Thursday, October 31, 2013

One Christian's Take on Halloween

The debate among Christians over Halloween seems especially intense this year.  Some stand firm believing that to go trick or treating is to teach your children to worship Satan, and others stand firmly stating that there’s no harm in a little costume and candy.  And, even though I am completely certain you don’t need another opinion on the subject, I’m about to give you mine!

Here’s my thought. There are some things in Christendom that must be adhered to by the whole group of us, the Church. For instance, Jesus is the only way to peace with God, Jesus is God, Jesus was born of a virgin, Jesus lived a sinless life, Jesus rose from the dead, etc.  And if you notice a theme here, Jesus is at the root of it all.  He is the deal breaking issue.  You can’t get Him wrong.  Jesus matters. However, there are other things that we, as believers, can differ on (for instance, sprinkling or immersion for baptism).  I hold to one view, but if you hold to the other, we can still be brothers/sisters in Christ.

In the same way, I think peace can be found in the topic of Halloween.  There have been times in my life that God was convicting me, personally, about something specific…something that He wasn’t necessarily telling some one else.  There was a lady in my Bible study class one time who said that God was showing her she needed to stop coloring her hair.  My response?  Well, ok!  And I was thinking, “You do that, and I’ll still be highlighting my grays away!”  Why?  Because God didn’t show me to stop getting hair color…He showed that to her.  Maybe for her, continuing to color her hair would end up a stumbling block toward vanity.  I sure don’t know.  But God does.  And as His kid, I know He’ll be the one to specifically reveal sin to my own heart as I need it, which is daily because I’m just a flawed sinner saved by His grace!   

And in the same way, I think that God lays things on our hearts as parents that He desires we implement into the lives of our kids.  I believe that He is the One enabling us to train up our children in the way that each of them should go.  Sure, there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors, but we better be careful who our counselors are.  I don’t need a counselor who will only tell me their personal opinion about an issue, say Halloween, for instance.  I need a counselor to point me to the Word, showing me what God has to say about the matter.  I think we need to let our brothers and sisters off the hook regardless of the hill they choose to stand on when it comes to the great Halloween debate.

So, here’s the Word for ya.  1 Corinthians 10:23 says, “All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable.  All things are lawful, but not all things edify.”  So, here’s the deal from where I sit…we need to back up off each other.  It’s lawful to trick or treat.  It’s also lawful to skip it.  It’s lawful to give out candy and share the gospel with each little goblin on your doorstep (or not).  It’s also lawful to share the gospel at each door you stand on waiting for your treat (or not).  Here’s what’s not ok:  It’s not ok to get in each other’s faces, judging a decision that God has led them to make for the good of THEIR family.  I know we know it, but it’s so hard not to force something that God has laid on our hearts on someone else, as if God is telling them to do the same thing!  I think Christians sometimes have a hard time with this.  We are, most likely, just trying to encourage someone to a godly life.  And yet, what we are actually doing is trying to play the part of God, calling others to the life God has called US to.

So, what should you do about Halloween?  I sure don’t know.  Pray about it.  God will show you what to do for your family.  But here are some tips for a happy, peaceful Halloween:

          1)  Pray about it.  You can’t get God’s heart on the matter unless you’re listening to what He’s saying to you.  So, go and listen…with a willing heart.

      2)  Consider that even if it’s lawful, it still might not be best.  Remember our verse says, that even though things are lawful, not all things are profitable and not all things edify.  That means that everything isn’t going to be best for you and your family, even if it isn’t sin. But this is something, at the risk of sounding repetitive, you’ll need to go to God about!

3)  Don’t flip out over somebody else’s decision for their family…even if it’s your best friend.  You’re not the mother in her home and she’s not the mother in yours.  God gave YOU your babies and HER her babies, and they won’t be raised exactly the same.  It is OK if you do this differently.  It really shouldn’t be a deal breaker for your friendship.

And on the other side of that coin, don’t take it too personally if someone hasn’t read this blog and they still criticize your decision for your family.  Just let it go.  It’s really gonna be ok.

      4)  Some people will make a choice this year that is different from last year.  And that’s ok! Feel free to even make this decision on a yearly basis. Kids grow and change and that will play a part in the decision making process for each family.  Try not to set up expectations for your friends on this each year (and re-read this at Christmas, because I think it’ll still apply).

     5)  Christians “celebrating” Halloween should look different than the world celebrating Halloween.  We are in the world, but are not of it.  So, let’s remember as we choose costumes and our home’s outside decorations, that the world is watching us…and we really should look different. 

     6)  Use Halloween as an opportunity to teach and point your kids to Christ.  This is really the most important tip.  We’ve got to use every opportunity to share Jesus with our kids because the world is so great at telling them everything else!

Those are just the tips that popped out off the top of my head!  I’m sure there are others!  And now, because I feel like I owe it to you after bringing all this up, here are our plans for the night:  My kids are dressing up, we’re going to enjoy a family dinner, we’re buying the kids a bag of candy, and then we’re taking our kids to Disney on Ice (which I realize is a whole other topic for Christians to debate).  We have reasons for not trick or treating, one being the fact that my kids find no humor AT ALL in being scared…but who knows what next year will hold.  What I know is that today, this is what God has led us to do.  Enjoy today, doing what God is leading you to do!  Happy Halloween!