I've seen it again this year, all over my Facebook page, a near-constant stream of posts about the harmlessness or the harmfulness of Halloween. Many times these posts degenerate from a thoughtful conversation about the holiday to a judgmental argument, with neither side willing to grant the other side any grace.
And I have to tell you, it's getting old. The only thing this argument does, especially in as public a place as Facebook, is persuade people that Christ-followers are judgmental on both sides of the issue.
Here's the thing: The Bible does not clearly state one way or the other whether it's OK to dress up and take your kids out begging for candy from the neighbors one night a year. There is no eleventh commandment stating "Thou shalt not celebrate Halloween." There's also no clear direction stating that it's OK. It's a decision that each family has to make for themselves. It's really between each person and God.
Every family is different. Every kid is different. What influences my kid may not influence yours. What scares my kid may not scare yours. What my family sees as a fun, harmless activity, your family may see as a holiday with dark spiritual overtones.
I want to tell you that neither position is wrong. They're just different. And all the arguing and divisiveness, no matter which side of the issue you're on, is simply driving people away from Jesus. If we Christ-followers are so caught up in judging each other, imagine how that makes people who don't know Jesus feel. Imagine how they must wonder whether we're judging them, too.
While the Bible isn't super clear on Halloween, it is extremely clear about judging others. Romans 14:13 says, "Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother’s way." This passage was talking about how the Christ-followers of the day were arguing about which foods were OK to eat, but the problem wasn't the food. The problem was that people on both sides of the argument were busy passing judgment on the others. The same is true today. All passing judgment on someone else's Halloween choices does is creates a stumbling block between our non-Christ-following friends and Jesus. And it teaches our kids that it's OK to judge others.
So, tomorrow night, whether you light up your house and hand out candy and take your kids door to door in their costumes or you choose to not participate in the holiday, don't judge the other side's choice. And let's stop passing judgment on each other on Facebook or in the halls of the church. Instead, let's make our own decisions for our own families based on prayer and listening to what God has to say to us, and let's love on those who make different choices. Let's close the gap between our decisions with love instead of making it bigger with judgment. After all, that's what Jesus did.