Gambling: Gain or Loss?
It is natural for man to desire a full, exciting, and rewarding life. Some people find fulfillment in achievement and education. Others spend their time and energy trying to get rich. Still others find a certain thrill in risk-taking. Some are willing to go to extreme ends for excitement. Betting and other forms of gambling are especially alluring to some. The lure of hitting the jackpot or winning large sums of money can be very addictive. Many homes have been brought to ruin by a father or mother who chose to gamble. Hearts have been broken and neglected because someone could not stay away from the bright lights of a casino.
For many people, gambling starts in small ways. It is offered as a harmless form of entertainment, an escape from the humdrum of life. Casinos offer an alluring mix of lighting, food, drink, and music. In this party atmosphere, senses are dulled. It becomes hard to control impulses and urges. Casino workers are trained to help maintain and enhance this mood.
The first wager placed may be small and the risk low. Winning small amounts feels good and is addictive. It makes it easy to place another wager. As the wager amount gets larger and the stakes get higher, the pulse quickens. Some have found it almost impossible to control the urge to place just one more bet. Gamblers have lost fortunes, hoping for a lucky turn. In reality, a lucky turn hardly ever happens. Most often, gambling becomes a pattern of behavior that leads to a downward spiral. Borrowing money to cover losses seems like a solution, but soon comes to an end. There may even be a temptation to steal. One vows to stop gambling but feels he cannot. Feeling guilty, frustrated, and desperate, many have turned to drinking to drown their woes. Some have lost homes and riches. In their despair, they have considered taking their own lives. Gambling has ruined their lives and perhaps the lives of their loved ones.
A well-respected man and his wife had worked hard. When he died, she was left wealthy. She enjoyed gambling at bingo. This led to riskier forms of gambling and began to include drinking. In a few years she had lost almost everything and had become an alcoholic. Occasionally she was found lying on the street in a drunken stupor. Satan had led her deeper and deeper into his trap until almost all hope was gone.
Do you realize how selfish it is to gamble? Children go hungry, bills go unpaid, friendships are betrayed, and homes are broken all because someone chooses to satisfy a selfish desire. Something that looked so innocent has destroyed the quality of life. A person with plenty becomes a pauper. The price to pay is high, too high! Why would anyone choose to pay it?
Gambling is often motivated by covetousness. Covetousness can be defined as a wrong desire to have something. People have always wanted to be rich, to be famous, and to have others think highly of them. They covet the possessions of others. Being in control feels good. The Bible says, “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows” (1 Timothy 6:10).
Many people believe that happiness is tied to wealth and ease. While the desire to become wealthy is natural, it is not godly. The Bible tells us that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15).
Jesus taught us to share what we have with others. He never intended us to gain from others’ losses. “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away” (Matthew 5:42). Do you ever consider who loses when you win? “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise” (Luke 6:31). It is selfish to overlook others’ pain and loss just so I can have some fun and gain.
All that we are and have belongs to God. Is it pleasing to God if we gamble with that which belongs to Him? We are to be faithful servants, taking good care of the possessions given to us. “Moreover it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).
You Can Be a Winner!
Do you sometimes have feelings of guilt and despair after a time spent gambling? Would you like to be free from this addiction? There is a remedy! God loves you and wants you to come to Him just as you are. He is well able to deliver you. He is able to bring His mighty power to bear on your problem. Although you might feel there is no help for you, there is hope when you realize that you can no longer deal with your gambling on your own. The apostle Paul said, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Romans 7:24-25). Paul realized that his only hope for deliverance was to turn to Jesus Christ. God sent Jesus to deliver you from sin and temptation.
Jesus, in His mercy, is holding out a beautiful invitation: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). Honestly admit to your sins and faults, and come without excuses to Jesus. Ask Him to deliver you from the snare of gambling. Commit your heart with all of its thoughts, guilt, and sin to Him. He loves you and will fill the aching need in your heart. He will make it possible to live life in a new way. You can have peace and joy in your heart. You can be free from the guilt and pain of your past. The way of Jesus is a way of victory and peace. Come! He is waiting with open arms: “And him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).