MAY A CHRISTIAN GAMBLE?
By Max Patterson
Gambling is defined as “to play or game for money or other stakes.” It is an unnatural and artificial risk taking. It is a situation in which a risk is created purely for the purpose of taking a risk. Below are a number of reasons why it is scripturally and otherwise unwise and wrong to gamble:
1. Many people get psychologically hooked. There are Gamblers’ Anonymous groups all over the country presently, like A.A. groups. Since there is always the possibility of getting hooked, it, like alcohol, is a very dangerous thing to get involved in.
2. It is an attempt to get something for nothing. There is no such thing! Whenever someone gets something for nothing, someone got nothing for something.
3. It is not labor, a fair exchange, or a gift (Genesis ; Ephesians ). These are the ways we are told to get gain.
4. It’s associates—deceit and dishonesty—are condemned (Romans ).
5. On a large scale (auto, dog, horse racing) it plays into the hands of the crime syndicate in this country. I have evidence from Congress on hand in my office files to support this claim.
6. It encourages a reckless approach to life.
7. It encourages callousness to the interests and well-being of others. On a number of occasions I have personally observed the above two items.
8. It promotes covetousness, that is, one who basically desires to have what someone else has. Frankly, I know of no better illustration to show what is condemned in the Bible in the word for covetousness, than gambling.
9. We are commanded to “love thy neighbor.” Gambling uses one’s neighbor.
10. Gambling is morally wrong because it denies the integrity of work.
11. The biblical work ethic is the principle of fair exchange (Matthew 25; Luke -27).
12. Gambling has been called “robbery by consent.” Therefore, it is a form of stealing.
13. This history of gambling shows that it brings poverty, crime, corruption, demoralization of moral and ethical standards, and misery.
14. No gambler wants the other fellow to do to him what he is trying to do to them. Compare Matthew 7:12.
In the light of these scriptures, it seems amazing to me that many of us are guilty of possibly starting our kids on the gambling road by cake walks, bingo games, raffle tickets, and carnival type gambling games, often under the guise of “going for a good cause.” A fellow preacher friend of mine has a brother who has spent a great number of years in jail because he started out “flipping nickels.” He became obsessed with it, and one act led to another until he landed in jail.
A lady tried to sell me a raffle ticket one thy. I said, “I can’t buy that because I don’t believe in gambling.” She replied, “Brother ___________ bought one.” My answer to that is, Brother ___________ is not the Bible that guides my life.