Halloween is upon us once more. Evil and grotesque “decor” is in every store and magazine, and horror movies fill the theaters. It’s sad to me because otherwise October is such a lovely month where we get relief from the heat of summer, and natural beauty takes the form of colored leaves and soft golden light.
When our kids were little, we used to join in the festivities surrounding Halloween, but somewhere along the way I became convicted that, as a Christian, I shouldn’t participate anymore.
“You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations, of those who love me and keep my commandments.”Ex 20:3-6 (NIV)
Celebration vs Worship
Can a day that focuses on evil be celebrated? Is it the equivalent of worship? I started to debate this and looked up their definitions. Consider:
Celebrate: 1) to perform (a sacrament or solemn ceremony) publicly and with appropriate rites 2) to observe a holiday, perform a religious ceremony, or take part in a festivalMerriam-Webster Dictionary
Worship: 1) to honor or show reverence for as a divine being or supernatural power 2) to regard with great extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.Merriam-Webster Dictionary
I’m afraid that those two definitions are too closely intertwined for me to safely make a distinction.
Among the most common Halloween costumes are witches, skeletons, vampires, devils, zombies, ghosts, mummies and monsters. By allowing our kids to dress up as something evil, we’re allowing them to flirt with the dark side. It makes it seem harmless, when in fact, it is very dangerous. The dark spiritual world is very real and “prowls around, seeking someone to devour.” Wouldn’t they just love innocent unsuspecting children to teeter on the rim of their dark world?
“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”1 Pet 5:8 (NIV)
Even if you only let your children dress up as something cute or “harmless,” I would still argue that participating in the celebration of evil is not harmless.
There’s a war for our children’s souls and to make light of it is to act as if it doesn’t exist.
When I was little I enjoyed watching the television show “Bewitched.” I envied how cute little Tabitha could have anything she wanted with a twitch of her little nose. I daydreamed about what I would do if I had that ability. But now, as an adult, I shudder to recall that.
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”Rev 21:8 NIV
The “good witch” in The Wizard of Oz is another example that comes to mind. She was pretty and seemed so kind. Surely, witchcraft can’t be all bad. But it is.
Witchcraft isn’t something to play around with. It really exists. In some of the volunteering I’ve done, I’ve met women who professed to be witches. I’ve seen books on witchcraft; how to do spells and incantations.
“The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”Gal 5:19-21 (NIV)
While writing this post, this article caught my attention. It’s about a “makeup mogul” who had professed to be a witch, but found Jesus and became baptized.
To allow our children to dress up as witches in play encourages a flirtation with evil that can become deadly in a spiritual sense.
Demonic for a Day
I grimace at the evil displays around some people’s homes. Their front yards have tombstones, ghosts, grim reapers, skeletons and the like. The eternity that awaits nonbelievers and scoffers isn’t something to be taken lightly.
To scoff is to show contempt by derisive acts or language, or to treat or address with derision, to mock. Derision is the use of ridicule or scorn to show contempt. Contempt is the act of despising; lack of respect or reverence for something.
If someone truly believed in hell, and the battle of good and evil, would they mock the underworld in that way?
Do you want to be in the company of scoffers for even a day?!
“Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”Eph 6:11-12 (NIV)
Trunk or Treat
I’m afraid I’ll be stepping on toes here, but I’m not a fan of churches observing Halloween with their version of trunk-or-treat, carnival, or whatever. There are a lot of things in the Bible that are confusing or hard to understand, but many things are so straight-forward that I don’t know how you get past them. One such verse is this:
“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’ ‘Therefore come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”2 Cor 6:14-17 (NIV)
Since this is my blog, this is just my opinion…oh, wait! No, it’s not. There’s something inside me that wants to soften what I’m saying. I know I have friends, brothers- and sisters-in-Christ, who participate in Halloween and might be offended, and I hate that. Which brings me to another verse:
“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”2 Tim 3:16-17
What is it about we Christians that makes us want to be part of the world, when God’s word tells us we’re supposed to be in the world, but not of it, and set apart/holy? I think it’s just what I said above. We don’t want to offend, start fights, be unliked, etc. Not that I don’t care about those things, but our culture has a scarcity of truth these days. I hunger to hear it myself, so I need to get past what I would accuse others of and boldly proclaim God’s word. In the verse from Revelations 21:8 above, even the cowardly are included in those who will burn in the lake of fire. I don’t want to be cowardly!
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world.”1 John 2:15-16 (NIV)
“You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God.”James 4:4 (NIV)
Just because the event is used to evangelize doesn’t make it okay. Even if someone is introduced to Christ on the occasion, how many souls are lost on this holiday (Holy day?) because of their encounter with evil sparks a curiosity or enchantment with Satan’s world?
If the church wants to have a day where the kids can dress up and eat candy, I’d suggest having it on a totally different day, requiring Biblical costumes, and reciting scripture for their treat.
Just because I don’t think God would want us to participate in this holiday doesn’t mean that He doesn’t want us to have fun. Jubilees and feasts were His idea and decreed in scripture. He wants us to have life to the fullest, and not just an earthly life, but eternal life with Him in heaven. I look forward to the day that I’ll be praising Him in the company of angels, and not just cute kids in costumes, but the real heavenly beings. When I read the Biblical descriptions of eternal life with Jesus, I want that and don’t want anything to get in the way.
Even if you dress up as “good” things. Even if you try to use the occasion to evangelize. To participate in the revelry on October 31st is to glorify evil.
On the day of judgment, when I stand face to face with my creator and give account for the ways I’ve fallen short during my earthly life, there’s no reason for fellowshipping with darkness to be among them.