Mask! Mask! Take it off, mind yelled my son! Those were the words my two year old yelled at me some twenty years ago in the kitchen when he saw my face covered by an old resurrected Halloween mask from the attic. Needless to say, canada it took him by surprise; he was unable at that time to discern what was real and what was not. Not even the familiarity of my voice convinced him otherwise. The only thing that calmed his fears was the immediate removal of the mask. When the mask was tossed to the ground, he tried to hit it with his baseball bat, while shouting, “bad mask! Bad!” Why could not my son discern between a good dad and the scary mask? The obvious answer is that he was too young to know differently, he was limited by his maturity. But as the years passed, his knowledge and wisdom of the world matured. A significant part of that maturity came when Brodie threw aside the control of his own life (Repentance) and accepted Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. Our daughter, Shannon made the same decision later as outlined in the Gospel of John (John 3: 3-5; 16-18).
We are glad to report that after 20 years of parenting our children still openly declare their love and devotion for their Savior, Jesus Christ. They surpassed all the moral hopes and spiritual goals we held for them during those parenting years. But it was not easy, because the world they entered made every effort to swindle them out of every devotional commitment they made before God. In respect to our roles as Christian parents the job was really quite simple, and yet incredibly challenging. The simplicity rested in the reality that God was in charge (2 Corinthians: 5), despite all the mistakes we made. The challenge set before us was the awesome responsibility of being God’s primary earthly representatives in developing our children’s faiths (Mark 10:13-16).
We likened our parenting experience to the classrooms we taught in each school year. A successful school year for Myrna and I depended upon many things (curriculum materials, classroom discipline, parent support, etc.), but the most important aspect to a successful year was our ability to resolve relational conflicts between students, and between parents. We deemed these efforts as works of reconciliation.
Similar to our school approach to reconciliation, our work in the home focused on different critical relationships, they included:
- The children’s relationship with God and His church
- The children’s relationship with their parents
- The children’s relationship with each other, as brother and sister
- The children’s relationship with Christian friends and other family members
- The children’s relationship with friends seeking God
Masks, costumes, and disguises can be fun party activities for children, unless they are personified in a wrongly rooted activity like Halloween. The joking celebration of man’s evil side is hardly an applicable response to God’s labors to eternally save His most beloved creations, man and woman. (Genesis 1:26-18). The right reaction is to replace the Halloween masks of death and evil with costumes of life and love.
In this teachable moment help your children create and design new costumes that characterize their relationship with God. As a reference read Hebrews 11, and emulate one of the characters in this chapter. When October 31st arrives have your children confidently parade their newfound character at party that celebrates God, not His adversary the devil. In addition to your child’s costume, help them create a tract concerning their Hebrew 11 character to pass out on Halloween. Let them share it at the door when traditional trick-or-treaters show up.
John 3: 3-5; 16-18 3 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? He cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born, can he?” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water (physical birth) and the Spirit (spiritual birth) he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 16 “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
2 Corinthians 3: 5 “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God.”
Mark 10:13-15 13 And they were bringing children to Him so that He might touch them; but the disciples rebuked them. 14 But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant and said to them, “Permit the children to come to Me; do not hinder them; for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. 15 “Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” blessing them, laying His hands on them.”
Genesis 1:26-28 26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the Fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. 28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.”
Hebrews 11:1,7-8,11 1 Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 2 For by it the men of old gained approval
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. 7 By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith. 8 Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going. 11 By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.