Britney’s house smelled of coffee and fresh cupcakes, and the counter was laden with after dinner treats. I arranged visuals for my presentation and the ladies arrived. I had feared they would be reluctant to talk, but three hours later we were still going strong. They came to learn about Halloween and how it fits, or doesn’t fit in, with the Christian life, and they were full of questions. 

Andrea has only been a believer for a few years, but she is passionate about living for Jesus. She had always celebrated Halloween, but her first year after becoming a Christian she felt different when she opened the box of decorations. I can’t do this, she said to herself. She didn’t know exactly why, but recognized this holiday didn’t fit with her newfound faith. 
“My son is totally on board with me about this,” Andrea said, “but I don’t know how to explain it when other people ask me why I don’t celebrate Halloween anymore. I want to be ready to have better conversations with people.”
Do we turn people off with rules?
Do we promise windows, but show only walls?
We all agreed we want to be inviting when we talk about our faith, and not focused on a bunch of rules and regulations. After all, Jesus was a pretty inviting guy. He knew how to draw people into conversation and ask them questions. He challenged the status quo and made people think.  He was only harsh with religious hypocrites who thought they had God all figured out, yet had no love for Him or other people. On the other hand, Jesus welcomed anyone seeking or open to the truth. We need to do the same.
When my husband served as a volunteer policeman, they had regular target practices, CPR training, and emergency procedure drills so their responses would become automatic. They needed to take action when necessary without hesitation. This proved essential the day Kelly answered an emergency call at his parents’ house. His mom’s heart had stopped and she needed CPR.
At first he thought, This is my mom, I can’t do this!But then his training kicked in and he was able to separate himself from fear and personal feelings to do what needed to be done.
This is why scripture tells us to, “Always beprepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15).  How can we do this with an emotionally charged subject like Halloween, which not even all Christians agree on? 

Or do we put out the welcome mat?

Do we invite authentic conversation about God?

The best we can do is share from our own heart—giving reasons for the hope we have. The ladies and I practiced. I began, “I have decided to stop celebrating Halloween because I realized the main themes of the holiday don’t match up with my faith. Halloween is all about witchcraft, darkness, fear, and death. As a believer my life is all about overcoming evil by the power of God, walking in the light, living with courage, and enjoying abundant life in Jesus Christ.”

The next part of inviting others into conversation about Halloween or any part of our faith is to focus on the hope we have. And we need to do everything with gentleness and respect. That means not insulting people who don’t believe as we do or choose to do things we believe are wrong. This is where it can get emotionally charged.
I haven’t done so well with this in the past. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but God’s not through with me yet and I’m learning. I hope you too are inviting people into conversations about God and how you’re learning to live a life pleasing to Him—whether it’s about the holidays you celebrate or the multitude of choices you make every day. Let’s enter in to dialogue and love the people God brings our way. 
Don’t be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
#Halloweenconversations #gentlenessandrespect #Halloweendebate #reasonforhope #dialogueaboutGod