One weekend, some friends and I went to a nearby casino. We drove 30 minutes just to go gambling and have some fun. Before I jumped to the card tables to put my big “bucks” I like to start small and have some fun a little with the slot machines. I wasn’t winning as much, so I went over to the card table where I can bet a minimum of 5 dollars. By the night’s end, I won fairly a “good amount” as I giggled and laughed with some of my buddies. As we sat there, my friends started to wonder why I gamble as a Christian. I sat there and told him that “being a Christian doesn’t mean we have to be perfect all the time”. Later that night, I pondered a bit about this statement; God convicted me about being “His light”. Days after, I started to realize that I can’t shine for Him with the lifestyle I live. I was challenged to “shine more for Him”, so by the end of the summer of 1997-I decided to stop gambling.
Actions like these can give a wrong message to “non-believers”, who are constantly watching “believers”. For me, I gave the wrong mixed message a lot in my “early years as a Christian”. I swore a lot, I drank a little too much, I was very racist, etc…. As a believer, I’m realizing we need to be held accountable of our actions-especially when we know what we are doing is “wrong”. When I first started gambling after high school, I didn’t really thought much about what I was doing was “right” or “wrong”. I thought it was just “innocent” fun! Then in the Spring of 1996, I dedicated my life to Christ. From then on with increasing knowledge of God’s Word (Bible), I began to know what was “right” and “wrong” (sin). There were sinful actions (cheating, stealing, lying, etc…) that I always did that I really never thought wasn’t too serious-read Galatians 5! As I grew in my personal relationship with my Heavenly Father, I grew to not want to hurt him through my sinful ways. From these day on, I try to ask God’s forgiveness everyday as I want to be able to “shine for Him” more and more!
As I look back in my “early Christian years” when I still was gambling, I was a hypocrite to many of my friends, family, and “non-believers” that was watching me. Most importantly, I was a “hypocrite” to my Heavenly Father as a child of God. When I look at fellow brothers/sisters in Christ and see their “sinful” ways, I start praying for them. Instead of judging them as “hypocrites”, I pray for them more and more because I used to be and sometimes I am in their “shoes”. I can relate to them because we are all in the same boat. One example was a friend of mine, who just started his life dedicated to Christ. He still loved to play with “Magic Cards” (a form of witchcraft). Others that may not know him as well as I do would probably would see his lifestyle very “hypocritical”. I knew what he was doing wasn’t really “Christ-like”, but I didn’t say anything to him judgmentally. Instead, I continued to befriend him more and try to show Christ’s love as much as I can-along with regular prayers for him. Within a year, he would share with me that he is done with these “Magic Cards” because it isn’t what God wants him to keep doing. He gave up in this hobby and replaced it with a different hobby-playing chess. However, he didn’t completely close the door on this hobby. Instead, he used his past experience of this hobby and tried to “reach-out” to youth involved in this hobby. This is just one example how “believers” can “reach-out” to “unbelievers” through their old ways (interest, hobbies, etc…) in life. In fact, they are a “walking” testimony to where God has brought them or is continuing to bring them out of. We “believers” are going to keep sinning until the day we die; however, it doesn’t mean we should keep on sinning….
”don’t keep on sinning”….
When you see a Christian being a “hypocrite”-pray for them and just remember where God has took you from. Even when “they” go to the same church or a church overall, just remember no one is perfect-except Jesus-Himself!
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