The Truth About Moral Issues
The Truth About Moral Issues
Gambling! Is it an innocent pastime, a way to fund education and help our community, an extra source of income? Or is it something with far-reaching consequences? Is it merely a recreational activity, or a serious moral problem?
Some people think gambling is acceptable to God and some think it s wrong. People have gone to the Scriptures seeking answers, but they say, I can t find a single verse that addresses the topic.
It is true that there is no verse in the Bible that says, Thou shalt not play Blackjack, but it is not the case that the Bible does not address gambling.
The Bible does indeed teach that gambling is wrong. Let s look at several principles that deal with the issue, because arguments for gambling are very weak. People say, Gambling is wrong because the Bible teaches us that we are to work for our money. That is true. We are to work and make a living, but if that argument was taken at face value, giving and receiving gifts would be sinful. It would also be sinful for Christians to assist the poor and for the poor to accept help from the church.
Someone might also say, Gambling is wrong because of the risk factor. That is not true. Risk in and of itself is not wrong. Life is a risk. When a man gets into his car to go to work, he is taking a risk. Being a Christian is a risk. That was especially so in the first century. In Matthew 25, the man with one talent was condemned because he wouldn t take a risk. When a farmer plants his crops, he is taking a risk. When a man buys stock, he is taking a risk. So we can easily see that the risk factor alone is not that which makes something sinful. As Christians, we have to be very careful about our arguments. Truth suffers when we make weak or inadequate arguments.
Let s begin with the definition of gambling. What are we talking about? There are three basic elements of gambling: (1) An uncertain, arbitrary event; (2) the wager, something of value, such as money, that is deliberately chanced on a particular outcome; and (3) a winner and a loser. The winner is financially benefited by the direct loss of someone else. When all three factors merge, the result is gambling.
BIBLICAL REASONING FOR WHY GAMBLING IS WRONG
Reason 1: COVETOUSNESS
What motivates people to gamble? Think about that for a minute. Two things immediately come to mind: greed and covetousness.
Under the Law of Moses, one of the Ten Commandments was, Thou shalt not covet. That means don t lust after, long for, or desire something that belongs to somebody else. Exodus 20:17 says, You shall not covet your neighbor s house; you shall not covet your neighbor s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor s. What about his money lying on the table? How does one sit around the table and gamble over a poker game without violating this principle? Notice that this principle also applies to the New Law under which we live. In Luke 12:15 Jesus said, Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.
Why is gambling wrong? Because of what motivates man to do it.
Reason 2: IT PREYS ON THE WEAKNESS OF OTHERS
Christian principles are just the opposite of this. Christian principles teach, As we have opportunity, let us do good to all... (Galatians 6:10). That means helping those in need, not taking their money. Biblical principles teach us to help the poor and feed the hungry. Gambling steals from the poor and robs the hungry.
The busiest day in Atlantic City casinos is the day after welfare checks hit the mailboxes. People who can t afford to lose their money are in the casinos, hoping to strike it rich. A gambler may win at the loss of one who can least afford to lose. A disproportionate number of people who play the lottery are the very poor. They take food o