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TOPIC: GAMBLING AND ITS INFLUENCE ON CHRISTIAN LIFE.
With illusive thoughts and news of winnings, there seems to be an increase of interest in gambling. Some countries and states with financial problems are taking another look in the lottery as a new source of income, but whatever the nation or state decides, this still does not make gambling right in the sight of God.
What is Gambling?
Gambling is the betting or staking of something of value with consciousness of risk and hope of gain on the outcome of the game. It is an uncertain event whose result may be determined by chance or accident or have an unexpected result by reason of the bettors miscalculation.
Webster’s new world dictionary: is to play games of chance for money or some other stake; to take a risk in order to gain an advantage; to bet, wager.
It involves the concept of “getting something for nothing without rendering service or exchange of goods”. In truth, it is stealing by permission. In desiring possession or possessions of another (prize) the gambler creates a risk (that of losing his own possession) in an attempt through change to gain the possession or possessions of another with nothing given in exchange.
The rules by which gambling games are played sometimes (often) serve to confuse the relationship between the components of the game and may be manipulated to serve the interest of few who appear smart on it. Dr. E. E. Blanche, the author of the mathematics of gambling says “in the long run, nobody can win but the man who owns the game”.
Types and kinds of Gambling
Gambling takes many forms: Card games, dice, numbers, betting on horse races, slot machine, punch boards, bingo, buying tickets in raffles, matching for coke, etc.
A rough estimate of the amount of money legally wagered in the world is $10 trillion. It is believed that illegal gambling may exceed even this figure. Let me emphasize here that gambling is a matter of kind not degree. Whether one is betting or wagging five naira or a thousand naira, he is still violating the same divine principles because it is a none productive human activity – 2 Thess. 3: 7 – 8, Titus 3: 14.
Increase in Gambling
The emergence of satellite broadcasting technology has led to a surge in betting and the creation of off-track betting facility in which bettors watch live telecast of locations away from the race track.
Proliferation of Internet Venues and Internet Websites on which players make bets with one another also give rise to several forms of internet gambling.
Over the years, there has been a gradual, though irregular shift in the official attitude towards gambling from considering it a sin to considering it a vice and a human weakness and finally to seeing it as a mostly harmless or even entertaining activity.
For many, gambling is a harmless fun but it has potentials to become a serious problem with significant health concern to many families and societies in general.
Christian life revolves round the holiness and righteousness of God – 1 Pet. 1: 15; 2 Cor. 7: 1; 1 John 3: 10 and is manifested in all the fruits of the spirits – Gal. 5: 22 – 25.
As Christians, our lives are saddled with divine responsibilities that bear directly on our souls and the souls of others to the saving of it – 1 Cor. 9: 27; 1 Cor. 8: 13
We have been delivered from the powers of darkness into the kingdom of light – Col. 1: 12 – 13 and have therefore been made the light bearers for Christ; to illuminate the world so that men will see our works and glorify our father in heaven – Matt. 5: 14 – 15
Definition of Influence
Power to affect somebody’s character, beliefs or actions through examples, fear, admiration.
- Persons, facts,etc that exercises such power
Influence of Gambling on Christian Life
Virtually, no one is without influence, and it will be either for righteousness or wickedness. We are told to take thoughts for things honourable in the sight of all men – Rom. 12: 17 and give no occasion for the adversary for reviling – 1 Tim. 5: 14. Faithful Christians cannot afford for the way of truth to be spoken of in an evil manner 2 Pet. 2: 2.
Could anyone by his wildest imaginations see Jesus (our example) kneeling down and throwing dice or in a betting shop waging?
Influence of Enslavement
Gambling is wrong because it soon makes slave of those who participate. Our Lord taught that all those who commit sin become slaves to sin – John 3: 38.
A surge in the number of compulsive gamblers has been observed in recent times. The slaves or addicts gamble more to chase their losses, thinking that if they gamble more, they will win back lost money; the graving for the activity increases, the ability to resist drops and the vicious circle continues.
Alteration of the Law of Labour and Earning
Some people gamble because they consider it an easy and fast way to make money. It is wrong because it violates God’s law of labour and earning – Gen. 3: 19. Paul the Apostle admonished the Ephesian Christians to “labour”; working with their hands that which is good – Eph. 6: 28. He also said, “if any would not walk neither should he eat” – 2 Thess. 3: 10.
Another negative influence of gambling is because the gambler seeks to operate according to iron rule; if one is thus able to secure his neighbour’s goods by means of skill or chance, that is just the loser’s tough luck. How will that co-incide with “thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself” – Matt. 23: 29. The bible enjoins us not to seek only our good, but also the good of others 1 Cor. 10: 24 which is in perfect harmony with the golden rule “all things therefore that ye would that men should do unto you, even so do ye also to them”, for this is the law and the prophets – Matt. 7: 12
Gambling Breeds Vices
Gamblers, like drunkards and dope addicts, regularly resort to stealing and other dishonest ways of acquiring money to cover their gambling losses; they always resort to lie to cover up their gambling activities.
A Destroyer of the Home
Gambling is a destroyer of the home. Addiction alters the way the person with the disorder relates to his\her family. They may miss important events in the family or they may miss work.
Influence of Confrontation
Gambling is confrontational to the laws of God because the three urges of gambling is driven by the flesh:
- The desire to gain
- The desire for excitement
- The instinct of combativeness; none helps a Christian to grow in righteousness – Rom. 1: 17
- It leaves no good memory behind.
- There will be no remembrance of the act of gambling for good before the judgement seat of Christ – Matt. 25: 34 – 36.
- Could the impulsive act of gambling help any christianto worship God with his substance? Prov. 3: 9.
Consider losing the proceeds (cost of the land) or certain amount of money earlier intended to be brought to the Apostle’s feet or to render alms to the poor to gambling; could Barnabas or Cornelius have been remembered and commended for the “brave attempt” made to win and bring more money to the Apostle’s feet and give alms to the poor? Act 4: 36; Acts 10: 1 – 4.
- Gambling encourages covetousness, laziness and recklessness.
Addiction is equivalent to taking a drug or having a drink. It alters the person’s mode and state of mind and also brings about dependence on others for money to spend on gambling. In time, it can lead to suicide. Gambling of any kind and of any degree is done at the expense of importance family responsibilities.
It is only good for Christians to bear the fruits of the spirit and not the grapes of wrath which, like a small leaven leaveneth the wholelump – 1 Cor. 5: 6.
Gambling is a malignant lifestyle that neither supports nor sustains the principles of rights and wrongs because the power to distinguish rights from wrong will over time be completely eroded.
The bible says that we are to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and that we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world – Titus 2: 11 – 12
I urge all who truly desire heaven to abstain from gambling in its entirety and serve the Lord and not the flesh.
May the Lord bless all who do His will in Jesus Name – Amen
UYO TOWN CHURCH OF CHRIST, 20 PAUL BASSEY STREET, UYO
INDOOR LECTURE PRESENTED BY BRO. ALFRED USEH (DEACON) ON MAY 5, 2019