Trick or Treat?

As a boy, “Trick or Treat” night ranked second on my list of favorite holidays behind Christmas.  I loved dressing up and wearing those plastic masks that would make your face sweat, give you no peripheral vision, and would always have to be taped to hold the elastic band to the mask where I had ripped it through the plastic hole (Remember?).  The only down side about Trick or Treat was when someone would drop an apple in your bag.  An apple!  Are you kidding me?  Who wants an apple?

Well, one year when I returned home and spread my candy out of the floor to “categorize” it (did you do this?), I discovered that someone had given me an apple, and before I could take a bite, my mom said, “Don’t bite into that apple.  I want to cut it up in wedges just to be safe.”  As it turned out, when my mom sliced up the apple, she found a wood screw had been inserted in hopes of injuring the person who took a bite.

But now, here’s why I tell you this story.  I didn’t go Trick or Treating outside of my neighborhood.  I didn’t go to strangers’ houses.  I just went where I was known.  But who would have thought that someone I knew and trusted would try to harm me or any other child in the neighborhood?  In a similar vein, who would think that people whom we know and trust might mislead us when it comes to our spiritual well-being?

The point that I am making is not to “distrust” everyone, but rather to “verify” everything by what the Bible teaches.  That’s the only way we can be sure that we are safe (1 Thessalonians 5:21).  Remember, we can be harmed by the malicious spiritual advice of others, but we can also be just as harmed by the misguided, but well-intended advice of friends.

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Comments 2

  • avid, I really got a kick out of the first part of your note. I have some of the same memories. I can’t imagine anyone putting a screw in an apple, especially from someone who knew you! Your point is well taken. Watch the spiritual advice you get from anyone, even those well-intended friends. Check it out for yourself.

  • Great story Steve! And great point. Your experience as a kid reminded me of a study conducted in the seventies (documented in the book, Made To Stick) that showed that there was not one recorded incident of a stranger ever putting a razor blade or needle in a piece of candy during trick or treating (even though this was a big scare in those days, and still is). Two incidents were recorded however. One involved a child accidently overdosing after his parents sprinkled cocaine on his candy in an effort to hid their drugs from police. Another incident involved a child after his own father attempted to kill him in order to collect on the life insurance. Very sad. But these two exceptions add to the point of your article. By the way, Made To Stick is a great book and could be helpful to churches in terms of evangelistic advertising. It discusses how to effectively market ideas (e.g., how to communicate your message effectively).

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