Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Is it sinful to play cards?

I've been listening to Corrie Ten Boom's The Hiding Place and have been greatly enjoying it. At one point, Corrie talks of her exposure to playing cards. I'm paraphrasing from memory, but I believe this will give the idea.

She was sent to prison and one of her cell mates would play solitaire over and over to pass the time. Corrie had never played cards, her father had never allowed them in the house. While watching this woman play she couldn't understand how anyone could consider this activity sinful. Eventually, curiosity got the best of her and she asked to be shown how to play.

As she played more and more she began to notice changes in her thinking and outlook. If the cards went well, she had good thoughts, such as her family being released. When the cards didn't go well, she became pessimistic, feeling as though something bad was about to happen. After noticing the affects the game had on her, she decided to quit playing.

The story never went any deeper into her reasoning, but I'd like to examine this a bit. What was going on?

God is sovereign. He is in control of everything all the time. He also calls us to cast all our cares upon him because he cares for us. We can do this with confidence knowing that he is able, and will do all things according to his will. Therefore, we can trust and find rest in our all-powerful, loving God no matter what circumstances we may face. Eventually, Corrie's performance at cards began to change her response towards God, his sovereignty, and his goodness. No longer was she able to rest in truth, as her emotions were now hindering her confidence. Superstition was replacing knowledge.

As Christians we must view the world through the lens of truth. We must not allow ourselves to be deceived by incorrect thinking. Things that may not be sinful in themselves, become sinful when they hinder our relationship with God in Christ, when they keep us from interacting with him in accordance with truth. We trust in the Living God, looking to his word, not in games and omens.

Is it sinful to play cards? You can decide for yourself. I just found this element of the discussion worthy of consideration.

So what do you think? Is this over-reacting or growing in holiness?
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