Can We Gamble? (2)

By Keith Greer

“If we then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. . . Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry” (Eph. 3:1-5).

Many try to justify gambling by saying that they know when to stop. “I just set myself a $20 limit for the night. When that is gone, it is gone. It is just my entertainment. It is no different than going to the movies.”

Do most people know “when to stop”? Statistics would tell otherwise. There are many chapters of Gamblers Anonymous, not only in Las Vegas, but throughout the United States. Many young airmen at Nellis get into trouble because they get started gambling and don’t know when to stop. More than one young person has written bad checks thinking, “If I just play one more time, I’m going to win the big jackpot.”

Ask any gambler who has destroyed his home and turned to crime to support his gambling. Many start something that they cannot stop. Las Vegas has many “homeless” – many as a direct result of those who came to Las Vegas thinking that they were going to be the one to “strike it rich.” Rather than getting rich, they do not even have a bus fare home.

I get many calls at the building here every week from people who are in just such circumstances. I recently had a call from a Christian from Texas who had come here with his family and, even though his wife and children had pleaded with him, he spent two days “at the tables” and lost all of his money. He was crying and asked me to pray with him, not only for God to forgive him, but for the terrible example he had set for his family.

If you don’t care about yourself, think about this. “Just as teenagers are beginning to show signs of curtailing risky sex, illicit drug use and drunk driving, another potentially destructive behavior – gambling – is threatening to become the teen vice of the ’90s. . . The most popular forms of gambling among teenagers include betting on sports, card playing, lotteries and slot machines. . . For teen and other problem gamblers, betting fever may lead to serious crimes as well as self-destruction. . . The social and personal factors that cause compulsive gambling, such as widespread materialism and unstable families, continue unabated” (U.S. News & World Report, June 18, 1990, p. 51).

“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, self-control: against such there is no law” (Gal. 5:22-23).

Guardian of Truth XXXV: 6, p. 163
March 21, 1991