Guest Blog: Last year I invited a number of people to write sermons on the Beatitudes. Bill Gray wrote about Peacemaking within the battle ground of an addiction to gambling. Here is a condensed version.
My life is anything but peaceful. I have a continuous, on-going, relentless, battle with an addiction to Gambling. This battle has destroyed relationships and left me over and over again in poverty. I have had this battle virtually all my life. I sometimes get the better over it, but it’s always just at the door waiting for me to come and go down a lane called foolishness with it.
The things I battle with are
1. Laziness. I want a quick fix, and I don’t want to do the hard yards. The easiest options are always the most attractive to me.
2. Greed. When you’re gambling you only think of yourself. You become so blind to those who are around you. You only think of what you want to gain. But take it from one who knows. You will lose all the time, the house (casino, etc) always wins
3. My Rebellion against God. I’m going to run my own life, and I will do it my way.
4. Neglecting my responsibilities. Your sense of responsibility to your principles and to others is thrown out of the window so you can pursue your pet love of gambling. Its all about me, stuff anyone else
5. Neglecting friendships. Those who are close to you don’t even come into your mind. You are blind, looking to your one goal of where I can get money to have my next bet.
6. Reliving my past. Every time I would put my money in a machine I would be reliving my past. I would revisit all of my old haunts where my past would come out and meet me with open arms whispering ‘This is where you belong’.
God does not want this for my life. He doesn’t want broken relationships, poverty, and strife. He wants peace.
Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount says this ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the sons of God’
God is a God not of disorder but of peace. 1 Corinthians 14:33
My life has been disorderly but God wants to bring peace
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:7
This is what I want, and surely this is what you want too. Its difficult to find at times and its difficult to make when you have got a reputation with others that you are someone that destroys peace.
D. L. Moody said that
Our great problem is the problem of trafficking in unlived truth. We try to communicate what we’ve never experienced in our own lives.
I don’t want to tell you things about peace making that I haven’t done personally myself. There have been many times when I have had to go and make peace with people. I have stolen from them, I have gambled with their friendship. In my gambling addictive state I have forgotten about things I have promised to do, but not come through on. I have done this so many times that I may well have a bad reputation. I want a reputation of being a ‘son of God’ not a ‘son of gambling’.
The A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) Twelve steps are used in G.A. (Gamblers Anonymous) and have close links to the Beatitudes. The three steps that relate to being a peace maker are
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Doing this requires a high level of honesty and brokenness. We admit fully our failures. We go to those we have hurt, we ask for forgiveness, we pay back what we have stolen, we ask for peace, not demand it. We listen to them and the hurt we have caused. We don’t get defensive, we don’t make excuses. We ask for their help to restore relationships broken.
Quite frankly the likelihood of me gambling again is very high. Please don’t reject me, please pray for me and others caught in self destructive patterns of addiction. Please be community for me. Perhaps then the wider community will see that we, you and I, are sons of God because of our example of being peacemakers to each other.
Peace is not something you wish for; It’s something you make, Something you do, Something you are, And something you give away. Robert Fulghum
1. What things do you battle with, what private addictions do you have?
2. How do you make peace with those you have hurt?