I have gambled away my life and see no way out.

I have a problem that deals with gambling addiction. I went threw a treatment center in 98 and quit for about 9 months, then started slowly gambling again. i have a family that i have put thru a living hell with the lies and financial burdens. i am a christian and truely believed you will go to hell if you commit suicide, until i got on the web tonite, now i am not so sure. we have a large life insurance policy on me and i have been thinking if i were to go it would take the burden off my family and end my pain. i really hate myself after i gamble i dont like the way i feel, i get very depressed and i have prayed to the lord but i dont think i am heard. i dont want to do this to myself but feel i dont have a choice because of my financial obligations. i know if i lose everything i can always get it back but i am just too tired of this game and want it to end. i love my wife and my daughters so much that i am afraid if i keep going on i will lose them anyways and i cant stand the thought of not being with them. that is main reason i have not done anything to myself.

My response is in Green:

Let me start by asking you a question; what is an addiction? I ask that because many people try to be victims of diseases, but you have to realize that gambling is a sin; pure and simple. You said you went through a treatment center for this addiction in 98, but was it a secular treatment center? I figure it probably was. The world cannot help you, only God can help you. You stated that you pray but you don't think He is listening. Well what do you pray? Do you ask Him to help you stop gambling? If so then maybe that is your problem. You can't do it, and God most likely won't help you stop. Look at what Paul had to say: (Galatians 2:20 NIV) I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. What does he mean he was crucified with Christ? He means that his flesh was put to death so that he might live through Christ.

Until you come to the realization that you can't do this and that God will not help you do this, you will be on the same tread mill. I am not saying that there is no hope, I am saying that you have to go to God and tell Him you realize that you can't do it and He is your only hope. Give your life to Him, let Him live in you. Let Him take control of your life. Our flesh is weak and will continue to be weak until we get our resurrected bodies. That is why Jesus said if anyone wanted to follow Him they must take up their cross and follow Him daily. We tend to romanticize the cross because it represents our salvation, but the people He was speaking to would have equated it to death. They would have equated it to Him saying take up your electric chair and follow me. He was saying that you have to die every day so that you can live through Him. He knew what He was talking about.

I believe that if you commit suicide you will end up in hell. I won't candy coat it and I won't try to soften it any, I believe that every day you have to choose who you will follow; Christ or the world. Committing another sin is never the way to take care of the first sin. You have sinned first and foremost against God by your gambling. It has effected not only you but your family, but the sin is still against Almighty God. Committing another sin against Him will not cover the first one, it will only seal your fate. Suicide will not be the answer for your family either. Trust me on this I have seen many suicides, no one wins, no one benefits. If you want to totally destroy your family and your relationship with God then commit suicide, but if you want to get out of this sinful life and truly help your family, then get on your knees. Get godly counsel, from someone who will not allow you to be a victim, but who will hold you accountable before God for your actions.

Get out your Bible and start reading it, get on your knees daily and ask God to deal a death blow to your flesh so that your every thought is of Him. Let me make this clear. Jesus also said that if you did not put God above everything including your family and loved ones then you could not be His disciple. You have proved that in your own life. You were not able to quit gambling even though you love your family, so that should show you that you need to love God even more then you do your family in order to allow Him to take control of your life. If He is not first in your life, then nothing else will work. If He is first in your life you will find a totally different relationship with your family. One which is much more pure and honest, because you will be able to be yourself instead of living a lie constantly.

Now let me talk to you on a practical level. If you think that committing suicide will take care of your families financial problems you better rethink that too. Most insurance polices prohibit payment if the person willfully causes their own death (i.e. suicide).

I take it your wife loves you or she would not be with you now. I hope she is a Christian too, if so then you need to pray with her and pray honestly. Get rid of any false impressions between you. Even if she tries to tell you it is okay because you are a victim, don't accept that, you have to face this for what it is and make her face it for what it is.

I won't go into all the details, but I will tell you that I know what I am talking about. I struggled too and finally came to the point where I knew I could not do it and I needed God to take over. Once I allowed Him to truly control my life, I experienced a kind of freedom that I did not know existed. I will tell you one other thing, I experienced love for Him that I did not know I was capable of. I think I better understand that now. Take a look at this: (Luke 7:39-47 NIV) When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, "If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is--that she is a sinner." {40} Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to tell you." "Tell me, teacher," he said. {41} "Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. {42} Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?" {43} Simon replied, "I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled." "You have judged correctly," Jesus said. {44} Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. {45} You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. {46} You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. {47} Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven--for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."

I now love Him much because I understand how very much He has forgiven me for. I realize that when Christ hung on that cross and the Father had to turn away it was because of my sin. I will never love God as much as He has loved me, but I will try to love Him as much as I am able. I love Him enough now that I can't stand to do anything wrong because it comes between me and Him. I am not perfect and I still stumble, but it is different because I try to let go of the controls everyday and allow Him to run my life. He has never stumbled, He has never made a mistake and He never will.

I will pray for you, but in the finally analysis the decision is up to you.

Ralph

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