Is gambling really just innocent fun? We all know that many are addicted and that casinos make billions of dollars. Every addicted gambler started out with the idea of risking a little bit of innocent money, with the idea in the back of their mind that they might rake in a big win. After all, the winners are advertised with a big smile on their faces. Why not me? And when you have beginner’s luck, then you want to experience that again. After so many losses you know that some luck is bound to come your way. And you start liking the clinging of the coins and every time that happens, you feel, or think to feel a bit of paradise. Your money for nothing and your chicks for free. Hooray! By then you stubbornly ignore the fact that you are beginning to get hooked. You do not count what the losses amount to. You do admit that in the end the house always wins, but you keep hoping for that one big bang. Except if that should occur, you would gamble with even greater antes. This may serve to illustrate what has happened to countless poor souls.
The combination of gambling and psychological pain is the most dangerous one. People lapse into spending sprees out of pain, or into binging. Others into alcoholism or a gaming addiction, or even an innocent looking sports mania. Again others start experimenting with drugs, or sex. Many develop dependencies of several of these. Once you are trapped, you are caught by a vicious circle of temporary relief and the subsequent hangover. Only to try it again. The longer this cycle persists, the harder it is to break. Realize that you are fleeing into a surrogate and seek help to get to the causes. In many cases an antidepressant might help. But get over your shame and find professional help. Above all pray to the Lord Jesus for rescue.
Gambling on websites at home is inviting the devil. People run up high costs on their credit cards and the owners laugh all the way to the bank. They do not care about your losing your home and even your wife and children. Many gamblers develop co-morbidities such as alcoholism and drug addictions. Prostitution is a ‘normal’ thing in such circles. Most governments have legalized some form of gambling and many clubs, charities and shops offer tickets to lure prospects to their goods or services. I do not condemn these forms of gambling. I myself once won an expensive computer with all kinds of accessories. Also I won some small prizes with bingo. But at a certain moment I began buying more and more lottery tickets. And from there the step was small to try my hand at one of those one armed thieves in restaurants. The next step was to try out the casino. After a number of years I realized that I ran the danger of getting dependent permanently. So I stopped abruptly and started praying for total deliverance and having somebody else pray for that. I felt that I got out no day too soon and I have to admit that when I see one of those machines, I experience that it still attracts me. Gambling is one of the most stubborn addictions. Stop radically while you can. Or else find help.
Let us analyze gambling from a Christian perspective. We lost paradise and now we desire to compensate. This is called the pursuit of happiness. However there is only lasting happiness in a close relationship with Christ Jesus. Most gamblers develop a superstitious habit or even think that they have found a way to beat the machine. Many books have been written that advertize supposedly clever ways to turn the odds around in your favor. Except the only person to benefit from such a book is the author. Then there is the autotheistic attitude that makes you believe that you can best the odds. Also gamblers play god as if they have all the money in the world. Let the money roll, you have enough of it! One gambler ran five machines automatically by jamming the buttons after having filled them with much cash. He let them run till all his money was gone and then he went home broke to beg his mother for some bucks to buy a pack of cigarettes. Like little gods they think they can transcend chance and machinery as if they were magicians. This is the sin of the garden of Eden in which Eve was made to believe she could be like God. People get used to the surroundings and all the gambling appurtenances in casinos. This is my home. Here I belong. Here is my family. In Vegas there is even a priest that blesses the gambling machines with holy water. Unholy! Talk about surrogate religion…
Many people gamble at the stock market. Others gamble at women. Some Christians claim that a game of cards is from the devil and even that when you have it in your home, you are not a Christian family. It is the devil’s picture book and the joker represents the devil and other such tales. This is a bounce reaction of course. Some even go so far as stating that playing yahtzee is evil as one uses dice. They claim that the soldiers that gambled over Christ’s robe at the cross, used dice. Some think that the Urim and Thumim of the high priest, used to consult God, were actually dice to determine a lot or decision. In this context one can also think of the stone with seven eyes in the book of Zachariah. However that may be gamblers start believing that life is a bet and that in fact everything is. Gambling as religion, philosophy and lifestyle.
Solomon stated that “wealth gotten out of vanity, diminishes; but he that gathers handful by handful, increases.” Money should go where it should go, but society has become sick with financial buggery. Many resort to chain letters. Others to pyramid schemes or other criminal activities. We must strive to build something up patiently, for most of us will not come up with something that turns into something big overnight. Paul warns: “Love of money is a root of all evil” and “They that desire to become rich, fall into a trap and many temptations.”
Instead of all this, let us direct our hearts heavenward and seek true and lasting joy. The prophet stated that our joy in the Lord is our strength. And we need strength to make it through this world. We have a race to run and therefore must not be distracted by unnecessary business, let alone sins. Also we are called upon to fight for the faith once delivered to the saints. Let us admonish, exhort and encourage each other!