4 Oct 2019
There are lots of reasons why my kids ask me this question – from what they are allowed to watch or play to the events they are allowed to attend, to whether they can have a mobile phone or a social media account (no, you’re in primary school). The current seasonal variation is “Why can’t we go trick or treating? EVERYONE else is doing it…”
“Everyone else is doing it” – is not a reason for us to. “Everyone else is doing it” is not how we make decisions. “Everyone else is doing it” begs the question, “why do you want to be like everyone else?” Everyone else might be – but have any of them asked why?
Don’t miss the opportunity this Halloween (or whenever else this issue raises its head) to talk it through. Not with a whack-a-mole approach: “I don’t care what everyone else is doing, I am head of this house.” But with a conversation rooted in our identity as those who are saved by Jesus and trusting in God’s wisdom and love for us.
In Romans 12 v1-2 Paul writes one of his amazing summary sentences – the gospel in a nutshell. He has spent the last 11 chapters telling us salvation’s story - the bad news of sin and the good news of Jesus. Now he hits us with some take-your-breath-away verses:
“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s great mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God – this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Because of what Jesus has done we are to be different people. Saved people are changed people; not conformers but transformers! We don’t just do what everyone else does without thinking. We don’t conform to the world, because our hearts are won by His love for us. This is not a bad news, grumpy, everything is off limits, be a weirdo verse! We are transformed by the renewing of our mind. This means we think differently, we ask why, we consider whether something we want to do will help us love and follow Jesus. Being transformed is being made into something better, someone who knows what God’s like and what he wants, someone ready to do what God wants. There’s nothing better in the whole world we could be than people who are being transformed to know and do his will.
So, no – we are not going trick or treating, you are not having a mobile phone yet and we are not watching that film. Because I want better for you. Because we are transformers, not conformers. Because we trust God’s wisdom and heart, before we trust your peers. Because as people who are saved by Jesus, and loved by Jesus we’re meant to be different from everyone else. Transformers – more than meets the eye! Transformers - robots in disguise? Nope, actually - Jesus changed my life! (And for those of you who remember the TV show, and the universal greeting – baa weep grahna weep ninny bong)
Knowing how to respond to Halloween can be a challenge when our kids get invited to parties and people knock on our door. Click HERE for more helpful resources.