Wednesday, October 30, 2013

To Trick or Treat and Eat the Meat?

Growing up for me, Halloween was always a fun time. My mom always had the house decked out with spooky (not gory) decorations, we dressed up as witches and vampires and ghosts, and we went Trick-or-Treating with all the neighborhood kids. It wasn’t until I had my own walk with God, and a family of my own, that I realized that Halloween is a touchy subject amongst many Christians, and one that causes many debates. And after our first year in public schools, and feeling bombarded with skeletons, witches, scary costumes, and all things creepy; I get it.

I have not felt so convicted as to completely pull my kids out of Halloween activities all together. I try to let them participate, without really ‘celebrating’ the Holiday. I focus on the fall, pumpkin aspects, we hang out at church functions instead of Trick-or-Treating, and I urge my kids to stay away from anything creepy or scary, that is intended to put a spirit of fear in us, because (among many other Biblical reasons their 6 year old brains don’t understand) God does not want our little hearts to be full of fear. I usually trade in their creepy party favors for generic party favors from the dollar store, and I will always monitor their costume choices strictly.

But I’m not here to urge you to sway one way or another. I’m not writing to convict you on whether or not you should celebrate Halloween, or if you should just innocently celebrate Fall, or if you should just turn your lights off and not celebrate at all…or maybe leave your lights on, and pass out Smarties with a note that says “Smarties know that God loves them!” and hand them a church flier (food for thought!). I’m here to do the exact opposite, actually. I am here to do what God came to do- extend my fellow mom-sista’s some Grace.

The Bible is very clear on some things, and very un-clear on others. I for one, tend to think God left some secondary issues to be decided, so that we could practice patience and kindness and Grace with one another as we waded through this mess of a world, leaning on our own personal convictions and relationship with God. And your relationship is different than my relationship. And you know what? As Romans 14 states, your (secondary) convictions may even be different than my (secondary) convictions….
“ Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters. 2 One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. 3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand.
5 One person considers one day more sacred than another; another considers every day alike. Each of them should be fully convinced in their own mind. 6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

So, other than what is black and white in the Bible, I am not going to tell you what is sin and what is not. I will tell you, however, one thing I know for sure is a sin… if God convicts you to do or not do something, and you ignore his prompting. And judging others, God is pretty clear about that in the Bible too. There is a way to lovingly express your views and opinions to other Christians if you have an accountability relationship… but that is done in “as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thess. 2:11-12.

So this Halloween, let’s stop arguing about what we think Jesus would do, and let’s start doing what we know he did. He loved, he accepted, he forgave, and he served. And his Grace is sufficient to fill in all the gaps.

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