One of my first attempts to apply my no-casino rule was during a convention at the Mirage. I wanted to go to the convention, it was for work. I decided I would enter the casino like normal but from the convention center area I would figure a way back to my car that avoided the casino. Perhaps you know a better way, but I couldn’t find a direct route. I ended up going through back alleys and walking around the backside of the building.
It was far from convenient and I while I could exit that way, I wasn’t sure I could enter the same way. My ‘rule’ was facing a crisis. I had a work obligation that conflicted with a personal conviction. Out of a practical need I modified my “rule” from a blanket prohibition on casinos to a more flexible rule of “avoid casinos and never go when you don’t have to.”
At the time, I was making a practical compromise, but let me share with you a bible principal that supports this type of compromise. 2 King 5 tells the often told story of Elisha and Naamen. Towards the end of the story Naamen is converted. However he has a problem (2 King 5:18-19) – he is servant of his King, and when his King goes to the “false” church, Naamen is obligated to worship this false god. Worshipping a false god is a grave sin – it’s as black and white of a religious rule as you can find in the Bible, you DO NOT EVER worship a false god.
God, through Elisha never tells Naamen that he can worship a false god. Elisha simply acknowledges the problem and bids him to go in peace.
Where rules don’t work is the ‘user’ of the rule often forgets the principal of the rule, the heart and emotion that the rule is based on. I am not satisfied with my compromise, but I can go into a casino with a pure conscience. And by putting my rule under such direct fire and realizing that even though my ‘black and white’ position is correct, I’m still in a casino. It is difficult to cast self-righteous stones at you when I’m in the same place you are.