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Is Gambling a Sin? 

Today's Question: Living in Louisville, Kentucky, people really get "caught up" in Kentucky Derby fever!

An older couple that I have a Bible study with tell me they have to miss a Bible study on Wednesday because they are going to the races with the "Golden Oldies," a group of senior citizens from a denominational church they once attended! 
I believe that the race track is "off limits" to a child of God!  I used to partake of that before I was saved, but once I saw the light, I quit going to the races.  Now there is nothing wrong with looking at beautiful horses but once we put money down, we are on taking a risk.
I know that I need to tell them that they should stop gambling, however, what do I need to show them in the scriptures?  When we trust in anything but God as our supplier, I know its wrong.  But what do you say to people who want to go to the races and spend a couple of dollars as a "fun day?"  How do I tell them without sounding legalistic?  You see, many churches feel that the races are o.k.  I know it's not o.k. for me. 
The Bible tells us we are to "come out from among them."
Jean Hynes

Bible Answer: My stepbrother wrote a catching tune, "Gamblers Ain't Allowed in Heaven." While many gamblers will find themselves outside the gate of heaven, gambling itself does not keep a person out of heaven. God can forgive any sin, including gambling.

There are not many specific references to gambling in the Bible. The major one is when some soldiers at the foot of the cross gambled to see who would win Jesus' garments. Some gamblers justify their gambling by sighting the fact of the lack of biblical references on gambling. They assume that since gambling is not specifically forbidden, it must be okay. If we took this logic, then we could argue that taking drugs is okay too, since the Bible does not specifically forbid it.

Let me share five basic reasons why I believe gambling is wrong:

1. It's against the golden rule. 

Jesus teaches us to "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Gambling perverts this law by wording the golden rule this way: "Do unto others before they do it unto you." No gambler desires the best for his fellow man. Instead, he wants his fellow gamblers to lose so that he could win. This is selfishness.

A man asked the Lord if gambling was right or wrong. The Lord answered him, "Son, I want everyone to win, and in gambling some have to lose so others can win." We are to pray for others, not prey on them.

2. It's against the work ethic.

Ephesians 4:28 says: 

He...must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

Gambling does not produce anything useful or profitable. Gambling does not increase our gross national product; it only causes money to change hands.

3. It's against godly prosperity.

Proverbs 13:11 says: 

Dishonest money dwindles away, but he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.

God's plan for prosperity is simple: Make all you can, save all you can, and give all you can. Notice that this scripture proves that prosperity comes when you allow it to gradually grow. In gambling, people are looking for the big-pie-in-the-sky. They want to hit it big RIGHT AWAY.

The only ones making money in gambling are the casinos and bookies. And how do they get rich? Little by little. Bookies are satisfied with simply a small percentage of everyone's bets. In time they become rich.

4. It's against the command not to covet.

The tenth commandment says, "You shall not covet...You shall not set your desire on your neighbor's house or land...or anything that belongs to your neighbor." Gambling is based totally on coveting what belongs to others.

5. It's against wisdom.

And finally, it's plain stupid to gamble. The odds are always against you when betting against organized gambling—casinos, race tracks, bookies, lotteries, bingo halls, etc. Organized gambling will prance the few gamblers who got lucky in order to entice others into stupidity. Don't be fooled into thinking that you're going to get rich by gambling. You won't.

6. It's addictive.

There are some addictions that are quite harmless, such as coffee. However, gambling is not one them. It is very addictive and this addiction will ruin families and wreck people's financial security. Peter said, "For a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him" (2 Peter 2:19).

I have seen good people turn into thieves all because of the uncontrollable urge to gamble. A lady in my church told me how faithful she once served the Lord until she became addicted to this vice. One day in a casino she lost everything, and while she thought no one was looking, she stole a bucket of coins and ran off. She got caught and learned the high price of low living. It can happen to anyone.

These are some of the reasons why I feel that gambling is wrong.

[Editor's Note: Jean wrote back with a praise report.]  The  older couple I mentioned came over yesterday and received the message on gambling "joyfully."  I  have a feeling they might have been buying a few lottery tickets also, but now they know the truth and the truth has made them FREE!  They believe that this may be why they have not been able to sell a piece of land they own.  But now, they are believing that God is their supplier and that this is not the way to go.  They really are a precious couple and seem so eager to be obedient children.  They just have to be transformed by the renewing of their mind, and I am confident they will be.  


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