In my last blog post I said that I was not wanting my readers think that I am trying to call everyone that goes to a casino or buys a lottery ticket a sinner. I do believe that I am still a sinner in need of a Savior. I did say that it was a sin for me. I said that I could not go because I have problems with self-control. The problem that I am having today is that I went. I have had several conversations with myself ever since. I only spent $20. That was good. I could only afford that much. It did not seem difficult to stop or only spend a limited amount and not hurt the budget. So I can use self-control, if I want to. It just seems like a form of entertainment that does not require any effort. A little planning, but no effort really. Maybe I should just be looking at things from the standpoint of stewardship.
It was exciting to watch the amount I could win go up and down. The bells and whistles were fun to hear as well. The real quandary is that I cannot stop thinking about what everyone else thinks about my going. What is my life showing? What kind of witness am I giving? I had fun—plain and simple. Is that wrong? I was not confused about whether I was sinning at the time, but a group of my friends believe that it is a sin. I do not want to confuse someone else about their actions by their seeing mine. I do not want to be a selfish person and all of this gambling and introspection seems to be putting all the focus on me and what other people think of me. ???
I really hate it when I am at a point where I feel any measure of confusion or any feeling like it. To be confused is to have a lack of understanding. That does not sound like a sin in itself. It just means that I need to take the time to ask for the Holy Spirit’s guidance and maybe spend a little more time in the Word.
On another note, my study of 1 Corinthians 13 is continuing to the section that covers love does not brag; does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, does not take into account a wrong suffered; and does not rejoice in unrighteousness. These phrases cover a lot of ground. It may me a few posts to cover everything I think I should. Oh, there I go again. Always worrying about what other people think. The only opinion that counts is that of my Heavenly Father, the Holy Spirit, and my Big Brother Jesus. I guess the best way to start would be with some sort of a basic foundation. Maybe putting the phrases in context with the chapter??
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.
I do not think that I have a problem with bragging except to say that I need to learn not to boast when I have done something good. Take for example going out of your way to give a special gift expecting nothing in return, but telling everyone about it. That is bragging. You may not tell everyone, but just telling one person is still pride. Matthew 6:1 says it best: “Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven.” The way you say something can pack quite a punch. Being clever or superior in your speech can be just as arrogant and therefore appear big-headed as well. Put that way, I cannot believe that I would have done something like that. But I have. Now that I know I am responsible. James 4:17 says, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” I am so glad that I have a Savior that forgives me.
Does not act unbecomingly. Do I? If you are human, you are going to act unbecomingly once in a while whether you are doing it on purpose or by accident. I am always worrying that I may do something incorrectly, but that is not what this Word is talking about. Because of my fear I almost never say something indelicately. Fear of hurting someone’s feelings and fear of hurting God’s reputation. That probably sounds silly, but when you worry too much, you can worry about just about anything. God does not worry about His reputation. He is the Great I AM. That is enough. Acting inappropriately means to act in a way that is not proper for the circumstances you are in. This could be anything from not spitting in someone’s face to not stealing supplies from your employer.
While I am on this subject, I am thinking about how much I wanted to go back to the casino yesterday. The thought is not unbecoming, but waking my roommate up to take me would have been. The question in my mind is that is it unbecoming to go to the casino any more than it is unbecoming for a Christian to go to a bar? I am pretty sure the answer is yes unless you are Jesus. He could be around sinners and not sin. Is it unbecoming to get a tattoo even if you want it to signify your relationship with Christ? Doing something that causes another to stumble can be just about anything. I think it has to do with the intent of the heart. I have not gone to the casino with the intent of sinning or hurting anyone. I do end up hurting myself. A lot of the time.
I guess I do not want to give up the only thing I do that is fun. It does not hurt me physically like just about everything else. I can sit and do not have to think. Of course that is part of the problem with me. I get excited when I win and think that I will win again, so I risk the money I have won for money that I might win. And more often than not I lose what I thought was a blessing because of it. I think there is a relationship between gambling and acting unbecoming on some level—for me at least. I think I am getting off the subject of behaving unbecomingly with all the talk of the casino. The King James Version says it this way: “does not behave rudely.” That goes more along the lines of the spitting in someone’s face that I was talking about earlier.
Am I to go deeper? Maybe not this time. It has been a difficult day and I have only a few hours to prepare for my interview tomorrow. Time to go I think.