Either way, you lose!
Some time ago a long-time friend we’ll call “George,” called me late at night. I could sense his hesitation and braced for the worst. He described for me how the settlement from a job-related injury had enabled him to go to graduate school for retraining. Although he and his wife tried to be frugal, they saw that they would run out of money two semesters short of graduation. He said he scrambled to get the rest of the money from some other source.
When he paused, I knew the backgrounding was over. "Steve, I thought of a way out," George said. "I used to bet on sports events. Not a lot, it was no big deal. But it made me aware of some companies that make score predictions for gamblers. They didn't seem much different from stock market advisors. Now I researched them, I tracked their success/failure ratio for a few weeks, and then I picked one and took the plunge."
Without his wife's knowledge, George took credit card cash advances and began to bet on basketball, hockey, boxing, ponies, and stock cars through an illegal bookie. George knew it was wrong, but he was desperate. He became obsessed, staying up late watching ESPN in horror as games were lost at the buzzer and horses placed second in photo-finishes. In only two weeks he had lost $10,000. And it was $10,000 he didn't have--$10,000 he had to pay back.
George finally got spiritual counsel and revealed all to his wife. Predictably, Sharon exploded. To her, this was the latest entry in a long list of offenses. Now they are separated. Since both are still active Christians, there’s some hope for a reconciliation. But their future and their teenager's are tottering on a tightrope.
The Holy Spirit warns, "People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap.... some people, eager for money, have... pierced themselves with many griefs" (1 Tim. 6:9-10).
George is pierced. If he knew you he would tell you that his gambling wasn't worth it. When he lost he brought an avalanche of trouble on his head. But it could have been much worse. He might have won and gotten hooked for life. With gambling it's heads Satan wins, tails you lose.