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Trick or Treat, Reflect, Redeem, Retreat

Posted by Sherman Chau on

Hallowe’en seems to have become more and more of a dilemma for believers over the years. Growing up in a non-Christian family, it was always something I looked forward to. Now with my own family, we wrestle with the question of what to do, and our stance and responses have varied.

Like “Trick or Treat,” sometimes we feel the choice has to be an either-or response to Hallowe’en but as with many cultural and societal issues, it may not be so binary – black and white. A good first step is to begin with thorough reflection on the matter.

REFLECT

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Ephesians 5:15-17

Think critically – not just about what you will or will not do on Hallowe’en, but in all situations with all your choices. Don’t be passively carried along by the tide of culture and don’t mindlessly buy into it (literally). Ask some questions to help you decide how to respond specifically to your context of Hallowe’en: What is being celebrated or glorified? What values are being upheld? What am I saying by my choice of costume? Do I see any evidence of evil or the occult? Do I want to give my money away to something that is celebrating darkness?

REDEEM

The kingdom of heaven is like leaven that a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened. Matthew 13:33

Notice that the leaven needs to be taken up by the woman and put it into the dough. The Kingdom of God works its way into culture to transform it through believers redemptively engaging in society. There might be aspects of the holiday that are okay, or even good. Hallowe’en allowed us to get to know many neighbours in our 17-tower apartment complex and there was a great community connection in organising the different families and homes who would give out candy. The pagan roots of Christmas and Easter have lost their power. Maybe one day Hallowe’en will go the same way.  

RETREAT

Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:11.

Sometimes there is no way to rationalise our involvement in an activity or situation “in the name of ministry,” and it is better to simply avoid it altogether. Some contexts are thoroughly depraved with nothing at their core to redeem.

Trick or Treat? Respond to the question without guilt, with your freedom in Christ, the one who has disarmed the powers of darkness.

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