Many years ago a preacher was speaking. He told of two men who were in disagreement on the subject of lying. One took the position that any and all lying was sin. The other did not see any wrong in telling what he called, “little white lies.” He was asked, “Would you lie for a million dollars?” He quickly replied, “Yes, I would.” He was then asked, “Would you lie for five hundred thousand dollars?” Again, he responded in the affirmative. “Would you lie for two hundred fifty thousand dollars?” was the next question. His answer was, “Yes, I would lie for two hundred fifty thousand dollars.” A final question was asked, “Would you lie for a penny?” The man turned completely serious, and angrily responded, “No! What do you think that I am?” The point was then made, “We have already determined that. We are now just determining the amount.” Beloved, lying is lying, whether white, gray or black. Sin is sin, whether little or grand. God forbad stealing under the law of Moses (Exodus 20:15), and He forbids stealing under the law of Christ. (Ephesians 4:28; Romans 13:9). The amount has nothing to do with it. It is just as wrong to steal one cent as it is to steal one million dollars. The wrong is in the sin, not the amount or extent of the sin.
Scores in our society have been deceived into believing that many sinful things are harmless, even helpful, and acceptable. Some even refer to such things as “little matters.” Far too many have the mindset that a matter is all right if the word of God does not say, “Thou shalt not _____.” They, not God, put such things in the realm of opinion. Some, even churches, categorize sin as “big” and “little”, or “mortal” and “venial.” They, not God, classify some sin as not really good, but not something that would cause one to be lost. Solomon was inspired by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20, 21) to write, “the little foxes spoil the vines.” (Song of Solomon 2:15). Too, God does not have to specifically call a thing sinful for it to be wrong. After naming a number of sins (Galatians 5:19-21), Paul was inspired to add, “and such like.” (Verse 21). In other words, God condemns some things by name, while forbidding unnamed activities by association or likeness. Some things, though not named, violate the principles He set forth. An example of this is the non-existent statement, “Thou shalt not beat thy wife or thy husband.” Neither does one find a law, saying, “Thou shalt not be a drug dealer or addict.” A number of other things could be mentioned just here. However, though not specifically stated, serious students of the scriptures know that such is wrong because they violate other Bible principles.
Gambling falls under the category of unnamed sin. Some may have to pause just here to take a heart tablet. Take a deep breath and read on. Take time to read, study, and meditate on the following Biblical facts. First, all gambling is not the same, but all gambling is wrong. Some forms of gambling may affect little, while others may be seriously hurtful. For example, state run lotteries and bingo may not be as destructive as personal bets which lead to excessive loss. The mafia, corporate, and/or run slot machines, and such like, may not be as hurtful as personal betting. State fairs, school events, social, and church small-time gambling fundraisers, may seem good because of the benefit they bring to school children. These may not result is such great loss. Likely, the most hurtful type of gambling is between friends and others, where one would lose a car, house, material possessions, or even excessive amounts of money. Each of these should be avoided because each one is hurtful.
The first three of these may be less hurtful, but lull the participant into spending and wasting much money on false promises. The fourth may have more negatives than the others, more to lose. Many gamble on state run games of chance due to the mega bucks they seek to win. However, one has a better chance of being hit by lightning than winning one of these big sums. Those who play the machines think they will win large sums of cash. However, a parent of one owner of such machines told this writer that the machines are set up to pay out minimal amounts to lucky participants. It was stated that the offspring would benefit the most, saying that the “little” pay-outs, are teasers to keep the participants coming back and playing. A law officer of many years confirmed these statements. Most gamblers will end up losing much more than they will win.
These various games of chance cost gamblers millions of dollars yearly, filling the coffers of the greedy, blood-sucking, non-caring leeches, who deceive by their false advertising. They have nothing to lose, since they have their machines set up to win. How else could they remain in business? One owner’s parent proudly laughed, telling this scribe how many thousand dollars that offspring made daily on big eyed, non-suspecting players. A relative of the penman who worked in Las Vegas told of two different men who came to Las Vegas to gamble. Each man had a successful business worth $20,000,000.00. Both men lost all they had! Later, one man asked for a loan of $100.00, stating that he felt “lucky today.”
Is gambling good for anyone but the one who runs the games, or perhaps the one who beats the astounding odds? NO! NO! NO! Decide for yourself. We are told that there are some 2-3 million gambling addicts, with another 4-6 million problem gamblers. 50% of these are said to be women. Do you want to become an addict? Likely, neither of these desired to become such. Perhaps, neither of these thought they would. We are told that there are two times more gambling addicts than cancer patients. The powers that have been and be seem to be more interested in collecting money than fixing the problems. The “sin-taxes” on tobacco and alcohol turn many eyes away from the solutions to these things. Lucrative dollars from gambling closes eyes to what needs to be done. Compulsive gamblers cost $ 16,000.00 per person per year. 25% of gambling addicts have tried to commit suicide. According to a Harvard study, 90% of gambling addicts relapse. We are told that there are some 622,000 American College students who are addicted to gambling. Even teens, some 35,000, whose parents gamble are more likely to become gamblers. IS ANY OF THIS GOOD? ACCEPTABLE? IS JUST ONE OF THESE PRECIOUS SOULS WORTH SACRIFICING FOR ANY MONIES RECEIVED?
Attention is now turned to Biblical reasons why one should not gamble one cent, much less multiple dollars. First, Paul penned these words, “But if any provide not for his own and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Timothy 5:8). How many precious spouses and children have gone without food, clothes, and other necessities, because some family member gambled funds away, thinking they might win? How many are in debt? How many are in debt collections? How many have lost various possessions? How many have been jailed? How many have been beaten or killed over unpaid gambling debts? Cf. Ephesians 5:21-6:4.
Matthew 7:12, “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.” The golden rule disallows one from unfairly taking from another. Would you have another taking from you, or do you want to win what another has? “Jesus…went about doing good (Acts 10:38), and He taught that “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35). What influence for Jesus would a winner of another’s possessions have on the loser?
Read 1 Corinthians 13:4-8. Galatians 6:10, “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them which are of the household of faith.” Hebrews 13:1, “Let brotherly love continue.” Matthew 5:44, “Love your enemies.” How does unfairly seeking to take from another fit into these verses? Could I show love for you while at the same time seeking to take what is yours? Would I be showing love for you, your spouse, and your children while taking food, clothes, and more from you?
Ephesians 4:28, “Let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth.” Hoping to hit the big money destroys the incentive to work. Wasting money on games of chance, little or much, diminishes the ability to help the needy. Many have even lost jobs due to gambling addiction, missing work, and job related problems caused by such. Others have lost family and friends.
1 Corinthians 6:12, “I will not be brought under the power of any.” 2 Peter 2:19, “Of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.” Many who gamble become addicts and/or problem gamblers. One who does not wager the first cent does not have this concern.
Dear reader, do not allow the greedy, wasteful culture lure you into false hopes. Do not allow them to lead you into covetousness (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10; Luke 12:15). Greed may lead you into temptation, and cause you to err from the faith. ( 1 Timothy 6:9, 10). All the good promised, such as free schooling, better roads, less taxes, and so much more, does not justify the hurtful and wrong things done to receive any of it. Will hurting even one person be worth it? Many will object to the things said herein, and seek to make gambling look good. Just remember, an attractive lure or a juicy worm on a hook looks good to the fish UNTIL IT IS HOOKED! It is then eaten by the deceiver.
A final thought. What would you say and do if the state taxed you in the amount you willingly rush to give those who lure you to spend your money on false hopes? State lotteries, legal betting places, and such like, are state taxes without calling it such. And, And, And the officials laugh at our failure to recognize this. Help good causes, but do so in a way that is harmless and beneficial.