discipline and moderation.

When a person’s focus is on Jesus, then “the things of this world will grow strangely dim”. That may not sound fun to you, but the Bible says Jesus alone can give the joy this world cannot give. So if I were you, I would stick close to Him.

Discipline is a tough word these days because it sounds regimental and restrictive. Yet it simply means exercising restraint in what a person does. Our passions either control us or we control them. Discipline means we take control.

Also, everything in life should be done with moderation. Even drinking excessive quantities of water can be adverse to health. Time and money spent on gaming should be rightly apportioned so that it will not become excessive.

Are you still gaming today? Remember, your game may last a few hours, but your relationship with people will last a lifetime and with God, eternity.

Dr Tan Tee Khoon, a member of the Methodist Message Editorial Board, is a Local Preacher at Faith Methodist Church.

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