While the Bible has no ” Though shall not gamble” verse, Christians have marked it as a ‘grey area’ often shying away from this practice. Betting is one of the many forms of gambling. Of late, Kenyans have embraced the sport betting culture, resulting to a rise in betting platforms, which are used by Christians as well.
The debate remains as to whether or not, a Christian should bet?
The desire for money is addictive, and this addiction is a reality that we can’t ignore just because we are Christians. The Bible cautions us concerning the love for money- “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 a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:9-10)
Common reasons that are given against Christians betting, revolve around the vices that it surrounds.
Gambling is inconsistent with the virtues of the Bible because it encourages (is encouraged by) covetousness, greed, and materialism. It is also contrary to the biblical work ethic, mainly because it is an attempt to gain wealth without working for it. We are instructed to work for a living. Doing anything opposite to this is plain laziness, where we gain where we have not worked.
Other than these reasons, it is evident that betting promotes materialism and greed, where gamblers want to get more than what they put in. It is a clear sign of discontent and exploitation.
We are called to be good stewards of all that we are given by GOD including our money. Scripture instructs us to use our resources to provide for our families and our basic needs. Gambling channels these resources to the risk of losing them on the possibility of winning more.
The fact remains that any form of gambling is addictive, and statistics are there to support this. Christians are not immune to this fact, because as much as we are Christians, we are also human. Whatever we allow to control us, we become enslaved to. “For you are a slave to whatever controls you.” 2 Peter 2:19 The Bible warns us that a conflict will arise when we put God and money on the same page. “…. for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to one and despise the other.”
The Bible recognizes the need for money. God is not blind to our needs, and He promises to provide. In Christ’s teachings He encourages us to ask Him for our daily needs, and He promises to be faithful to provide, even when it comes to monetary needs. God is a faithful God, and He cannot leave us to the desperation that comes with betting. “.. your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things..”
Closer home, we have read and heard of cases where people have committed suicide after investing so much on the bet only to miss out on the winnings. The long term effect of betting is addiction which rarely ends in a good way. Christians are therefore often urged to stay away from anything that promotes gambling. There is a thin line between what is right and what is wrong. What is acceptable and what is right. Betting may be acceptable, but is it right?
Paul in answering questions from the Corinthians wrote: ‘You say- “I am allowed to do anything,” but not everything is good for you. And even though “I am allowed to do anything,” I must not become a slave to anything.”
We all have our opinion on this. What do you think? Is it okay for Christians to bet?