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Religious Reflections

Keep the children safe

by Michael Hughes

Soon there will be the pitter-patter of little feet coming up the sidewalk accompanied by tiny voices calling out "Trick or Treat." It is the time of year when children look forward to a time of costumed fun.

Many parents look at the Halloween holiday with mixed feelings. They love to share the fun with their children, but they hesitate to surround their children with the culture of monsters, demons and witches. Underneath the mask of Halloween lies a heritage of evil, a celebration of ghosts and goblins, vampires, werewolves and other supernatural evil powers.

Some have said that Halloween is a way for us to face our fears, by making fun of them. Laughing at fear can make us feel better. But, if there is a real threat there, the feeling may not really help that much. The Bible says that there really is a devil and he really does have power. Jesus said, in speaking of the devil, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (John 10:10). It is the devil's purpose to make our lives miserable and then to destroy us. Evil is real. And we must be careful not to open ourselves up to it, even in fun

Therefore parents need to be careful what they allow their children to experience or to see. Celebrating in costumes and collecting candy can be innocent enough. And children can enjoy the world of make-believe. But they need not be encouraged to engage in behavior that exalts frightening images of death and destruction and powers of evil. Wearing costumes such as a princess, a soldier, an animal, a Big Bird, or some cartoon character carries no scary connotation and still brings the air of "specialness" to the party.

By the way, the Bible says that there is a way to deal with the reality of evil that exists in the world around us. We are right to be frightened by evil. And it is important that we take precaution against it. Jesus said, "I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

The power of Jesus is more than adequate to defeat the devil's schemes. That is precisely why the Bible says Jesus came into the world he created: "The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the devil's work" (I John 3:8). Those who have accepted Christ's invitation to believe in Him and have a living relationship with Jesus also have His power in them to protect them from Satan's attacks. To them the Bible says "greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world."

So go, have fun and gather the candy, but keep the children safe. Just as you put reflective clothing on your children and check out the candy before letting them eat any, so also keep your child from every face of evil, no matter what mask it wears, as much as you can.

And remember that when fears attack, there is a reason. Fear of evil is a God-given method of protection. It is meant to lead us under the cover and the power of Jesus Christ.

Michael Hughes is pastor of the Sunnyside First Baptist Church.

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