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The Challenge of Halloween

How to live as light in a dark, broken world....

Bob Russell once said: "It seems to me, however, that this is not a battle worth fighting (the battle over whether to participate in halloween or fight against it). The Bible instructs us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. I’m of the opinion that Christians are wise not to waste spiritual ammunition on insignificant skirmishes. We can expend a lot of energy campaigning against Halloween and our kids eventually get the impression that we’re fun-hating legalists who are against everything. I think we’re wiser (and just as Scriptural) to use the increasing hoopla around Halloween to our advantage. Instead of boycotting it as a pagan Holiday, let’s turn it around and make it a time of fun, instruction and family get-togethers."

With that being said -- Halloween is still a weird day for many followers of Jesus. We don’t like the glorification of evil, but we also like for our kids to have fun. Some Christians just hide on Halloween night and turn out the lights (as if no one were home) or create Halloween alternatives. For the last several years we’ve tried to bring some light to Halloween in what we call Trunk or Treat. A number of families serve our community on our South Campus. We will join together to have some fall fun, give away hot dogs, hot chocolate, eat some awesome chili at our chili cook-off (which I will win this year) and give out tons of candy. Our desire is to not fight against "Halloween" but instead serve and love our community and be light rather than retreat from the darkness. I believe this is how the church is designed – we don’t run from the world, we are not a part of the world, but we engage the dark world with the light of Jesus.

The Bible tells us, “Don’t be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good.” For example, Easter once had pagan roots, but Christians have captured that day with the good news of the empty tomb and today when people think of Easter they immediately think of the resurrection of Christ. Why night CHALLENGE the thinking of HALLOWEEN with the love of Jesus.

We can also use this moment to remember some truths about "EVIL" and "EVIL THINGS".

1) Evil isn't just on the outside. When we see monsters, costumes, haunted houses, etc - we see a very outward Halloween. We steer our kids away from destructive movies and teach them about the many outward dangers of evil things, but really -- we must remember that evil and evil things start with something very inward -- the heart.

Jesus himself said: 'For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander' (Matthew 15:19). It’s not just them out there we need to worry about, it’s us. It’s easy to put on or take off a mask - it’s much more difficult to change and protect the heart.

2) Evil isn't ugly and nasty and easily noticed. The best Halloween costumes are considered to be the scariest and the ugliest. The message is that you can recognize evil because evil is ugly. Ugliness does not equal nastiness. However, the bigger problem is that the most dangerous forms of evil appear wrapped up in a nice package. Some of the most destructive things look really good, sound really good, taste really good, but when consumed unwisely become very evil. Another danger for Christ Followers is that some evil things come from what seems like "religious" sources. Bottom line: Evil isn't always easily marked out for us. The Bible tells us that 'Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light' (2 Corinthians 11:14). Evil is far more subtle, sinister and seductive than any ugly, scary monster or figure dressed in a cloak and scary mask.

3) Evil is trivial. Children are told at Halloween that even the scariest figure at the door is an ordinary person dressed up to look horrible. I can remember going to my first "haunted house" and remember being scared to death to go, but everyone around me was saying that it was fake and it was just people having fun -- Don't worry -- It's not real. We tell our kids there is 'nothing to worry about'. But what message are we really saying? Real evil does real damage. When speaking to our kids, we have to be clear about the dangers of "evil things" and we have to be sure that we are calling the right things "evil" and not just down playing too much. I think it's true we should be a light to a dark and broken world - but I (nor can you) do that if we downplay what's at stake and why we are doing what we are doing.

I think wise, Godly parents can instruct their children about the origin of Halloween and then say, “That’s why we don’t have you dress up like witches or demons. Demonic power is real.

Evil is evil. Evil things destroy and damage our relationship with God and those around us. So as Followers of Jesus - we must be wise, we must not be afraid, we must speak truth and we have to always BE REAL. Let's not forget why we are living in this dark world...I love how Bob concluded his thoughts about Halloween:

"Satan and his minions have tried to occupy October 31 long enough. Instead of us surrendering the day to him, let’s remember that, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.” Every day belongs to God. Let’s overcome evil with good and use October 31 to enjoy a party with our kids and teach them the truth that, “Greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world.”

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