Gambling to God
A Sikh Story
I was born in 1968 and brought up in a Bhatra Sikh family. I started work when I was 11yrs doing markets for 12 hours on Saturdays earning £5 per day. I got used to having too much money at that age and this led me into gambling. When I was 14/15yrs, I would spend £40/£50 per day in arcade machines. Sometimes I would win the jackpot and would just put the money back into the machines.
At 15yrs, I was beginning to steal money to gamble and at 16yrs, I left school and started a family business working in the markets and a shop. I used to buy and sell stolen goods and to steal money from the business. I envied the people who were rich and was proud of my stealing and would lie all the time. I started to bet on horses. When I was 17yrs old, I started working as a hospital porter but gambled all my money away. I got a two thousand five hundred pounds loan from the Bank by lying about starting a business and immediately lost £800 in gambling. Then at 18yrs, I started a relationship with an English girlfriend but I was really only interested in her money and my own needs. I bought a greyhound for a thousand pounds and started to go to meetings.
My mum and dad bought me a house which we let to students and I used the money for the mortgage for gambling without them knowing. I got another loan for one thousand five hundred pounds by lying again and I was in debt up to about £4500 but it didn’t bother me. Even in the toilet, I was reading the racing results. My parents wanted to arrange my marriage and said that I would need some money. This is when they discovered that my bank account was empty and that I had got into debt through gambling. I felt totally disgraced and used to walk the streets to three or four am in the morning because I couldn’t find any peace. All enjoyment was gone but I kept all the pain and agony inside me.
I decided to buy two guns to do hold ups in order to get some money but I thank God that I never used them. I had thought that if I got caught, I would just have to kill myself. I started to seriously consider suicide. There were endless arguments within the family but I still got married at 21yrs. My parents paid for everything. I didn’t want to get married but did so to keep my parents happy. I was still in the relationship with my English girlfriend and this went on after the marriage as well. I had no time for my wife and used to come home from work and go straight out again. If she tried to make me stay at home, I would hit her. My house was nearly repossessed when a letter came from the building society saying that five thousand pounds was required within seven days for the mortgage.
My older brother was really shocked when he read the letter, but the family paid the debt. I used to go to Gamblers’ Anonymous to try to get rid of my addiction and the leader there helped me with the building society in court by saying that I had an addiction and needed help. The case was adjourned.
My family got so desperate that they asked a Christian minister to come and pray for me. He said to me that I must turn from my way of life and put my trust in Jesus Christ for His forgiveness and ask Him to take over my life and change me. I was so desperate that I prayed to Jesus in the only way I understood at the time. Even then, I didn’t want to talk to the Christian minister too much because I still had my own schemes set up. I was still gambling and most of the time I went out when he was due to come round. I was only showing him one card out of a pack of fifty two because I felt I couldn’t trust anyone.
When the hearing came for the repossession, I asked for prayer for it and the court allowed the money to be repaid over a longer time. This answer to prayer, however, still didn’t really change me and I carried on gambling.
I got baptised as a Christian in February 1991 but I was still holding back on a total reliance on God for my finances and for my life. There had been some change in me but not enough to finish the gambling for good. Consequently, I drifted away from God about three months after my baptism back into gambling and adultery and this lasted for almost two years until I had a bad car crash in 1993 due to an epileptic fit. The car swerved off the road and mounted the pavement just missing a man by the side of the road and some people by a bus stop. It nearly went through a shop-window but stopped just short. Although I was not wearing a seat belt, I had no cuts, bruises or whiplash. I saw this as a real miracle!
Two weeks later, I was reading the Bible by myself and a verse really spoke to me. It said “stop sinning before something worse happens to you”. This really gripped me. I said to God that I could not stop my gambling and adultery and that he would have to help me stop. This was 3am on a Friday night and on Saturday, my English girlfriend phoned me asking me out. I refused because I had some relatives coming down. She agreed but was very disappointed. On Sunday morning, she phoned again, crying and saying that she wanted to talk to me. I was confused as to why she was crying and said that I would meet her that evening. When we met down the pub, she explained that she had met another man the night before. At first my heart sank and I tried for a week to get her back but then I was happy that at last the relationship was broken and I could see that God had done it.
After that, I started to stay home and there was a change in me. I actually started to enjoy knowing and serving God. I began to go to Bible studies, and prayer meetings, and Church on Sundays again. I was really hungry and thirsty to know more of God and of course the gambling all stopped. During this time, God gave me a vision of Jesus on a shining, white horse with a sword chasing idols away, which I later found out, was to be found in the book of Revelation in the Bible. It really touched me that God would share this with me even though I had done so much wrong. He still loved me! For the last five or six years, God has shown me how much he loves me and how he has forgiven me through Jesus and this has helped me to love and accept myself. He has helped me to grow and trust him in faith in areas where I was once unable to do any thing. Now I love talking about and praising Jesus Christ’s name and want to serve God and tell everyone about the good news of Jesus.
” I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me “, (John’s gospel 14:6), and ” I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes Him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life “, (John’s gospel 5:24).
Jesus is the only way to God because He is the only one who can forgive our sins. He does this through the sacrifice of His death on the cross in our place and so deals with God’s condemnation and punishment of all that we have done wrong.
Without that forgiveness, we would all have to pay for our own sin in hell forever but Jesus paid the price for us and then rose to life again.
God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ is open to anyone who will place their trust in Jesus as their Lord and Saviour.
God loves us and has promised forgiveness and a new life to all who put their life in Jesus hands. This promise is for all who want to turn from evil, ask God’s forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and ask Jesus to be their Lord and take control of their lives but the power of his Holy Spirit.
By this simple trust, we can be freed from any punishment on the Day of Judgment and find a whole new living relationship with the real God who loves each one of us, with His Holy Spirit living within us to help us to follow the right way.
Millions of people from every country in the world and every faith background have found that their lives changed beyond all recognition when they placed such simple faith in Jesus Christ.