How are we supposed to free ourselves from the spiritual emptiness and the degenerate life and find a genuine life? I was so lost and befuddled before, but now I’ve found the answer.
A Christian’s Experience and Testimony of Managing to Quit Gambling
Once, she was a gambler, but because gambling brought great pain to herself and her family, she tried to give it up, without success. When she was on the brink of collapse, God’s saving hand reached out to her, allowed her to see the essence and danger of gambling, overcome her temptations step by step, and finally turn her life around.
An Irresistible Temptation, Falling Into Gambling
On an autumn afternoon, as a light breeze blew, Jing sat at the door of her house looking at the people passing by, she was envious of their healthy bodies which could work to earn money and support their families. She was already the mother of two children, but at a young age, she suffered from stomach ulcers and duodenal ulcers, which meant she couldn’t do farm work, and that she could only rely on her husband’s meager wages. She spent her days frowning, and felt that this life was meaningless.
One day, her neighbor went to her and said, “Jing, we want to borrow your home to open a casino. You are in poor health and have no source of support, but if you help us keep an eye on things, you’ll have income when we open for business.” She knew the dangers of gambling, because she had witnessed her sister-in-law become addicted to gambling and fall in debt to loan sharks, because of which her house was nearly demolished by her creditors, and because of which she now doesn’t dare return home. She didn’t want to be tainted by gambling like her sister-in-law, but the temptation of money was hard to resist. She thought, “My body won’t allow me to make a living from farming, but now all I have to do is keep an eye on things, and I can earn a lot of income. Why not? It will be fine as long as I don’t gamble.”
After that, Jing’s home was always busy. Gamblers from everywhere gathered at her house, and shouts constantly emerged from her yard, “Take a tile … Straight! Straight!” and “Ante up! Ante up!” The parlor was surrounded by spectators and gamblers. Some people won a stack of money with the just tiniest effort, their eyes and faces lighting up as they looked at the bills in their trembling hands, while others sighed and left in disappointment.
“Jing, you can see how unlucky this bookmaker is, how much money he’s lost, why not play a round? There’s hardly anyone these days who doesn’t gamble, and it’s no fun living the way you do!” someone said to Jing with a laugh and a smile. The words struck home with Jing, who thought, “That’s right, she’s making a lot of sense! I’ve been poor since I was a child, I’ve never had good health, I’ve never eaten well or learned to have fun … All I do is sit at home and be sick. It really is no fun, the gamblers here are having a lot of fun, and they earn money if they win! Why don’t I make a bet? I’ll be happy if I win a little bit. Why not have a little fun?” The first time, Jing’s luck turned out to be very good. She won several dozen yuan on one bet. Joy blossomed in her heart as she thought, “I never knew betting was so fun! I can entertain myself and make money.” After that, she forgot her physical pain and her worries about her family and began to enjoy gambling.
At first, Jing controlled her bets and won tens or a few hundred yuan. It seemed like it was easy to get money, and Jing was very pleased. She thought that, although she couldn’t earn money through physical effort because of her poor health, she had finally found a good way to earn income, one that didn’t require physical labor, and was as easy as winning a game. It was the best of two worlds. Gradually, Jing began to be drawn to gambling. After a month or two, the casino moved to a new location, and Jing also went there to gamble. She knew the hours of the casino to the minute. She was there at 8 on the dot in the morning, and sometimes only came home late at night. One day, after losing money at the casino, Jing sat down on the sofa with a sullen look. “I need to win back the money I lost….” The idea circled around and around in Jing’s mind until she fell into a trance so deep she didn’t notice that her two children, now back from school, standing beside her. “Mom, I’m hungry. Mom, I’m hungry, I want dinner….” Her child tugged pitifully at Jing’s shirt. Jing, her face full of worry, turned to look at the two children. She didn’t want to cook, so she helplessly handed over money from her pocket to her children, “Mom is very tired today, so take this money to the store and buy something to eat!” Her children took the money and walked away.
Trapped Within, Inescapable Pain
Day by day, time passed, and Jing’s gambling addiction got worse. She often ignored affairs at home. One day, her child had a stomach ache, and was diagnosed with a stomach illness. When Jing’s family learned about what happened, they blamed her for harming her children because she didn’t cook good food for them. Jing’s heart ached when she heard their accusations. She thought, “It’s true, I’ve treated my children badly, and I also want to quit gambling, but when the time comes, I still can’t help but go to the gambling parlor. I can’t control myself!”
When Jing’s husband A’Niu came home and saw the terrible mess in the house, he angrily accused her, saying, “You don’t care about your family or your children. If you keep gambling like this, it will eventually cost you your life….” “Your lack of ability is what makes my life miserable. If I didn’t gamble, I’d die of boredom at home.” Jing made excuses and rebuked him. Ever since she became addicted to gambling, quarrels had become commonplace in her family, and there was never peace at home.
That night, Jing stirred anxiously in bed, finding it difficult to sleep, as she thought, “I only started gambling to make myself happy. I never thought I would become addicted, and now I’ve lost all my money. How will I get along in the future? I have to keep betting. Once I win the money I lost, I’ll stop gambling.”
The next day, to earn back what she lost, Jing stole the money her husband had hidden in the cupboard, but she ended up losing that as well. After that, she gambled away the monthly allowance from her husband for living expenses. When A’Niu found out, he was furious, and had a big argument with Jing. He said, “You even gamble away your living expenses! I can’t live like this. Since you can’t change, you don’t care about the family, and you gamble away all your money, then I’ll go gamble too.” After that, A’Niu often went to the casino as well, and their lives became harder and harder, to the point that even sustaining their lives became difficult …
To earn enough to get by, Jing opened a public telephone shop, and they managed to eke out a living. Many times, Jing swore she would quit gambling, but when her friends from the casino called her, she still couldn’t help but go with them. She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t quit gambling. Jing, now addicted to gambling, spent her days in a senseless, zombie-like daze. In the casino, she only found momentary happiness and excitement, after which came extreme torment and panic. Jing felt very confused, and wondered what her direction in the future would be.
On the Brink of Hopelessness, God’s Salvation Comes
One day, one of Jing’s friends spread the gospel to her, and played a hymn of God’s words for her, “The Almighty has mercy on these people who have suffered deeply. At the same time, He is fed up with these people who have no consciousness, because He has had to wait too long to get an answer from humanity. He wishes to seek, to seek your heart and your spirit, to bring you water and food, and to awaken you, that you may no longer be thirsty and hungry. When you are weary and when you begin to feel something of the bleak desolation of this world, do not be lost, do not cry. Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival at any time. He is watching by your side, waiting for you to turn back.”
The call of God’s voice awakened Jing’s long-numb heart, and she saw a glimmer of hope in her dark life. She realized that her addiction to gambling was ruining her family and making her miserable, but God had not forsaken her, and had used her friend to spread the gospel to her and bring her back to God’s house. The thought moved her heart. She became determined to believe in God, go with God, and rely on God to overcome the temptation of gambling and escape her previous life of depravity.
Entrapped by Temptation, a First Glimpse of Gambling’s True Face
One day at noon, the telephone booth was cold and empty. One of her gambling friends asked Jing, “Why haven’t I seen you at the casino lately?” “I don’t have time, I have to run my business,” Jing replied. “In the past few days, one of the bookmakers has been doing very badly, and people have won a lot of money. Why not go win some for yourself? It must be boring watching the phone booth all day. You also need to take some time to amuse yourself,” her friend said, hoping to persuade her.
Tempted by her friend, Jing’s heart was again foolishly moved. She thought, “It really is boring watching the phone booth all day long. It’s noon, and there’s no business, so I might as well go out and make a bet.” So, she closed up shop and went to off gamble. That day, her luck was good, and she won a few hundred yuan. Jing returned home happily, but when she arrived, she touched her pocket and found those few hundred yuan missing. She immediately realized that this was a reminder from God that she had sworn an oath to stop gambling, but she went and gambled today. Wasn’t this deceiving God? When she thought of that, Jing instantly felt deep regret. She prayed to God, saying, “God! I don’t want to fall like this, and I don’t want to deceive You like this, but I have no ability to overcome my sins. Please help me and guide me so that I can escape my gambling.”
Jing opened the book of God’s word and found the following statements: “It seems like a world of gaiety and splendor, one that is becoming more and more so. People’s hearts are all drawn to it, and many people are entrapped and unable to extricate themselves from it…. If you do not strive for progress, are without ideals, and have not rooted yourself on the true way, you will be swept away by this sinful wave.” She also saw a passage of a sermon about life entry: “You must know the essence of Satan’s worldly trends. Today, many people like to chase worldly trends. Such people follow and pursue whatever is popular in the world or trendy, and believe this is very fashionable and very progressive. Such people are living under Satan’s dominion. How are worldly trends formed? There is no doubt that they begin with those who belong to the world and to Satan. They definitely do not originate with God. Worldly trends are always produced from the direction of the thoughts of corrupt mankind, which is why the more deeply mankind is corrupted, the more evil worldly trends become, and the more they resist God. This is a fact.”
As Jing contemplated these words, she realized that gambling was an evil trend that arose from Satan. Satan inundates us with ideas such as “gambling eases all worries,” “gamble a little to feed yourself, gamble a lot to get rich,” and “seize the day for pleasure, for life is short,” which, along with our worship of money, make us want to use the unscrupulous means of gambling to make money, and step by step, we become inescapably entrapped by it, to the point that countless families are broken, wealth is squandered, and life is lost. Jing considered her own situation, how she had been inundated with these ideas by those around her, how she had considered gambling as a positive pursuit, how she had thought of gambling not only as a way to ease her worries, but also to make money, and how in the end she was deeply entrapped by it. When she won money, she wanted to win more, but when she lost, she could think of nothing but winning the money back, with the result that the more she gambled, the more she lost, and the more she lost, the more she gambled. It became a vicious cycle that caused her to lose even the living allowance from her husband. And since she became addicted to gambling, she hadn’t cared about her children, one of whom developed a stomach illness at a young age. She also often fought with her husband about gambling, and her once honest husband also began gambling in his anger, making it difficult even to provide the most basic support for their lives. These were the terrible consequences of this evil trend that arose with Satan! So, she quietly swore an oath to God that in the future, she would read more of God’s word, pursue more understanding of the truth, learn to see through Satan’s tricks, shun gambling, and live a normal life.
Again Facing Temptation, Overcoming It by Relying on God
Once, Jing walked past the casino in the street, where the sight of many people familiar to her making bets and the excited shouts of gamblers tugged at her heart like tenterhooks. Memories of the nervousness and excitement of the gambling tables rose in her head, and she was unwittingly drawn toward it as she thought, “Why not go take another look?” But just as she was about to step into the casino again, she thought of a passage of God’s words: “On earth, all manner of evil spirits are endlessly on the prowl for a place to rest, are ceaselessly searching for the corpses of men to eat up. My people! You must remain inside My care and protection. Never behave dissolutely! Never behave recklessly! Rather, offer up your loyalty in My house, and only with loyalty can you mount a countercharge against the devil’s cunning. Under no circumstances must you behave as in the past, doing one thing before My face and another behind My back—that way you are already beyond redemption. Surely I have uttered more than enough of words like these, have I not? It is precisely because man’s old nature is incorrigible that I have repeatedly reminded him. Do not get bored! … No one knows the gravity of this situation; all regard what they hear to be so much hot air and do not take caution in the least. I remember not what was done in the past. Do you still wait for Me to be lenient toward you by forgetting once more? Though humanity has opposed Me, I will not hold it against him, for man’s stature is too short, and so I do not make high demands of him. All I require is that he should not dissipate himself, and submit to restraint. Surely it is not beyond your capacity to meet this one stipulation? ”
From God’s words, she understood that gambling is a mean Satan uses to swallow people, that Satan uses ideas such as “A man without a second income will never get rich just like a horse starved of hay at night will never put on weight” and “gamble a little to feed yourself, gamble a lot to get rich” to deceive people, to make so many indulge and bewilder themselves with it, and finally uses these ideas to trample upon and harm them. Finally, many people lose their wealth, and even their lives, because of gambling. In the past, when she had no truth, she lacked discernment of Satan’s evil sayings and absurd theories, she had immersed herself in gambling as if in a trance, and even considered gambling a kind of enjoyment, something that would allow her to get rich, but in the end she became Satan’s prisoner and lived more like a ghost than a human. But now she believed in God, and through the revelations in God’s words she saw clearly the dangers and essence of gambling. If she went to gamble again, would she not be returning to her previous life of depravity? If she continued like this, she would only be ever further from God, and be doomed and swallowed by Satan. When she realized this, Jing decided to stay far away from immoral places like casinos, so she turned and quickly walked away.
Starting Over, Finding Light in a Dark Life
Afterward, Jing often read a passage of God’s words to encourage herself, “You must find ways to free yourself from this depraved, carefree life that is no different from an animal’s. You must live out a life of meaning, a life of value, and you must not fool yourself, or treat your life like a toy to be played with. … How should you live your life? How should you love God, and use this love to satisfy His desire? There is no greater matter in your life. Above all, you must have such aspirations and perseverance, and should not be like those spineless weaklings. You must learn how to experience a meaningful life, and experience meaningful truths, and should not treat yourself perfunctorily in that way.” God’s words were like water from a sweet spring that whetted Jing’s heart. They often pointed out the direction and beckoned her forward, so that she no longer lived in confusion. She had personally experienced that following Satan’s evil trends could not lead to happiness, but instead would lead to bitter misery. From God’s words, she understood that only by saying farewell to her depraved lifestyle in the past and remaking herself through God’s words could she enjoy spiritual peace and joy, that only this was true happiness and contentment, that only this is a truly meaningful life, one that supersedes any eating, drinking, entertainment, wealth, and glory of the world. Jing decided to utterly bid farewell to her depraved lifestyle in the past, to no longer walk the evil path of gambling, and instead to live according to God’s words, pursue the truth, walk the correct path in life, and live out a meaningful life.
Afterward, when her friends tried to provoke her into going to the casino, Jing was always able to see through Satan’s tricks and take the initiative to refuse them. Once day, Jing encountered one of her old friends from the casino on the street, who told her, “Jing, I really admire that you’ve been able to quit gambling. I certainly can’t quit. I think I’d die if I quit gambling.” When Jing saw the admiration in her friend’s eyes, she felt a deep gratitude in her heart for God’s salvation for her. She knew that without the guidance in God’s words and God’s protection, using her own abilities, she would never have been able to escape gambling, and in the end, she would have ended up like her sister-in-law, with no escape and unable to return home.
One evening, when Jing’s husband returned home from work and happily put an envelope on the table. “Here is this month’s salary, you can take care of it,” A’Niu said with a smile. Jing looked at her husband in surprise, “You trust me to take care of it?” “Yes, you don’t gamble anymore. You’ve completely cured yourself of your gambling addiction and your health is improving, so I have faith in you. From now on, I’ll bring my monthly salary home for you to manage,” A’Niu said with a trusting smile. They looked at each other in contentment, happy as the day they first met.
As a bright moon hangs in the sky, Jing lays soundly asleep in her bed with a slight smile on her face, as if dreaming something pleasant. Occasionally, the sound of crickets can be heard across the night, as if singing in praise for Jing giving up her gambling addiction.
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