I've read a number of conversations lately about Halloween. I've certainly seen all kinds of people excited about what they're planning to do and wear. As of today, I've seen a number of photos of people in their costumes, as well. On this Lord's Day, as I consider these things, a few thoughts have come to mind.
Today, in particular, I am amazed at how Christians use their "Christian liberty" to act just like the world -- a world from which we are called to separate ourselves, in terms of how we think, behave, work, govern, and worship. Halloween is the current pertinent example of this misuse of Christian liberty, but at least two other examples come to mind: Christmas and Easter.
At Christmas, many who profess Christ raise their children under the lie that there is this real man who is apparently eternal, who has supernatural powers, and who knows the hearts of all so as to judge rightly what gifts they should receive. This lie is perpetuated from the time they are first able to understand it all the way through the time when, usually, it comes crashing down in a humiliating manner as they are made fun of by their peers for still believing it. One of the first major "truths" that each of those children were told by their parents was, in fact, a lie. What an ingenious way to raise children.
Moreover, we teach greed right from the outset of their lives. Yes, there are those rare few who don't do this, but the general premise of Christmas is, "It is all about the spirit of giving...but yes, we'll get you what you want too." Tell me, which of your children would be perfectly happy on Christmas day if they woke up, went to give gifts to the needy (things like shoes, clothes, food, etc...things of necessity, not of leisure), and came home to absolutely not a single present of their own? Though there are a few rare jewels out there who have instilled such character, for the overwhelming majority of us, our children would be quite distraught. Furthermore, when asked about it in school, they would be mocked by their peers.
Then comes Easter. We should have our focus on the glorious blessing we have received from our Creator God by the resurrection of His Son, through which we have obtained eternal life. Instead, we teach our children from the time they can take their first steps, that the day is about this giant-sized rabbit who also has mysterious supernatural powers and brings more toys and candy to children all over the world. We search for eggs, because when you read John 3:16 it says, ....oh wait, there's nothing in Scripture that says *anything at all* about the "Easter bunny", eggs, candy, or anything of the like.
And once again, we parents teach our children over and over not to lie as they grow up, only to eventually have our feet put to the flames when they find out how hypocritical we are, since we have lied countless times to them about this as well. How many stories did we tell them about the Easter bunny, what he does for children around the world, how he gets from place to place, how he knows what you want, and on and on.
Now we're in October, though, and so many who profess Christ as their Savior go around bragging about how much time and effort they're going to put into their costumes, how they're going to carve the scariest looking pumpkin, and oftentimes even harp about how they'll have to call off work the next day (if it falls in the work week), because they plan to drink until they can't stand up anymore.
Scour Facebook for a little while and you'll find it replete with "don't judge me" comments. Certainly we are not to act as though we are judge over one's eternal salvation; we are also not to judge others' conduct when we ourselves are guilty of that same sin. Let's look at this last one, in particular, briefly:
" Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye" (Matthew 7:3-5a)
Jesus Christ is very clear here that we must not be hypocritical. However, look at what He says in verses 1-2 and 5b (the end of verse 5):
" Judge not, that you be not judged.  For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you." (vv. 1,2)
"...and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye." (v. 5b)
So we are to not to judge in a way that we do not want to be judged (verse 1). If we do judge someone, then we must realize that we will be judged in that same exact way (verse 2). If we have followed verses 3-5a, then we will not be hypocritical when we DO judge correctly, as instructed in verse 5b.
Of course, those who are ignorant and haven't actually read these verses, but simply know verse 1 because of its familiarity, and those who have actually read this passage, but haven't spent the time thinking it through and and meditating upon it -- both of these -- would rather just take away the first verse as a means of justifying their unrighteous behavior. They cannot stand the thought of others correcting them in a loving way. "Who are you to correct me!" they exclaim. Who are those who correct you? Those are your Christian brothers and sisters who God has already corrected; and He has done so either directly through His Word by the Spirit or through brothers and sisters of theirs who corrected them in a right manner.
Why do I say all of that? I say it because those of you who are my brothers and sisters who walk in the ways of the world that I outlined above need correction. The Word of God has plenty of passages that speak against each and every evil I have addressed above -- whether lying, endorsing greed and selfishness, perverting the message of the Cross by trivializing it with a focus on candy and mythical creatures (re: typical celebrations of Christmas and Easter), or the outright celebration of death, evil, the occult, debauchery, and even demons and Satan himself (re: typical Halloween celebrations and parties).
Believe me, I'm not so naive as to think that many will (or would, if they didn't have "better things to do") mock me for "taking things too seriously." "Lighten up!" they hearken. Jesus addresses those in the church of Laodicea who have such self-sufficient and laissez-faire attitudes about His Lordship when He states:
" I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!  So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." (Revelation 3:15-16)
Those people were not taking their faith seriously. They were rich. They prospered. So what need had they for the truths of Scripture? In their minds, they were self-sufficient, and for that, Christ said He would cast them out of their claimed position of having eternal life (they didn't really have what they thought they did, because He would expel them from Himself, proving otherwise). They were much like most of us in this country who don't know what real struggle is. We are comfortable enough to take the faith to which we are called with a grain of salt.
We who claim the name of Christ *must* repent of such evil. Yes, it can be difficult. There were many things I did while I was growing up that were difficult for me to turn away from and turn to God instead. There are still many on which I continue to work. I can fully accept the Christian who responds by saying, "Man, these are some hard things to deal with. I never really thought about this. This is going to be difficult for me to do. Can you help me with this and hold me accountable to it, knowing that I'm going to slip up from time to time?"
What I cannot accept from a Christian brother or sister is the "Don't judge me!" nonsense. If someone stole your car, would you ask the judge to not judge them for this? How about if somebody abducted your child for a day, but then returned him/her the next day? Would you just let that slide? What if someone murdered your spouse? Should that person just keep living like nothing ever happened?
The outright foolishness of the "don't judge me" syndrome is appalling and flies in the face of God's Holiness, the holiness to which He calls us (1 Peter 1:16, Leviticus 11:45). God is the God of the ends AND the means. He corrects and rebukes those whom He loves (cf. Hebrews 12:3-17). Oftentimes He uses His own children to correct those children of His who are living contrary to His decrees.
Please, heed His Word and stop dishonoring Him in these ways that show a love and acceptance of the world instead of a love and submission to Christ Jesus, the Word of God.
" Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world.  And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever." (1 John 2:15-17)
"4 You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God." (James 4:4)