Let me start this by saying my words are not Gospel Truth — there is only one Man whose words are that, and He is Jesus Christ.
Having said that, what I am about to write may convict you. This will likely not be the answer you desired to find when you typed “is gambling a sin” into Google. This will likely be the answer you have to compartmentalize so you feel free to put that extra $25 into your online fantasy sports account.
“Is gambling a sin?”
This may be one of the most controversial questions in Christianity; one that a lot of people do not feel comfortable asking out in the open, for fear of shame. That reason alone could be reason enough to end the pursuit of striking rich on a horse race, winning a few hundred dollars on a baseball game, or getting sucked into the black hole of paid fantasy sports.
Unfortunately, that reason is not enough for many people, including myself. There is this unscratchable itch that exists only to try and pull you back, no matter what your logic or discernment might tell you.
I am asking that you do not try to scratch that itch before finishing this article.
For me, gambling always used to be this thing that was up for interpretation whether it was a sin or not. My flesh-preserving interpretations were as follows:
- “Gambling does not hurt anyone and can only negatively affect my bank account if I let it.”
- “Everyone has their preferred choice of entertainment. Some people choose to spend hundreds of dollars on golf outings in a month. So what if I choose to only spend $20 on my daily lineups for the week?”
I want to take a minute to analyze and break down my fleshly interpretations and insert their God-breathed, biblical counterparts.
First, gambling can definitely hurt you.
It does not just stop at you, though; it also can hurt your loved ones and your relationship with God. Every time you gamble, you preoccupy yourself with something of this world and it takes your focus off of God. It is a tool that is used by the enemy because there is no scripture explicitly ‘outlawing’ gambling.
When I bought into the lies of gambling, I found myself deep in a hole that I wanted to get out of. I was sacrificing my relationship with God by purposely turning away from the convictions He was laying before me. I was sacrificing my trusting relationships with my loved ones by lying to them about what I was doing. I even sacrificed my whole paycheck at a craps table at one point… Yes, it was that bad.
After I stopped going to casinos and stayed clean, I found this new form of gambling that did not feel like gambling at all.
It took only five dollars to sign up and begin playing. I was able to use my favorite players from my favorite teams, look at matchups to gain advantages, and watch sports while trying to win money. I was in love and her name was Daily Fantasy Sports!
Things were decent with DFS for a while, but then I ended up spending hours throughout my day researching matchups, only to be left feeling empty whether I won or lost.
- When I won, I wanted to parlay it into a deeper win.
- When I lost, I felt less-than and wanted to put more money into my account to cover my losses.
It even made it so my pure love for baseball was tainted. I would be more focused on whether Brian Dozier would hit a home run for my lineup than the actual score of the game I was watching. Even if the Twins were winning, if my player was batting 0-for-4, my night was bad.
“Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” – 1 Timothy 6:9-10
Secondly, it is very true that everyone has their own versions of entertainment.
They spend large amounts of money on their hobbies because they care about them so much. Some people spend hundreds of dollars on fishing gear and drop $20,000 on a new boat so they can enjoy nice afternoons out on the lake. Others spend $400 on the latest video game console so they can play MLB The Show (wink).
Still, others drop hundreds of dollars on women and drinks at gentlemen’s clubs. Some spend thousands of dollars on drugs to get recreationally high. A lot of people blow paychecks and mortgage payments at the craps table (wink).
Just because we have the freedom to do anything does not mean that we should. We should use some discretion when it comes to the activities that we choose to take part in.
What if you saw a local pastor out at a casino? What would your first thought be? My guess is that the average joe would think that this individual is very out of place in this setting; that this person either does not belong at the casino or does not belong as the face of a church.
“‘I have the right to do anything,’ you say — but not everything is beneficial. ‘I have the right to do anything,’ — but I will not be mastered by anything.” – 1 Corinthians 6:12
“Abstain from all appearance of evil.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:22
Is putting $25 into your lineup on a Daily Fantasy Sports website necessarily sinful? No.
Are greed and covetousness sinful? Yes.
If your reasons for playing are truly pure, is there any way for everyone to see the true heart behind why you put the money into your DFS account?
I pray that you choose to listen to this for what it is — a loving, rebuking way to stamp out any worldliness that may be wanting to take hold inside of you.
Do your spirit, your family, and anyone who may see you out in the world a favor; take that $25 and go down to the bait shop to get some worms, hooks, and enough sunflower seeds to last you from Noon-to-sundown.