I'm having trouble, help me find the way


#1

I'm a married man, 15 years father of 3. My wife and I have had faith challenges throughout our lives but recently are looking to come back to the Church. Even in my absence I have continued to pray and speak to god daily/nightly. That being said I have come to a crossroads. I enjoy playing poker, I consider it a game of skill and not gambling. Most professional poker players call it a skill game as well. You play the players, not the cards. I understand that gambling is a sin, but I've prayed on it. I play poker semi-professionally because it provides me a way to feed my family. I don't consider myself a greedy person. I don't play for fame and riches, I do it as a job. I play within my means, it doesn't compromise my priorities. I've prayed several times and I feel in my heart it's the right thing to do. I've told God if by some miracle I were to win a lot of money that I would feel obligated to share it and be as charitable as possible.

My question is, am I doomed? If I feel deeply in my heart that I'm doing the right thing, and I have honest intentions and I do what I do because I feel it's what god has planned for me am I wrong? When does it become an issue of sin, vs an issue of faith and believing that I'm doing what God wants of me? I understand that God is against the get rich quick approach, but if that's not my intention, and those aren't my goals am I justified? I want to be right with God, I feel that I am being truthful as I've prayed and asked for signs and asked for something to tell me to my core that what I'm doing is wrong but I don't feel it, I feel the opposite. I truly feel to my core that I'm doing what I was meant to do when it comes to work in my life. Please help me understand whether what I'm feeling is wrong :(


#2

I suppose it is the acquisition of the money that would be questionable. You're getting your income off of beating others at a game. Maybe your winnings came from a destructive gambling addict's life savings that he's squandering? If it were truly a game of skill, I would imagine that money would not be directly involved. Chess for instance.

It isn't very difficult these days to get an education and a real career off of a limited income with a full time job and kids (I have 1 and 1 on the way). I personally find my job very rewarding because I help people and they (usually) are very grateful, not just because I'm good at it.

Edit: Perhaps being good at reading people is your calling, and you can take it from there :)


#3

You're wrong, but not in the way that you think. The Church does not condemn gambling. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says that it is not evil in itself, but becomes contrary to justice when it deprives you of what you need to support yourself and your family. See number 2413. My computer is a bit on the fritz and will not let me copy and paste the quotation.

Betsy


#4

Catechism of the Catholic Church

2413 Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant.


#5

Good post and it's good to see such a thoughtful approach.

I think I understand your short term goals...very important..feed the family.

Some questions to consider / examine...perhaps for a more eternal or supernatural perspective...

Is the work you're doing sanctifiable?
Does it bring you closer to our Lord?
Does it make you more generous?
How does it benefit others?
Is it solving problems for others?

It is providing a service to others or just a livelihood for you?
How does the work give God glory?

How does it serve others?

How does it bring others closer to God....even if very slowly, perhaps by your generous approach to your work?
How does your work, your example, help others grow in virtue?


#6

[quote="murphjos, post:4, topic:217304"]
*2413 Games of chance (card games, etc.) or wagers are not in themselves contrary to justice. They become morally unacceptable when they deprive someone of what is necessary to provide for his needs and those of others. The passion for gambling risks becoming an enslavement. Unfair wagers and cheating at games constitute grave matter, unless the damage inflicted is so slight that the one who suffers it cannot reasonably consider it significant. *

[/quote]

So help me out here, is this telling me it's acceptable so long as I'm not gambling outside of my means where it becomes a hindrance on my family, i.e if I'm using food and rent money to gamble? That's definitely not the case, I use my winnings to pay for food and bills so that life is easier on us. It's my primary source of income at the moment, but not the families primary source of income. My wife has been able to maintain work, I've been using poker to help add to our income.


#7

It seems like you don't really enjoy winning at Poker. As you surely know, there are plenty of addicted gamblers throwing away all of their income to gambling. You are in the minority to actually be winning. With this kind of discipline and intelligence, I am sure you could make a ton of money running your own business, or in some sort of career where you feel more fulfilled. Maybe save some of your poker winnings to invest in a new career? You sound unsatisfied with Poker.


#8

[quote="DFraser, post:6, topic:217304"]
So help me out here, is this telling me it's acceptable so long as I'm not gambling outside of my means where it becomes a hindrance on my family, i.e if I'm using food and rent money to gamble? That's definitely not the case, I use my winnings to pay for food and bills so that life is easier on us. It's my primary source of income at the moment, but not the families primary source of income. My wife has been able to maintain work, I've been using poker to help add to our income.

[/quote]

I read this as saying that you would also need to be concerned about whether the other competitors are addicted or depriving their family of the money they need to survive. If you know, or reasonably believe, that all of the other players are gambling within their means, there is no moral issue that I can see. But if one of the player was betting the grocery money for a family of six, would they let you know that?

I am not sure how far you would have take this though. If you owned a liquor store could you be certain that all of your customers are not alcoholic? If you sold expensive shoes could you say for certain that not one of your customers was spending money her family needs? I think you need follow your conscience. Just be sure that your conscience informed by authentic church teaching.


#9

:thumbsup:

[quote="slywakka250, post:7, topic:217304"]
It seems like you don't really enjoy winning at Poker. As you surely know, there are plenty of addicted gamblers throwing away all of their income to gambling. You are in the minority to actually be winning. With this kind of discipline and intelligence, I am sure you could make a ton of money running your own business, or in some sort of career where you feel more fulfilled. Maybe save some of your poker winnings to invest in a new career? You sound unsatisfied with Poker.

[/quote]

:thumbsup:


#10

[quote="DFraser, post:1, topic:217304"]
I'm a married man, 15 years father of 3. My wife and I have had faith challenges throughout our lives but recently are looking to come back to the Church. Even in my absence I have continued to pray and speak to god daily/nightly. That being said I have come to a crossroads. I enjoy playing poker, I consider it a game of skill and not gambling. Most professional poker players call it a skill game as well. You play the players, not the cards. I understand that gambling is a sin, but I've prayed on it. I play poker semi-professionally because it provides me a way to feed my family. I don't consider myself a greedy person. I don't play for fame and riches, I do it as a job. I play within my means, it doesn't compromise my priorities. I've prayed several times and I feel in my heart it's the right thing to do. I've told God if by some miracle I were to win a lot of money that I would feel obligated to share it and be as charitable as possible.

My question is, am I doomed? If I feel deeply in my heart that I'm doing the right thing, and I have honest intentions and I do what I do because I feel it's what god has planned for me am I wrong? When does it become an issue of sin, vs an issue of faith and believing that I'm doing what God wants of me? I understand that God is against the get rich quick approach, but if that's not my intention, and those aren't my goals am I justified? I want to be right with God, I feel that I am being truthful as I've prayed and asked for signs and asked for something to tell me to my core that what I'm doing is wrong but I don't feel it, I feel the opposite. I truly feel to my core that I'm doing what I was meant to do when it comes to work in my life. Please help me understand whether what I'm feeling is wrong :(

[/quote]

Not to pass the ball, but I would talk to a priest. We have all at time done the "you reward me and I will reward others" deal with God. Just let me win the lottery. God just wants you to be close to him, and isin control all the time anyway. You also have the gift of freewill, so can walk towards him, stay still or go backwards. I say this from personal experience, and understand the call you are getting. I was on the same path, just happened to be business was my drug/calling/skill. When God wanted to get my attention, he proved to me that I did not have any skills that he did not give me and when I got greedy he reminded me of who I should be looking towards.

God wants us to use our gifts for sure. But he wants us to use them for his work, and he wants us to work for him and through him. I wish I had that knowledge at 15 years of marriage, but was still in my own righteous mode at that time. At 30 years of marriage I got with the program. I would pray, ask advice and stay humble, he will provide the direction. Perhaps you can create a card game that will show who people gamble with their soul what the outcome might be. (Please send royalties when you make your millions from that :D)


closed #11

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