Anumber of years ago, when the news broke about casinos being planned for in Singapore, I was repeatedly asked the same question by various people: “Can Christians gamble?”
I was shocked that some people who profess to be Christians do gamble. Such people would justify it by saying that it is legal, and so, it is not wrong.
A few say that they gamble for entertainment. They argue: “I am not a habitual gambler.” To them, occasional gambling is fine. However, many habitual gamblers began gambling as entertainment.
Others say: “I know my limits.” They do not realise that “the heart is deceitful above all things” (Jer 17:9).
Some even pray sincerely and earnestly before buying the lottery ticket or betting on the horses.
Others vow to give a tenth of the prize money to God and His missions, if they win. But those who don’t give to God in ordinary circumstances will find it difficult to give when they strike the lottery.
And their justifications go on.
The word “gamble” means “to put money at risk with speculations”. The Tamil word for gambling, Soodhattam, explains very clearly that it is not a clean game. So gambling in any form is not healthy for a Christian.
The Bible has no direct command to refrain from gambling. But there are some basic principles we can see in the Scriptures.
Call the National Council on Problem Gambling helpline 1800-6-668-668 if you need to put yourself, or someone you know, on the road to recovery.
Picture by rachwal/Bigstock.com
Now let me turn the question to you: “Can Christians gamble?”
The Rev R. Prabhu was elected President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) in 2012 for the quadrennium. He is also Pastor-in-Charge of Ang Mo Kio Tamil and Seletar Tamil Methodist Churches.