Is it right for a Christian to Bet/ Gamble?
One of the current trends that need be discussed in our Christian circles with urgency is the gambling trends of our times. A lot of money is being spend in gambling more than in retail in a day. The statistics of people signing up for bets and gambles are increasingly scary by the day and the love of money is an attitude screaming through every corner of this country and beyond.
We have a lot to be worried about when it comes to current trends including; addiction to media, new blood thirsty online games, hosts of secret societies and the presence of the evil among a lot of many money making trends that will eventually ditch us into the hell of reality. We will however dwell on the topic of gambling in these article in-terms of defining the term, pointing on effects that are being referred herein as internal and external effects and as well a philosophical view of gambling herein limited to betting.
Here is the crust of the matter, is gambling a sin? Giving an adequate answer to the dilemma first requires a biblical review of money in general, after which gambling itself can be examined.
Where money is concerned, the Bible certainly is not silent. To begin with, Scripture makes it clear that everything belongs to God. Paul simply asks his readers, “What do you have that you did not receive?” (1 Corinthians 4:7). Even though individuals work and earn money, the Bible says that it is God who is the ultimate source of their income: “You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth” (Deuteronomy 8:18). Gambling on the other hand excites the heart towards less work and gaining from the loss of others. In other words, easy money excites every heart and so the world is already totally up to defend the said means of wealth as a way that God chooses to use as a means of His providence. Some of the questions that come up in such a discussion is that; is God interested in getting donations from among them, the poor, broken families, people addicted to this kind of games to supply to your needs? The unfortunate underlying concept here is that you lose so that I gain and vice versa.
A simple definition for Gambling: – Gambling refers to a wager or bet in which each player agrees to risk losing some material possession to other players in exchange for the chance to win the possessions of other players without compensation to the loser, the winner(s) and loser(s) being determined by the outcome of a game.” (Dr. James Dobson)
Note this are at the very foundation of Gambling.
• Always defined as any event where the outcome is uncertain
• All players, no one is assured with any compensation whatsoever except the winner
• Each player chooses to willingly to loose material possession for chance
• The winner takes it all, the looser stands small
The ultimate reality is that the church has remained silent on things that it should speak about. We have remained equivocal about important matters which are affecting our community greatly.
Gambling has been around for quite a long time. Some men prudent men rose up against gambling and believed that gambling is a sinful act because it betrays several inward attitudes.
• Reliance on chance vs. reliance on Gods provision
• Laziness vs working for wealth
• Thwarting of charity
• Seeking to gain from the loss of others
The men of philosophy submit that the nature of the goodness of a thing will be judged by examining the kind effects it produces. Martin Luther at one point accused the devil of inventing Gambling. He goes ahead and shares that, money won in gambling is never won without sin and self-seeking sin. At one point, the theologian John Calvin outlawed gambling in the city of Geneva because of its effect on the society. Externally, gambling shows itself as no good at all producing these Kinds of what would be called external effects as follows.
• Family strife and divorce
• Chances of Escapism into enough vices
• Exploitation of the poor
In a nutshell, though gambling has a very good and strong appeal to a lot of us in this current world, we must be sure that it is not right for me to gain because others have lost. It is more true stating that there is enough evidence that gambling demonstrates a great sense of spiritual bankruptcy.
God seeing the corruption of gambling warned the children of Israel of the spirit behind gambling in Isaiah 65: 11 – 12. Israel the beloved children of God were accused of worshiping the gods of luck. We are to be warned that soon, it will not only be the fact that gambling has pushed us into this hard internal and external effects but will as well go ahead towards the destruction of the society we leave in. We will always have people who try to vindicate what is not right and reconstruct that which is the dependence of God towards worship of the gods of chance and luck. God’s ways do not change; what He called sin, He is still calling it sin and He will call it sin tomorrow.
Adera, in His article on gambling asserts, “Gambling/Betting is demonic, devilish and evil. It is addictive and enslaving. Practicing Christians should avoid it at all costs. And that is said without apologies or fear of contradiction. You cannot go to bed with the devil and walk with God at the same time.” He goes ahead to give a biblical perspective that points at scripture that by principle warn men against this kind of earning.
Some of the scriptures quoted include:
1. 1 Corinthians 6:12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say–but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but I will not be mastered by anything.
2. 2 Peter 2:19 They promise them freedom, while they themselves are slaves of depravity–for “people are slaves to whatever has mastered them.”
3. 1st Timothy 6: 9-10 those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many grief’s.
4. Romans 12:2 do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is his good, pleasing and perfect will.
5. Proverbs 15:27 the greedy bring ruin to their households, but the one who hates bribes will live.
Quotes on gambling
• “Gambling is the child of avarice, the brother of iniquity, and the father of mischief.”
– George Washington
• Gambling is a sickness, a disease, an addiction, an insanity, and is always a loser in the long run.
• Gambling can be just as addictive as drugs and alcohol. Teens and their parents need to know that they’re not just gambling with money, they’re gambling with their lives.
• Gambling is the sure way of getting nothing for something.
• Gambling is of the world, it is very addicting, and it will cause you harm.
Gambling is, loving something that is part of the cruel world, not only is it dangerous especially back in the days where many were being plotted on and murdered for their money. Gambling is very addictive, you can go into a casino one day thinking I’m going to spend this much then leave without your car. For some people it’s that bad and it can become even worse.
You have a higher chance of being struck by lightning than winning the lottery. Most gambling is not made for you to win. It’s made for you to dream about what if I did win. Gambling fails in its attempt to give people hope because most people spend thousands of dollars for nothing. It takes away your trust in the Lord and leads you to pierce yourself with lots and lots of grieves loosing for alternative sources of money which is not even yours. Just take a thousand shillings/ dollars and throw it in the garbage; that is exactly what gamblers do over the course of time. When you have greed you will always lose more than you gain. Gambling is bad for your health and it violates many Scriptures as seen above. Seek hard work and trust in the Lord with your income/s
(Dr. James Dobson, who served on the National Gambling Impact Study Commission, 1999 Report revised 2008)
Excerts from the article, Gambling and the Bible; Adera, Rev. Simeon. 2017