Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Thought for the Day

As delivered at BBC Radio Bristol this morning on the back of a story that a Bristol Charity (ARA), which deals with gambling addiction, has seen an 80%  increase in the number of people it is helping.

The word 'addicted' has had a bad press. Google the words 'addicted to...' and you get links to sex, drugs, alcohol and gambling. But also iphones, doctor visits and hoarding. And the Robert Palmer song Addicted to Love which, it turns out, isn't about love at all.

But whether trying to get to the next level at Candy Crush Saga, or to see every televised goal scored last weekend, I note the pitfalls for those of us with easily-addicted personalities. We should keep back from the one-armed bandits.

I observe, with some dismay, the adverts on TV for easily-accessed online gambling sites. Not because it isn't a harmless pleasure. For some it is. I have put a few coins aside for a game of cards with friends from time to time. But because those who have a tendency to addictive behaviour may not notice until it is too late.

Some professional footballers have spoken of how hard it was for young men with money and long periods of boredom to avoid the lure of a bet. With disastrous consequences for family and finances.

I'll take a liberty with my Bible by changing a word. The believers were addicted to the apostles teaching. They were addicted to the fellowship. They were addicted to the breaking of bread. They were addicted to prayer. They were addicted to helping the poor.

Sound odd? That is because the word should be 'devoted' not 'addicted'. But advice lines and web-sites suggest that those with gambling devotion need to distract themselves with another activity. I welcome the availability of charities to help.

An addiction or devotion to Jesus certainly can give you a glad and sincere heart. We might as well face it. He was, and is, addicted to love.

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