FRIDAY, JUNE 1: While it is true that the bible does not explicitly prohibit gambling, however, the practice is prohibited by inference in the bible.  The very thought of the principle and practice of gambling was used by soldiers in relation to acquiring the Master’s garments at the foot of the cross is repulsive.  St. Mark’s gospel chapter 25:24 (New Living Translation) declares that the soldiers were gambling for His clothes by throwing dice to see who would get it.

Within the litany of prohibition from St. Paul’s epistle to the Galatians chapter 5:19 – 21, he focuses upon seventeen (17) demoralizing, unholy, socially destructive behaviours, to which he adds others under the phrase “and such like”. This is the category into which gambling falls.

Many documented reports testify to the debilitating of individual’s lives, disintegration of family life, and the ruination of community life.  The causes of which have been traced to the lifestyle of gambling, legalized or otherwise.  It has been said of gambling, “The best throw of the dice, is to throw them away” (an English proverb).

The stakes are too high.

Causes result in consequences.  Once again in St. Paul’s epistle to the Romans chapter 14, he cautions on the appropriateness in our exercising volitionary privileges by the use of the words, “let”, “let us”, and “let not”.  As we prepare to respond to our voting privilege in the referendum on gambling, let us consider the consequences of our actions by voting in favour of.

Therefore note the admonitions:

Romans 14:13:- Let us not…put a stumbling block or any occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

Romans 14:16:- Let not then your good be evil spoken of.

Romans 14:19:- Let us therefore follow after the things that make for peace…the things where with one may edify or build-up and enrich another. (The Greek word for peace is ‘eirene’ meaning health and prosperity.)

Thus, a quote from Lord Chesterfield, “He whoever plays deep must necessarily lose his money or character.”

The stakes are too high.

Most of us are acquainted with the TV commercials which offer a panacea for our aliments, being encouraged at the thought of a remedy or cure, only to hear of the ‘side effects’ that appear worse than the complaint.  I’m sure that you would agree that the ‘side effects’ from gambling only involves luck.  Well on the subject of luck, John Hay, in his work “Ditches” declared, “True luck consists not in holding the best of the cards at the table, the luckiest is he who knows just when to rise and go home”.

Therefore, as we respond to the choice of this avenue for revenue, let us consider the ‘side effects’ upon this community monetarily, morally, socially, and spiritually.  May we conclude that…

The stakes are too high!

Bishop Vernon Lambe oversees the congregations of the Church of God in Bermuda.