Halloween is a debated topic among Christian parents. You will find supporters and dissenters throughout the church body.
So what are Christian parents to do with Halloween?
I like to call upon Scripture to answer these potentially legalistic and divisive areas of the modern day Christian walk. And I always turn to Romans 14:13-23 for help in these “gray” areas of Christian living. Here is the passage from the Contemporary English Version:
“We must stop judging others. We must also make up our minds not to upset anyone’s faith.(a) The Lord Jesus has made it clear to me that God considers all foods fit to eat. But if you think some foods are unfit to eat, then for you they are not fit.
If you are hurting others by the foods you eat, you are not guided by love. Don’t let your appetite destroy someone Christ died for. Don’t let your right to eat bring shame to Christ. God’s kingdom isn’t about eating and drinking. It is about pleasing God, about living in peace, and about true happiness. All this comes from the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ in this way, you will please God and be respected by people. We should try to live at peace and help each other have a strong faith.(b)
Don’t let your appetite destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you eat. It is best not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything else that causes problems for other followers of the Lord. What you believe about these things should be kept between you and God. (c) You are fortunate, if your actions don’t make you have doubts. But if you do have doubts about what you eat, you are going against your beliefs. And you know that is wrong, because anything you do against your beliefs is sin.”(d)
You may be thinking: What does eating meat sacrificed to idols (which this passage is about) have to do with Halloween? Well, the same principles apply. When you are trying to make decisions on issues where the Bible is silent, you can adhere to the following guidelines outlined in the passage above:
1) If the event, action or behavior would cause someone else (including your children) to stumble spiritually or question their faith or yours, don’t do it (see point (a) above).
2) If God has convicted you that something is wrong, don’t do it because, for you, it would be wrong – regardless of what others might say or do (see point “d” above).
3) Make decisions about “gray” areas based on a litmus test of peace. If it causes dissention or division, don’t do it (see point “b” above).
4) Don’t flaunt your freedom in Christ in front of other people. If you have made a decision based on convictions, peace or the spiritual health of another, then keep it between you and God (see point “c” above).
It seems to me that Halloween is one of these gray areas. Nowhere in the Bible does it say “thou shall not go trick-or-treating” or “thou shall trick-or-treat.” Therefore, we need to employ the criterion set out in Romans 14 to make our decision.
We can ask ourselves the following questions:
Would it cause my child to stumble spiritually? I know someone who asked her Christian parents when she was a young child why they celebrated a holiday that seemed to go against what she knew about God. The family’s participation in Halloween made this young child question her parent’s faith and they never celebrated it again. And I know plenty of solid Christian families who have had no such crisis of belief and continue to celebrate together (by celebrating, I mean trick-or-treating, dressing up and passing out candy – clearly all demonic aspects of Halloween should be avoided by any follower of Christ).
Has God convicted me on this matter? If He has, then follow your convictions.
Will celebrating Halloween (or not celebrating Halloween) bring conflict or division in any relationships I have? Make peace your goal.
This piece of Scripture is a wonderful tool to helping us discern the Lord’s will. Let’s not relegate it just to eating meat or trick-or-treating. Let’s invite God’s Spirit to our decision-making processes and follow where He leads.
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