Q: I used to think gambling was just harmless entertainment, but now I’m hooked on it. I’ve even taken out a second mortgage on our house to pay my gambling debts. I know it’s going to destroy my life, but I can’t stop. What’s wrong with me? — T.J.
A: Becoming addicted to gambling is like becoming addicted to anything else, including drugs or alcohol. Eventually it takes over a person’s life and destroys it, something people who favor legalized gambling are seldom willing to face.
How can you conquer this? You have already taken the first step by admitting you have a problem with gambling. Now take the next steps by admitting you cannot conquer this on your own and then seeking the help you need to overcome it. I urge you to talk honestly with your pastor or other professional who can suggest resources in your community to help you. It won’t be easy, but others have walked this road before you, and you can learn from their experience.
In addition, turn to God and commit this problem — and your whole life — to Jesus Christ. God loves you, and he doesn’t want you to destroy your life. Not only will Christ give you a new desire to do what’s right, but he’ll help you overcome the greed and the yearning for excitement that are behind most gambling. One of the Ten Commandments says, “You shall not covet … anything that belongs to your neighbor” (Exodus 20:17).
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As a footnote, one reason I wanted to reprint your email is because I hope it will warn others who are being tempted by gambling’s false promises. The time to stop a problem is before it starts! God has a better life for you, and it can be yours as you commit your life to Jesus Christ.
Write to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201 or visit www.billygraham.org.