Is Gambling Wrong?

Is Gambling Wrong?Text: Proverbs 3:9

The Scriptures tell us that we are to “honor the Lord” with our possessions. This is important because everything we have ultimately comes from Him. We need to be sure we are following His standard and not the world’s. One question regarding our “wealth” that often arises is over the issue of gambling. Is gambling wrong? Should Christians be engaged in this practice? Let us consider this issue.

What Is Gambling?

  • The practice in which one wagers his own money/property on the outcome of a future event in hopes to gain another’s money/property
  • Common in our society – lottery, casinos, raffles, card games, sports gambling, etc.
  • The reward for winning is gained at the expense of others

Common Defenses for Gambling

  • Not specifically condemned in Scripture – something can still be wrong without a specific condemnation (Hebrews 7:12-14)
  • Just entertainment – this is not a justification for gambling (or any other practice); we must still let our light shine (Matthew 5:14) and do what is authorized (Colossians 3:17)
  • Money goes to a good cause – the ends don’t justify the means (Romans 3:8); if it’s truly a good cause, we should give without expecting anything in return (cf. Luke 6:35; 14:12-14)
  • Involves risk, but so does everything else in life – God does not expect us to live lives free from risk (Proverbs 22:13; James 4:13-15; Acts 20:22-23); risk in and of itself is not wrong; the problem is doing what is foolish or sinful

Problems with Gambling

  • Poor stewardship – being wasteful with our blessings (Luke 15:13-14); we must be good stewards of God’s blessings (1 Timothy 6:17-19); some put their families in financial hardship in order to gamble, thus neglecting their responsibilities (1 Timothy 5:8; Proverbs 31:12)
  • Addiction – 15% of Americans gamble at least once a week* and nearly 10 million struggle with a gambling habit**; Christians are not to be addicted to anything (1 Corinthians 6:12); if we’re addicted to something, it is master over us and we are to have no master but the Lord (Matthew 6:24)
  • Failing to practice the “golden rule” (Matthew 7:12) – we are to put the interests of others ahead of ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4); we are not doing this when we gamble
  • Covetousness – this may be the primary problem, even with casual gambling in moderation; if someone says he is not interested in what belongs to someone else, then there is no need to gamble; people gamble because they want the possessions of others; covetousness is condemned (Romans 1:29; 13:9; Colossians 3:5)

Conclusion

  • There is nothing “good” about gambling – rooted in covetousness, seeks the harm of others, can be addictive, waste of money, etc.
  • Therefore, Christians should NOT be engaged in this practice – we can find other forms of entertainment, other ways to help good causes, etc.
  • In everything we do, we need to make sure we are doing what the Lord wants us to do (Colossians 3:17)

* “15 percent of Americans gamble at least once per week.”

** “The North American Foundation for Gambling Addiction Help reports that approximately 2.6% of the U.S. population has some type of gambling issue. That adds up to nearly 10 million people in the United States who struggle with a gambling habit.”


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