THE PAC-MAN ADDICTION
December 2, 2015
Pac-Man is an arcade game developed by Namco and first released in Japan on May 22, 1980. It was created by Japanese video game designer Toru Iwatani. It was licensed for distribution in the United States by Midway and released in October 1980. Wikipedia
A letter to Stretcher Bearers for Christ
I saw your email today and saw your latest Life Letter about war. It encouraged me greatly along with the invitation to the upper room.
It has been awhile since I last wrote and a lot has changed. We are back in Texas for the time being and need your prayers like never before. I know we have never met and I wish that we had before we left the area. However, God led me to write to you and ask for your prayers.
My husband has often struggled against his desire to play video games as he grew up playing them and only stopped because God asked him to. But Satan has been attacking us so hard and he fell into them again. I hate it because I know it is wrong and because of our now 10 month old daughter. I didn't want her exposed to them or the spirits they may invite in. My weakness is worry; and I also don't want to teach her that either. Right now I feel so lost and confused and all I can do is call out to God.
I still want to be there in Pagosa Springs but most of all want God's will to be done. I just don't know what is right at the moment. Please pray for us that God will give us the faith and strength that we need to keep fighting this battle. Our hearts truly do love the Lord but I know there are things that we need to surrender to Him and need help to overcome. Again, I am sorry; I just felt led to reach out to you guys about this.
Thank you for your time and may God continue to bless you.
Your letter has provoked me to pick up my sword, my slingshot, my pen and write back. I have taken your request to heart - praying for your husband to be free from the addiction to video games. I was first made aware of the addictive nature of these games 20 years ago. It happened in a most unusual way that I will explain a little later in my letter.
The Holy Spirit has directed me to do all I can to help your husband break the cycle of addiction to the games. Yes, these games can be real time-wasters and have created an unwholesome and unproductive subculture in our society. They also alienate us from others who do not share our addiction. Like computer viruses they can pollute our souls and are very hard to get rid of. Instead of destroying the hard drive in our computer, they destroy the “head and heart drive.” Insanity can be the byproduct. I just learned that a compulsive video game player died of a heart attack. He played for 72 continuous hours, unable to stop and sleep.
I already know this will be a fierce, but also a worthwhile battle - not only freeing your husband from his addiction, but at the same time calling attention to the seriousness of the addictive nature of computer video games. I also know that this letter will provoke a lot of controversy. When I write, I usually only have one or two people in mind that I speak to, but I try to write in such a way that others feel included, spoken to, loved and are liberated.
Many of my Life Letters were triggered by just one person, like yourself, who asked for help. But when it was all said and done, I realized that the battle was on behalf of a larger audience. At times a battle lasts a few days, at other times it may last many years. Battling for our financial freedom took years. Battling Goliath and helping others identify their addiction and battle their Goliaths is my high calling from God. What I tell you next will both surprise and bless you because you will know that your request is not some random shot in the dark. Your letter is God-authored.
In my secular career as a systems analyst I became quite familiar with the computer world. However in 1970, after waking up in a mental hospital, I vowed I would stay away from computers. And why? Computers had become my addiction, my identity and my way of earning a living. Although I was married and had two fine boys, computers and my job were my god, not God, not Jesus or my family.
I vowed I would never, ever go near one again after leaving the hospital. I was 37. And vows are very hard to break. Many times we can't even recall that we made a vow, when or why. I didn't until one of our Upper Room guests brought us her Gates computer in 1995. She said, "I would like to express my gratitude for what Jesus did for me in the Upper Room but don't know how. The Lord told me to give you my computer. I really love using it for my work as an adoption counselor, but because of my husband’s addiction to video games, I feel compelled to part with it. His top favorite game was PAC-MAN. When Jesus told me to give you the computer, I knew it was His voice and the right strategy that would help to set my husband free. I love my husband. He is a pastor."
I responded, "I don't want a computer. I don't need a computer. I don't think I have what it takes to learn how to use it; and I made a vow that I would never touch one again." She said, "You need a computer for what God wants you to do and I will teach you the basics." She was very, very insistent.
In retrospect I learned that my hesitation was justified. I did not want to risk grieving the Holy Spirit again by bowing down to an idol. But I fearfully and with hesitation got reacquainted with a Gates computer that had 1.5 gigabytes. My electric typewriter was used less and less as I became acquainted with its extraordinary conveniences. Writing letters became my sandbox. And when someone offered to build us a web site in 1998 for my letters and Rebekah's art, another addiction was birthed. However, this addiction was God-centered instead of self-centered. Being God-centered and Jesus-centered is the equivalent of “being reborn from above .”
I recall volunteering my time in 1971 on a drug abuse ward of a county hospital in Los Angeles. All the people on the restricted 7th floor were sent there by the courts because of their heroin addiction. I loved volunteering my time. One of the patients spontaneously remarked, "Peter, you will never be addicted to drugs because you have the highest addiction there is, you are addicted to God. The only way to break any addiction is to have a higher addiction." I am praying this way for your husband and every person reading these words: "Lord, grant them the grace of having the highest addiction."
You see, I love challenges and I love winning. When the world around me applauded me for developing a new computerized information system, I thought I had found my niche, my purpose in life. Instead of being addicted to video games, I had become addicted to the applause of men. This is a very serious addiction, probably the most serious. Pride and a “me-first heart” is the root-cause of many addictions. Until I was knocked off my high horse like the apostle Paul was while on the Road to Damascus, I was not aware of this. Waking up in a mental hospital was equivalent to falling off my high horse. I have revealed my pain and shame in a story titled: “On the Road to Damascus.”
Yes, when we are self-pleasers and man-pleasers instead of Father/God pleasers, our life will be barren and we will bear little or no fruit. I bring to this battle for your husband's freedom a lot of compassion and a winning and tenacious spirit. I bring to this battle Jesus in me and 82 years of living, loving, winning and failing. I am allowed to see way beyond your husband's addiction and your fears and the turmoil raging in your heart. I see a godly woman who loves her Lord, her husband, daughter and who also has a winning and tenacious spirit. Down the tube of time I see a man who will be able to compassionately help others out of their video game addictions and maybe also other addictions. He will also love his Lord and his wife more than he ever dreamt possible. And he will be ever so grateful to you and Jesus in you for loving him in spite of his disobedience and failings.
Rebekah and I have been married for 42 years. We have been in many a battle and still are. At the moment Rebekah is battling excruciating knee pains. As yet, like yourself, we have not been given clarity about how to proceed. The most obvious and frequently recommended solution is a knee replacement. But as yet Rebekah has not been given the go-ahead for an operation. However, she has been tempted on several occasions to pick up the phone and set a date. We are as yet waiting and praying for the God-ordained answer so that we give the Lord a chance to intervene.
The greatest relief she has gotten thus far is when a godly person, anointed with the Holy Spirit prays for her with great faith, authority and compassion. When this happens, tears are released and the bulk of the pain leaves and she is able to sleep well and also walk with less pain. This happened the other day. Rebekah cried a bucket of tears and she is much better today. The person who prayed for her is a 36 years old quadriplegic. His name is Michael Shields. His testimony is on our web site.
I hope you will one day return to Pagosa Springs and experience the Upper Room, even if it is only for a short visit so that we can get better acquainted. Until you do, see yourself sitting in the rocking chair by the wood box or on the bench by the lake or both
Yes, Father/God has heard your cry for help. Lots of hope is on its way. You and your husband are on a rugged and holy adventure; but with Jesus’ help you will make it and He will receive much glory.
There is a verse in the Book of Isaiah that has caught my attention over and over again: “…and the yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” (Isaiah 10:27). I am asking Father/God to apply these words to your husband and all who have stumbled across this letter, those who are ready to trade their addiction, regardless of its name, for the highest addiction. His name is Jesus. And one more thing, deliverance from any addiction starts with repentance, “Lord, I am so sorry.”
At the moment we don't carry your name in our address file but will be glad to add it if you would like to stay in touch. You can write to us at: Peter & Rebekah Laue, 965 Pagosa Springs, Colorado 81147
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All writings by Peter, the Lord's Scribe and Storyteller and all paintings by Rebekah, the Lord's artist are copyright free.