So we had an awkward worship service the following day -- telling people we'd broken God's seventh-day Sabbath the night before, and why. But that action had Biblical backing....
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. - James 5:16
If you do something at the table which upsets other players, do you walk out and hope the whole thing will blow over? Phil Hellmuth once did that for a few minutes on national TV. But good poker players have long memories -- and if they remember classic hands, they probably remember the attitudes of the people playing them.
Many a politician has learned the hard way that confessing faults and sins resolves matter faster, and may even improve their career chances. So we all need to admit we're not perfect. It keeps us all on the same level relationally -- even if our chip stacks are very different.
One woman at church took issue with how we interpreted the magazine article which started all this. She said if anything, it was poorly worded. On that, we agreed. All of us need to be careful about that, because....
For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned. - Matthew 12:37 (KJV)
It's interesting that no one in our congregation condemned us, after we admitted to sinning on the Sabbath. Perhaps they were too stunned by the news. Or perhaps they practiced the instruction of Jesus, when a supposedly-adulterous woman was brought before Him:
When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." - John 8:7
No one threw stones at that woman. Everyone left, perhaps convicted of their own sinfulness. Are you able to do that, when trouble happens at a poker table? It beats pointing fingers and making the "I never would...." claim.
As it happened, the sermon that day was about "The Commandment of Men." It included this reference, which seemed to directly challenge what we'd been doing:
So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the man who does not condemn himself by what he approves. - Romans 14:22
The context of this chapter involves eating habits and the observance of certain days (such as Valentine's). The message seemed to be: if you choose not to do what we preach, shut up and don't talk about it. To which we'd respond: how else is bad teaching or Biblical guidance to be corrected?.
Another person took our issue directly to the magazine's editors -- and was told via e-mail we should review the author's sentences about expressing love on Valentine's Day, in relation to the entire article.
We invite you to do that, and tell us what you think about all this. Were we wrong to hit a casino for Friday night poker? Were we wrong to bring it up to others -- or even to you here?