By Arthur Mazhambe & Sheri Duffy, Louisiana College
PINEVILLE (LBM) – Problem gambling and all the issues surrounding it have become more prevalent, whether through buying daily scratch tickets, frequenting casinos or sports betting.
According to Janet Miller, executive director of the Louisiana Association on Compulsive Gambling, “This problem has risen from 3.1 percent to 8.3 percent in the past 8 years.”
Meanwhile, mental health professionals recognize it as such a growing concern that the latest revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), categorizes Gambling Disorder on par with substance-related addictions and not just as a matter of “impulse control” – a change that indicates the severity of the problem.
This social ill affects not only the individual gambler, but also touches the lives of all those close to him or her, as well as other aspects of life – sometimes resulting in violence/abuse, deception, loss of or decrease in income, loss of jobs and relationships, and decreased performance on the job or in school.
Moreover, the average household budget in America does not have an expense item for “gambling.” Instead, funds budgeted for other purposes are risked and lost.
Successful nations seem to have one major factor in common: people who work hard improve their lives. Thus, societal and governmental institutions can do well by citizens by creating opportunities for work.
Meanwhile, the biblical perspective requires Christians to be good stewards of what they have and to reject the unreliable returns of gambling as a means to provide for one’s household.
Indeed, the Bible instructs in 1 Thessalonians 5: 11, that we should “make your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you…” (NASB), clearly indicating that work is a Christian virtue we should all pursue.
Finally, it is true that “morality cannot be legislated” — because morality emanates from the heart, mind and soul. But, it also is true that if anyone desires to live by righteousness, faith and a quest for holiness – and not by greed, lust, recklessness or chance – he or she should seek their fortune in the person of Jesus Christ.
Arthur Mazhambe, Ph.D., is Chair of the Division of Business and associate professor of Business and Sheri Duffy, LCSW, is dean of the School of Human Behavior with Louisiana College. Their column is part of a series of commentaries provided by Louisiana College relating to the Southern Baptist Convention’s calendar of Special Emphasis Sundays, which in September places special emphasis on anti-gambling.