By Beth Groh
Perhaps no other holiday conjures up more controversy for Christian parents than Halloween.
Trick or Treat? Or not?
Ignore it? Fight it? Or try to carve out a middle ground by embracing its “innocent” side, while shunning evil overtones?
Looking for one clear answer? Well, look somewhere else…that’s a family decision based on prayerful consideration and perhaps, consultation with your pastor or trusted Christian friends.
But as your weekly guide to sharpening a biblical worldview in our families, let me pose a Halloween strategy we should all agree to adopt.
As Christian parents, let’s acknowledge the 10,000 lb. gorilla in the room and use the media and merchandise hype over Halloween as a launch pad for probing questions within our families.
What about ghosts? What about zombies? What about monsters? (See our prior post about that fun topic.)
Your children see these images anyway…so why not convert what could be negative or even frightful figures into teaching tools?
We do at our home and believe me, we’ve had some lively discussions, particularly about ghosts and supposed haunted houses.
On the ghosts and zombies front, we’ve talked about the very foundational issue that lies at the core—Is God’s Word true about life after death? Does a soul “float” or “wander” after a body dies? Or is there an immediate—and eternal—destination for the believer and non-believer?
God is quite clear in His Word—throughout the Old and New Testament—that believers will find eternal rest with Him at the moment of death, whereas non-believers will be separated from Him for eternity.
“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?’ ” (John 11:25-26)
Jesus was quite specific about this timeline for the soul at death when He spoke words of comfort and forgiveness to the thief on the cross, who in his dying hours, acknowledged Christ’s divinity: “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:43)
Jesus was just as clear about the fate of one’s soul after death in his vivid parable about the death of a man named Lazarus, a downtrodden beggar, and the indifferent wealthy man who, in life, ignored the suffering of others. (Luke 16: 14-31)
The once powerful man who shunned the ways of God was cast into eternal torment, forever separated from God and those, like Lazarus, who lived a life on earth in faith.
Do those stories paint a picture of a soul wandering in limbo (i.e., ghost or zombie) waiting for God to decide a dead person’s fate for eternity? Not at all.
“But wait!” you might say. “Aren’t there stories about ghostly figures in the Bible, particularly in the Old Testament?”
Yep. And that’s why this topic can—and will—lead to long and intense discussions around the kitchen table!
So I won’t tackle every instance here. But let me tell you how my husband and I couch this issue in our family.
We remind our children that the Bible is quite clear that there’s a vast unseen spirit world around us—with the eternal battle of Good versus Evil waged in the hearts and minds of men…and in the very ruling powers of nations that determine the course of this world’s history.
Would the devil love to tempt believers into an obsession about the dark spiritual forces on earth? You bet.
Does satan have the power to conjure images or spirits that might trick even well-meaning believers into exploring this dark side? Absolutely.
Would he not revel in a holiday like Halloween where his evil images are plastered for all to see? Certainly.
So as Christian parents, should we be on guard to shield the hearts and minds of our children? Without a doubt!
But totally shutting out Halloween may be impossible, without unplugging the TV and computer, staying out of the stores from August through October, and pulling down shades in the minivan as your drive past homes even in your own neighborhood.
That’s why the best approach may be to boldly acknowledge and confront the barrage of images on your family—keeping up the shield of faith and fighting back with the sword of His mighty Word.