If you have not noticed by now, Halloween is just around the corner. Costumes, candy, and decorations began showing up in retail stores in August. Candy sales are happening weekly. Women’s television shows are spotlighting costume and home decorating ideas for October 31. If you are a Christian, what do you do?
In full disclosure, we have participated in the “festivities” on a limited basis. I am a Fall and harvest decorator focusing on pumpkins, fall leaves, and fall colors and shunning the “scary” items. However, I have made non-scary costumes for our son when he was little. (A pumpkin, a domino, and a carrot – his choice – are the ones I remember.) We have taken him trick or treating at the local mall and the downtown businesses. During Nathan’s younger years, there was a community “Noah’s Ark Night” that we participated in. It was widely known to be a non-scary event encouraging costumes that were either not scary or focused on Bible characters. This was not even sponsored by any churches!
As youth leaders, we held alternative activities for our Juniors and Teens. A costume party was had. Costumes had to come from Scripture. We were amazed at how creative the kids were. We have been a part of Trunk or Treat church events as well as organized Fall Festivals for church outreaches.
I know that there are some who would say that we have participated too much, others would ask why not go all out. Which is where the “being fully persuaded in your own mind” comes in. What do you do when there is not a chapter and verse? You use Biblical principles.
- Association principle. Who or what is associated with the item, activity, or individual? What is the present dominant association? Some things, over time, lose the negative association that may have been with it initially. Is there guilt by association? 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 22, Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22Abstain from all appearance of evil.
- Offense principle. To abstain from something, including something good, for the sake of another Christian. Romans 14:12-15:6 is one of the primary Scriptures for this principle. The meaning of offend in this case is to convince someone to sin or to embolden them to do wrong. Often this is in reference to a “weaker brother,” referring to a new or an immature Christian.
- Wedge principle. This principle refers to something that becomes a wedge in your Christian walk. If you participate in it, will it cause you to become more involved in the activity? In other words, where do you stop? In Christian-speak, this also might be referred to as the “slippery slope.”
- Doubt principle. You have probably heard the phrase, “When in doubt, don’t.” This is exactly what this principle is about. Until God gives clear direction, wait.
- Edification principle. Will this action, these words or this item build up? Does it give the right opinion of Jesus Christ? Notice I did not say a right opinion about you. As a Christian everything we do is to reflect Jesus Christ. Therefore, what we do and say is a reflection of Him.
- Expediency principle. Is it the best option? The best option usually requires extra effort or extra time. A tell-tale sign of accepting “good” over “best” is the question: What’s wrong with it? The better question to ask: What is right with it?
- Distinction principle. God’s Word is full of examples of clear distinction and separation in categories. Heaven and earth. Light and dark. Male and female. Sabbath days and work days. Jews and Gentiles. These are only a few examples of distinction in Scripture.
The above list of principles is the cliff note version of the PDF What To Do When There Isn’t a Chapter and Verse. Click the link to download the full PDF including all the verses to go along with each principle.
Christians and Halloween is an article on the Grace to You website. It is one of the best I have read on the subject. It discusses the history of Halloween, which was very interesting. It also discusses the various levels in which people choose to participate or not.
Yoda said these words, “Do or do not; there is no try.” At some point, you will need to decide how you will treat this scary time of year, especially if you have children. Changing from year to year your decision or choosing to ask, “What’s wrong with it?” is the epitome of “try.” In order to “do or do not,” decide what you will do by being fully informed. Examine Scripture. Pray for wisdom and discernment in your decision. Be fully persuaded in your own mind.