Playing The Cards

“Playing the Cards”
James 1:19, 20


  • Do not get the wrong idea here folks. Today I am really trying t express myself and the irritation I have towards people “Playing their cards.”
  • What I mean by that is that when people are made to feel bad because of something they do or the way they are, they try to make excuses for their behavior by “playing the card,” (Example: saying I am disabled so I cannot work).
  • By the way, speaking about “playing cards…” IS PLAYING WITH CARDS A SIN?
  • Many Christians consider playing with cards used in casinos across the world is a sin. They like to use verses like Ephesians 5:11…And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
  • OR… I Timothy 6:10 …For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
  • I personally disagree with these Pharisees to a point. It is not what you play with but how you play with it. EXAMPLE: If you use cards as a source for income, yes it is a sin. If you use those same cards just to pass the time of day, not a sin.
  • The Bible says “Thou shalt not kill,” it does not say “Thou shalt not own a gun.” It is what you do with the gun that makes you a killer or a security guard.
  • Well anyway, back on the subject of people “Playing the Card.”

I. What Are the Cards Played?

  A) The Race card

  • Playing the RACE card … is if someone brings up the issue of race in a discussion (for sympathetic reasons or to seek popularity by appealing to racist sentiment).
  • Every time I turn around I hear of someone using the “racist card.”
  1. If you don’t get what you want, we are racist.
  2. If we insist that you obey laws, we are racist.
  3. If people are punished for breaking the law, we are racist.
  4. If people guard the borders, we are racist.
  5. If illegal aliens are deported, we are racist.
  • Just because you are African-American, Mexican, Chinese, Native American, and etc. does not give you the right to play that card when you violate the law or act rebellious towards authorities.
  • The race card is played waaaaay too much in America. The law has allowed it.

  B) The Victim card

  • Playing the VICTIM card(also known as playing the victim, or self-victimization,) is the fabrication of being victimized for a variety of reasons such as to justify abuse of others, to manipulate others, a coping (trying to deal with being a victim in order to gain sympathy or attention).
  • This could be a person claiming to be a victim of physical, mental or spiritual abuse, abuse of alcoholism, authority/power abuse, etc.
  • Let’s face it: victimizing ourselves is a terrible disservice to our hearts. When you turn yourself into the victim because the world has been too much, it’s like a frightening or paralyzing force that follows you everywhere you go. Yet, when you start to feel sorry for yourself like that, it’s important to know that it doesn’t have to be this way.
  • Although you might not see it, there is a third option in-between being consumed by depression and acting like nothing happened at all. You can’t change the events that happened, but what you might not see is that there is somebody who doesn’t see you as a victim of the world. In fact, He God) knows everything about you. He (God) knows your heart and how much you want to have hope. He (God) knows what you’re afraid of and He (God) knows what keeps you awake at night. He (God) has loved you even before He (God) made you. The greatest part is that He (God) is closer than a heartbeat away.
  • Chastening (punishment) from others in this world that makes us feel like the victim is mostly the hand of God trying to deal with us or “prune” us for His plan in our lives… Hebrews 12:7…If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?
  • God is our comforter through the Holy Spirit, not people…II Corinthians 1:3…Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; 4) Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

  C) The Gay card

  • Playing the GAY card… is similar to playing the black card, playing the woman card, playing the disabled card, et cetera.
    When someone exploits positive discrimination to get their way, and points to a personal trait of theirs as a fault which somehow justifies their actions or inability to do something they’d ordinarily be expected to do.
  • In the 70s, President Nixon was secretly taped describing television as “glorifying homosexuality” while using words like “fag,” “queer,” and “homo” to punctuate his disgust.
  • In the 90s,landmark shows like Roseanne, The Real World and My So-Called Life began introducing breakthrough characters and storylines, and we saw America’s closet door begin to swing open… But it wasn’t until 1997 that the world witnessed the extraordinary courage of Ellen DeGeneres, and that cultural closet door was finally removed. Ellen bravely paved the way for shows like Will & Grace, Queer As Folk, The L Word and Modern Family.
  • From an American President (Nixon) voicing his disgust at the portrayal of a gay character, to an entire nation embracing love as a universal right.
  • I believe that there are many people who play the “gay card” because they want to feel special, or they are seeking attention because other ways of getting attention or respect were not working so they flip out the “gay card,” saying “I’m gay.”
  • Another pet peeve I have is that many times on television I have seen a gay person claim they were abused by their religious parents and it propelled them into doing whatever they are trying to do in life.
  • What gay people need to realize is that Christian parents are not against their children, but rather they are against the sexual lifestyle they have chosen because God forbids it. God forbids ANY sexual lifestyle that He (God) did not ordain whether it is fornication, adultery, animal/human sex, or homosexuality.

  D) The Sympathy card

  • Playing the SYMPATHY card…It means to try to gain an advantage, special attention, or special consideration; deflect blame; or avoid the consequences of one’s actions by bringing up a personal tragedy (real, exaggerated, or fabricated). The point is to get the other party to see you as wounded, injured, or suffering in some way (needing sympathy long enough to gain your desired outcome.)
  • If someone you know is going through a time of grief, sometimes saying “I’m sorry for your loss” doesn’t seem good enough. The Bible has a lot to say about grief, suffering, and sympathy.
  • Our God is a God of comfort, peace, love, and encouragemen So if you’re looking for the right words to put into a “sympathy card,” go to the Word.
  • We are to turn to God for sympathy, not other people! Jeremiah 31:13…Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, both young men and old together: for I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and make them rejoice from their sorrow.
  • Psalm 23:4…Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. His rod and staff are instruments of protection and direction.

  E) The Disability card

  • Playing the DISABILITY card… a card played to get out of work, to obtain sympathy, or a card used to get what they want without having to pay for it.
  • One way that is very popular today is for parents to play the “disabled card” is when their children misbehave…
  • Marj Hatzell on an internet web site said this… I don’t let my kids use their disabilities as an excuse for their behavior. And I don’t use their disabilities as an excuse, either. If there’s one thing that irks me it’s hearing other parents, particularly autism parents, tell me their child did XYZ, “because of their autism.”

Newsflash: Having a disability doesn’t give your child a free pass to misbehave. And while I’m all for explaining and providing a reason for a child’s misbehavior and sometimes it is necessary to explain why their child may have done something out-of-the-ordinary, writing it off as an excuse for little Johnny’s tantrum at the park… Not OK with me!

  • Children misbehave because their parents did not discipline them.
  • I believe that God disciplines us for a reason and that we are to discipline our children likewise to get a result that pleases God.

  F) The Religious card

  • Playing the RELIGIOUS card…We’re often labeled as ‘religious’ or carrying a ‘religious spirit’ by followers of popular evangelical leaders. They are playing the religious card, a spin-off of the “Pharisee Card.”
  • There are two uses of this card.
  1. Use 1: The ‘religious’ card will be played on someone who supposedly always deny the existence and power of God. (It’s always those who are critical or testing what is said and done in church services or revival meetings who are quenching the Spirit of God. In this category, it is known by some as a Jezebel Spirit.)
  2. Use 2: The ‘religious’ card will be played on someone who supposedly lives out of ‘head knowledge’ and not from a personal relationship with God. (It’s always those whose relationship is based totally on ‘head knowledge’ who have a problem with ‘tapping’ into having intimacy with the spirit of God.)
  • The ‘religious spirit’ is synonymous with the ‘critical spirit’. This is because, as with the Pharisee Card, they are often painted as having  a pharisaical nature (Because the Pharisees were religiousleaders, critical of the works of Jesus). When people play this card on you, they are putting you into the category of a false teacher, as a Pharisee. It’s a slanderous tactic used to silence those who raise valid questions.
  • Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit is also known as the Spirit of Truth. When people are using the Religious Card on you, it is worth asking them, are theyspeaking from a spirit of slander rather than speaking the language of the spirit – truth.

II. How Should We Play the Cards?

  A) Know when to hold them…

  • There was a popular country western song by Kenny Rogers called “The Gambler.”
  • In that song was a phrase that gambler said “You’ve got to know when to hold them, know when to fold them, know when to walk away, and know when to run.”
  • This true in “playing the cards” or handling the issues that you face in life.
  • If you are feeling abused, neglected, or do not receive attention or sympathy, then do not seek to get it from people. Do not get angry and spout of at the mouth about it… Go to God.
  • You got to …
  1. Know when to hold them… know when to hold in your feelings of resentment, rejection, anger, upset, etc.
  2. Know when to fold them… Know when to discard or not pay attention to the accuser or abuser.
  3. Know when to walk away… Know when to walk away without any remarks or angry words to the offender.
  4. Know when to run…Know when your boiling point is hit and run from a confrontation that could bring you and God’s glory down. 
  • Go to our text verses in James 1:19…Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath: 20) For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.
  • This knowing what to do with your feelings when you hear others talking bad about you… “swift to hear” hear the words of God… “slow to speak,” not responding quickly. (Pirkey Aboth. says “The righteous speak little, and do much; the wicked speak much, and do nothing,”… and “slow to wrath (anger)” learning to control our temper.
  • Look now at 21) Wherefore lay apart all filthiness (bad attitudes) and superfluity (abundance of evil, over reacting) of naughtiness (Bad behavior), and receive with meekness the engrafted (implanted) word, which is able to save your souls.
  • HOLDING YOUR CARDS – Look at verse 22) But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 23) For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24) For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25) But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.
  • In short, these verses are telling us to practice what we preach or hear of God’s word. Why? So that we may live a life that is “blessed indeed (truly).”

  B) Play with clean cards

  • In closing, look at verse 26) If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is If you claim to be God’s child and cannot control your tongue then your claim is of no value to others. Ultimately, we give God a black eye.
  • We all have been abused or mistreated, or have feelings different than others. We should never let those feelings control our behavior in such a way to bring shame upon God’s name or our family.