What does the Bible say about Gambling? Should Christians gamble? And is Gambling a sin? If you’ve ever had questions about gambling from a Christian perspective, stay tuned!
Hi guys, my name is Justin and I want to welcome you to another episode of “That Christian Vlogger,” a place where you get to come join me and experience faith in the first person. On this episode we’re asking ourselves, “Is gambling a sin?” In many Christian circles gambling is looked at as a very dark thing- the type of thing that no self respecting Christian should ever do. Most Christians would not have a problem saying that yes, Gambling is definitely a sin and the Bible is clear on that. However..
I don’t think the Bible is so black and white on this… Now before you stone me for heresy, just hear me out… Contrary to popular belief, the Bible actually never talks about gambling in a negative way. In fact, the Bible has nothing to say about gambling at all! What the Bible does have to talk about is stewardship and coveting. The Bible many times talks about how placing material goods on a pedestal to be worshiped is a sinful thing. Consider Mark 8:36 where Jesus says, “what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his soul?” or Hebrews 13:5 that says, “Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have.” Or most famously in 1 Timothy 6:10 that says, “the love of money is the root of all evil.” Over and over again, the Bible makes it clear that the love of money and an unhealthy and unbalanced pursuit of money is a sin. Now, this doesn’t mean that being rich is a sin or working to get a raise is sinful.
(Believe me, I wouldn’t oppose if my boss offered me a raise either, nor would I be disappointed in the least bit). What the Bible does say is that coveting others worldly goods and being so consumed with financial success to the neglect of spiritual wholeness or at the cost of your relationships is a very unhealthily way to live and certainly sinful. However, this doesn’t really actually answer the question, “Is gambling a sin?” I actually think that depending upon who you are and the way you approach gambling determines wether or not it is sinful for you. Here’s what I mean by this. The other day, I was looking for something romantic to do with my beautiful wife Emily. I stumbled across this website that had a private hot air balloon ride for two available.
Get this, for a ride that will last only 2 or 3 hours, the rate was an insane number of over $650! Now I recognize that for some of you this isn’t a ton, but for a couple still trying to pay off their college loans- this is a little outside our budget. Now, does this mean that riding a hot air balloon ride is sinful?
Not necessarily. For those with a ton of money, $650 might just be a drop in the bucket and no bid deal at all because it would not cause their families any undue financial stress at all. Now imagine it was my honeymoon and I wanted to do something special for Emily and I saved up to do something fun with her. Would it be sinful to ride the hot air balloon then? Again, as long as I was being a responsible steward and not running my families budget into the ground, I don’t see anything wrong with it at all!
Now replace going to the casino with my example of the hot air balloon. Is it wrong to budget a few hundred dollars on a few hours of entertainment? Maybe, maybe not! It depends on who you are. If I’m in no financial position to be spending that money then absolutely yes!
If I am a wealthy man, than there’s no real reason to think that spending a few hundred dollars on some fun. Now before you all run off to Vegas, let me just be frank with you. Just because gambling might technically not be a sin, doesn’t make it a wise thing for you to do.
My late grandfather made millions of dollars back in the day from gambling. In fact, Caesar’s Palace which was one of the big time Casinos back in the day would fly the family out to Vegas, giving us the presidential suites for free, just to get him back in the doors! You see the Casinos knew that my Grandfather didn’t have the healthiest relationship to money.
The Casinos took advantage of my Grandfathers compulsively nature to gambling and they exploited the simple fact that gambling is addictive. They knew that if they could just get him in the door over and over again, in the long run, they would win! By the end of his life, the gambling cost my grandfather much more than he was willing to pay- it cost him not only all of his money (since he died broke)- but many of the family relationships along the way.
You see, gambling is an incredibly dangerous vice to indulge for many people. Annual costs associated with gambling run over 17 billion dollars a year. Those who become addicted to gambling often suffer from major depression related disorders and are higher risk for tobacco and drug abuse. Studies estimate anywhere from 25-50 percent of those with an addiction to gambling end up abusing their spouses.
And last but certainly not least, Georgia State University identified that over 73% of all people who are incarcerated are identified as chronic gamblers. So while in my opinion, I don’t think that Gambling is a sin, I still don’t think it’s something Christians ought to do. Christ calls us to set a high standard and to aim for the best in all areas of our lives. He calls us to be faithful stewards of both our time and money and to learn as Paul said, “to be content in any and every situation.” Why? Because to us, God’s grace and goodness in our lives is more than we’ll ever need! That’s all for today guys, I hope you enjoyed today’s topic.
What do you think about Gambling? Is gambling a sin? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!
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