WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY ABOUT...GAMBLING?
The Growing Addiction of Gambling
Studies show that lotteries are the favorite legal gambling game for
teenagers. Statistically, one of seven who play will become addicted. But teenagers aren't
the only ones affected. One out of 10 adults who gamble will become addicted too. In fact,
gambling is the fastest growing addiction in America. Like alcoholism and drug addiction,
compulsive gambling is costly to the economy. Families are the ones who suffer the most.
Many people feel gambling is only a game that is fun, but the Bible tells us this evil is
a terrible sin that will lead to poverty.
"He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, and considereth
not that poverty shall come upon him" (Proverbs 28:22).
Gambling in our nation is spreading as the number of states operating
lotteries has more than doubled since 1980, making them the ultimate
"get-rich-quick" schemes. As gambling spreads to more and more states,
Christians need to have the Bible's instruction about this money robber. The Bible
declares that it is wrong to bet money on the possibility of becoming instantly rich.
"He who oppresses the poor to get gain for himself, and he
who gives to the rich will surely come to want" (Proverbs 22:16).
States who legalize lotteries and gambling are oppressing the poor for
gain. According to a 1988 study of the Michigan lottery, that state sells the greatest
number of tickets in low-income and ethnic neighborhoods in urban areas. Lottery tickets
made available in grocery marts and drive-in markets make it easy for people to purchase
these "chances to win the big hit." Some spend money on the lottery tickets
instead of groceries for their families. Many compulsive gamblers wreck their lives and
their families as they are encouraged to risk money that they usually cannot afford to
lose. An estimated 15 million people are compulsive gamblers.
The lie that is used to promote this evil in our society is that legalized
gambling doesn't promote crime and will lower taxes. Actually just the opposite is true --
gambling promotes other vices which attract the criminal element. This results in higher,
not lower taxes as the cost for additional policing must be increased. Indian reservations
and the big gambling centers of Las Vegas and Atlantic City are taking in billions of
dollars. Casinos rob those who play the games with them as the odds are stacked 80% to 90%
in favor of the casino. Even those that do win big on occasion statistics have proven that
within two years most winners have totally spent the money they won.
Proverbs 21:20 says, "There is treasure to
be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up."
People who gamble give to the pool of money that composes great wealth.
This causes them to give to the rich and as Proverbs 22:16 says "...he
who gives to the rich will surely come to want." Our states are also reaping
a type of "poverty" where gambling exists because it undermines the American
work ethic. The result is lowered productivity, use of work time to gamble, absenteeism,
high rates of business failure, and repeated non-payment of loans, mortgages and other
financial obligations. Gambling is, to many, a scheme to escape labor.
Some Christians argue that gambling does no harm. However, the scripture
is clear that this activity is sinful. Anytime someone is enticed to gain money at
someone's else's certain loss, this is definitely not practicing the principals taught by
Christ. Also, the practice of gambling takes away from the Bible's principals of economics
-- working, saving and giving. Discipline and accountability for spending are ignored.
Gambling preys on the weakness of others.
Let me mention here that entering free sweepstakes or drawings are not
sinful as they are advertising ploys paid for by the sponsors. They use these to advertise
their products while giving their customers a chance to win in a drawing. There is no
gambling involved as the participants give no money for a chance to win the prize.
However, many Christians are guilty of supporting lotteries, bingo, horse
racing, and even playing at the casinos. Video poker has become so popular it is now
referred to as "the crack cocaine of gambling." Some do not realize the gravity
of their sin. They justify gambling simply because they have needs that cannot be met
through their present earned income. The Lord desires to meet those needs for them and
will give them a plan for becoming debt free if they seek him and His economic principles
in the Bible.
The Lord can bring deliverance to those caught in this web of compulsive
gambling. Through admission of this sin and repentance God will break the bondage of it in
those who desire to be set free. Gamblers need love and acceptance but they must repent in
order to be free. The Lord loves those who are addicted to gambling and will help all that
call upon Him for deliverance.
This article was taken from the Overcoming
Life Digest (July/August, 1998 Issue); click here to view Digest
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