Perfect love and Halloween
The spice box
by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –
Halloween used to be one of my favorite holidays back when children could go trick-or-treating without fear of razor blades, doctored candy or molestation as they made their rounds. A more innocent timea time when witches, goblins, faeries, monks, and angels attended church Halloween parties and had fun pretending to be something they weren’ta time when Christians were not afraid to mock the powers of Satan, secure in the knowledge that no matter how powerful he may be, God is infinitely more so. It is sad to know that we have yielded faith to fear, rationality to superstitions more fitted to medieval times. Satan has reclaimed his day, and must rejoice to see little witches and ghosts turned away from Christ-honoring events because they happened to choose the wrong costume! How I would love to see the followers of Jesus take back Halloween, parading the streets and shouting from the rooftops, “Satan has no day. All days are God’s days. We gladly mock the powers of evil, because God is God, and he alone is all powerful!”
While I detest allowing Satan to believe he has won that battle, there are other battles even more abhorrent, battles we, as soldiers of Christ, must not avoid or surrender. It is a battle in which irrational fear on the part of Christians causes them to confront a false enemy, believing thereby to support the cause of Christ; a battle that is abandoning thousands of souls a day to the true enemy of God.
Somewhere (now I wonder where that could be?) I seem to have read, “Christ came to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” Also, “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” And it seems as if I may have read somewhere that Jesus was accused of socializing with sinners, of all things! Christ wasn’t afraid of what people would think if he associated with the socially unaccepted. After all, that was why he came.
For a long time now I have been burdened with a tremendous concerna concern for you and me as we live our comfortable Christian lives in our comfortable Christian community, safe from the battle waging just outside our doors. Outside, because we fear tainting ourselves with the presence of sinners, the souls Jesus came to save. Sure, we preach to them on skid row, and nurture them and seek to introduce them to the Lord in the ARC programs, but for most it is akin to associating with a leperwe want to see them healed, but heaven forbid we should invite them into our congregationsor our homes.
I expect that right now you are thinking of the homeless, the substance abusers, those caught up in prostitution, the adulterersand you are right. We should be increasing our efforts to bring each of these into the family of Christ. Sadly, there is one community that most Christians seem to have abandoned as unsalvageable: the gay community. Few churches are reaching out to those involved in homosexuality. We don’t understand it. We abhor the very idea. For the majority of Christians this seems to be the ultimate sin; we would no more associate or socialize with one we suspect to be gay than we would knowingly socialize with Satan himself. We seem to have created a unique category for such personsa group whom we expect to change their way of life, recognizing the wrongness of their lifestyle, before they are fit to come to Christ.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Again we have surrendered, not simply a day, but millions of souls to an eternity without Christ. We have a dutynot a duty to alienate this community, but a duty to reach out to them in love with the message of Christ. It is not our duty to convict and change people; that is God’s part! Are we so weak, so without resources, that we fear some kind of contamination if we reach out in love and support to those who are lost, no matter what the particular sin may be? Are we unable, or unwilling, to take risks for the sake of winning a soul to the Lord? And if we are, are we any the less sinful, putting down our weapons and surrendering to Satan before the battle is even begun?
One final question: Why was Jesus not afraid to be seen associating with sinners? Was it not because of his love, perfect love? And does not the Bible teach that this sort of love is available to you and me? God grant that we might grow in our ability to develop relationships without fear, secure in the knowledge that “Perfect love casts out fear.”
Sorry, Satan, you lose this round.