This question was submitted to our ministry some months ago: “Is Gambling Wrong?” We can often find the answer to a question like this by considering why we are asking such a question. For example, people do not ask the question “Is petting my dog wrong?” To be even asking such a question about gambling tells us we know something is probably wrong with gambling, even if we cannot figure out exactly what that is.
What is Gambling?
According to Webster’s Online Dictionary, gambling is “to play a game for money or property; to bet on an uncertain outcome.” The choice to gamble has the inherent nature of risking the loss of money. However, in gambling it is a game – something done for fun. So gambling risks your own money in the hopes of having fun and winning more money, but you almost certainly will lose more than you gain in the long run. Gambling seems to offer a quick-and-easy way to gain lots of money fast. However, anything that baits you with lots of money gained quickly almost always has a high price to pay and a terrible consequence in the end.
The Nature of the Gambler
Gambling feeds the dark side of human nature which has a lust for money. The gambler keeps gambling because of an insatiable desire for more money. This is really where the problem with gambling exists. The Bible says, “For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs (1 Timothy 6:10).” We are told repeatedly in the Bible that pursuing to be rich is pointless (Mark 8:36; Ecclesiastes 5:10; Matthew 6:19). Hebrews 13:5 says, “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have.”
Are You Free?
Jesus came to set us free. One application of being set free is set free from addictions. Gambling is highly addictive. Just like the alcoholic is addicted to drink and the drug addict is addicted to drugs, gamblers have been addicted to gambling. They want to stop but they cannot. This is not something of God but something devilish. They sometimes destroy their family finances, marriages, and ruin the lives of their children. It says in Proverbs 15:27, “He who profits illicitly troubles his own house…” They are in chains of bondage which is a sure sign of the devil’s handy work.
Does It Glorify God?
The Bible says to do all things to the glory of God in 1 Corinthians 10:31. Does gambling bring God glory? Certainly not. Can you imagine Jesus telling His disciples to go gamble with money donated to His ministry? Of course not. Why? Because it is both destructive and foolish. God has set in the earth a system of earning money and it is based on work not a get-rich-quick scheme. If you don’t work, you don’t eat according to 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
Gambling feeds the sin nature’s lust for money. It is something done out of greed. It is addictive. Gambling is destructive to those affected by the gambler’s addiction like their spouse or children. Gambling never glorifies God. It is a foolish waste of time and money. God gave us all our money and we are to be faithful with it. Jesus spoke a parable about a man that was not faithful with the money he was given. In the end it was said to this man in Matthew 25:30 “Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” This emphasizes it is important to God how we spend the money God has provided for us.