Wednesday, 11 July 2018

THE HAZARDS OF GAMBLING!


“…but a person who wants quick riches will get into trouble. Greedy people try to get rich quick but don't realize they're headed for poverty.” - Proverbs 28:20b, 22. NLT

Those who love money will never have enough.
Ecclesiastes 5:10a NLT.

The rate at which people are turning to gambling these days is becoming alarming! It is fast becoming an acceptable norm in our society. Gone are those days where gambling is mostly associated with the middle-aged and elderly-male folks. Today, because of the advent of the internet, children, youth, male and female adults are participant in this course.

Gambling is the risking of money or any valuable item on an event, with an uncertain outcome and the primary intent of wining additional money, goods  or material value, or both. Gambling is a risky act in which a person risks something of value to the force of chance completely beyond his or her control or any rational expectation.

Gambling is simply living life based on luck instead of one’s creative and working abilities. You cannot life your lives based on luck, chance, betting or gambling. It is a pitiable condition to live like that, because just like many who have fallen victim, you could be disappointed, which will lead to being miserable in life.

Gambling, for a gambler is rarely a gainful venture because lottery companies don’t run their business to lose, rather, they are set up for profit purpose which is actually gotten from the losses of every participant. Lottery companies are not Santa Claus who gives out free gift or money. Doing business with such company is only trying to reap where you never sown.

A gambler might argue that some people have made a fortune from gambling. Yes, that is correct. But comparing the percentage of very many people that loss to those few people that win, you will realise that it is an act of robbing Peter to pay Paul? Do you think such could be a justifiable type of business before God?

Causes of Gambling
There are diverse reasons given by gamblers on why they gamble and these reasons ranges from joblessness, hobby and heredity, while to some, as a means of livelihood. Yes, these reasons may sound nice, but comparing them to the long-term effect of such an act can be devastating, not just to the individual involved but on a family, society and nation at large.

There are two undeniable basic reasons why men, irrespective of their status do gamble: the love of money and the desire to get-quick-money without labour. These are the major reasons why gambling for a Christian should never be an option because the two reasons are strongly condemned in the Bible.

But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.
1 Tim 6:9-10 NLT.

The truth is not far fetch that many take to gambling because of laziness and indolence; trying to reap where they have never sown. This is not to excuse the fact that working class persons don’t involve in gambling also.

Associating with a bunch of gamblers might influence anyone into gambling. A man will end up becoming like the people that surrounds him if he did not detach from them. That is why the Scripture reveals that: “Do not be misled: ‘Bad company corrupts good character.’

Even though some supposedly rich people have been known to gamble; gambling has been majorly known to be associated with the poor and middle class who are trying to use it to break free from their present status. Poverty could push people to gamble, but when you have vision and a purpose for living, you will not take that route which although looks like a short cut to success but it’s only a dead end.

The news that someone won a great sum of cash has pulled many into the net of gambling. This deception is sold as a bet to draw many to the hook of gambling. But in actually statistic, cases of gamblers winning in any gambling venture is very rare, as it only happen to one person out of a million persons, in once in a while occasion. According to a statistic given concerning a particular lottery, the chance of winning in it is 1 in 175 million. At least this is giving us a clue to the reality on ground. It might be difficult to believe this especially if you are only looking at the people in your sphere.

There is this illusion that keeps many gamblers in the net for a long time; that is the belief that one day, they will win back all the money they’ve put in. It’s a self deception which has made many to become addicted to gambling.

Even if a gambler finally wins, it has been established that it is difficult to make any good investment with the money earned through gambling; rather it is used in re-gambling. It is on record that majority of those that happen to get wealth by chance only end up losing it again because as the scripture says: Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears; wealth from hard work grows over time. Proverbs 13:11NLT

When gambling habit is not stopped on time, it ends up becoming an addiction which is very difficult to break once it is developed.

Is gambling that bad? Is it a sin to gamble? Yes, because it has its root on greed, which is exhibited through the love of money and a get-rich-quick syndrome. It is situation where wealth can be gotten without any legitimate labour. Every form of gambling is bad, irrespective of their names and modus operandi and this includes but not limited to ponzi schemes like MMM, lottery, lotto, poker, casino and sports’ betting which is fast gaining ground in the lives of both the older and the younger generation of both gender.

The Risks of Life Versus Gambling
A gambler might argue that life is all about risk, losing and wining, and therefore confusing skill-based business adventure with chance-based gambling. The risk in gambling is different from the risk that is associated with general life adventure like doing legitimate business, investment, changing job, travelling in a car with the risk of accident and lots more.

The difference between taking risks in life adventures in comparison to that of gambling are as follows:

1.     In gambling, you have a high chance of losing, whereas the risk of life is a calculated one, where you have a high chance of succeeding. A calculated risk is one that is given a thoughtful consideration to the risk involved, the costs and the potential benefits before it is ventured into.
2.     With every necessary parameters put in place, the outcome from the risk of life can be ascertained. But for gambling, it is left purely to chance, whether it is calculated or not, it is still a game of chance nonetheless.
3.     The risk of life demands creativity, strategic planning, in-depth and reasonable thinking whereas gambling is purely based on luck which does not involve these elements.
4.     The risks of life can be managed and approached thoughtfully, whereas the only reasonable approach to gambling is either to win or loss.
5.     Risk takers embrace failure by incorporating any experienced failure or disappointment into their future decisions, plans and actions, but gamblers pays no heed to failure. Failures, for a gambler only thickens his skin to go deeper into gambling.
6.     Life is indeed full of risk, but it is calculated risk with corresponding and dignifies labour, whereas gambling on the other hand is mere speculations without corresponding labour to help to control the outcome. Taking risks is essential in life, but gambling is foolhardy.

Effects of Gambling
1.           Gambling leads to loss of money and or valuable resources.
2.           It causes isolation from families and friends as a result of chasing after luck.
3.           It kills the motivation to engage in social and creative activities.
4.           It causes lack of interest in spending money on basic needs.
5.           It causes poverty. A hard worker has plenty of food, but a person who chases fantasies ends up in poverty. Proverbs 28:19 NLT.
6.           It could lead one into criminal activities in other to raise fund for gambling.
7.           It is capable of breeding a generation of lazy individual who lacks vision and purpose for living.
8.           Gambling kills the interest to pursue one’s purpose in life; rather it causes people to chase after money without the fulfilment of purpose.
9.           Gambling leads to moral decadence in any society; destroying the work ethic. Making people to think that working is a waste of time and effort.
10.      It can ruin a life, destroy a destiny and squander a fortune.
11.      Gambling kills the creative ability of an individual.
12.      If gambling is not checked on time, it will become an addiction which is difficult to destroy.
13.      Gambling has been known to destroy family bond; leading to neglect of family members and diversion of money meant for the family into gambling.
14.      Gambling causes the spirit of greed to develop in a heart of a gambler, making the gambler unable to lend helping hands to other, viewing every penny as potential seed for gambling
15.      Gambling feeds the human tendency to want to get rich quickly with minimal effort; this is a dangerous position to be in.
16.      Gambling leads to frivolous living because as the book of Proverbs 13:11 reads: “Wealth from get-rich-quick schemes quickly disappears”. Remember the Prodigal son as recorded in Luke 15:11-32.
17.      Exploitation! Lotteries Companies are doing more harm than good because they are simply exploiting the poor masses, where their input to the society can’t be compared to what they are taking from the people.

Breaking Free From Gambling
No habit is actually easy to break and that includes the habit of gambling. However, testimonies abound of people who made decision to stop gambling and they were successful in stopping it.

One of the first steps to breaking free from gambling is to accept the fact that gambling is unhealthy, capable of affecting you and your family with a long-term effect. You have to change your mentality about it. Gambling is not an option for a child of God. If you think it is good, it will not be possible to break free from it. Believe that gambling is wrong and make a personal commitment to stop it.

Secondly, be mindful of what is influencing you to gamble and cut-off the source of the influence. If friends are influencing you, disassociate from them, take advise from the Scripture which reads: Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble. Proverbs 13:20NLT.

If breaking free from debt is what is making you to gamble, have a strategic plan with legitimate income to pay it off and stay out of debt. Are you in it just to pass time or just for the fun of it? Substitute that for something creative like music, reading book, sports et cetera.

Contentment is a major therapy to gambling. When a man lacks the virtue of contentment he is prone to do anything to get wealth.  As the Scripture reads, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have…” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV). Contentment in this sense is not suggesting complacency, whereby one is not making any effort to advance in life. Rather, contentment is appreciating God for where you are and what you have now while taking legitimate step to improve your life.

Never forget, every penny you have was given to you by God who expects you to use it prudently, and not like the Prodigal son who lavished all he had on riotous living. This is what is known as having a stewardship mentality; i.e., knowing that you can’t just spend any money that comes to you anyhow.

Rhetorical Questions
1.           Does my conscience reprimand me against gambling?
2.           How profitable is gambling to my spiritual life?
3.           Does gambling glorify God in my life?
4.           Do I want everyone to know that I’m a gambler?
5.           Do I want my children to trail this line?
6.           Will I want others to follow my example in this line?
7.           Have I become addicted to gambling?
8.           Do I have faith in gambling to meet my need than faith in God to provide?
9.           If Christ Jesus was in my state, will He gamble?

I want you to ponder on the above questions. Be sincere to yourself in answering them. I believe strongly that giving your candid answers to the questions above will help you see clearly what gambling is.

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