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How to Handle Harry

The movie is out. Millions of Harry Potter books are dog-eared. Video games and fan web sites abound. Kids are wearing the clothing. So, how we handle Harry Potter with our kids, grandkids and their friends? What if you’ve decided Harry is not for your kids? What if your family allows (even enjoys!) Harry and you’re getting flak from Christians who assert it’s evil? These biblically-based points can help:

Perspective Romans 14:22-23

Overcome evil with good Romans 12:21

Tactful treatment of others James 1:19-20, Ephesians 4:1-3, Galatians 5:13-26

Training in righteousness Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Ephesians 6:4, Hebrews 5:14

Perspective Romans 14:22-23

Overcome evil with good Romans 12:21

Tactful treatment of others James 1:19-20, Ephesians 4:1-3, Galatians 5:13-26

Training in righteousness Deuteronomy 18:9-14, Ephesians 6:4, Hebrews 5:14

Effectiveness Eph. 5:15-16, 1 Corinthians 9:22

Relationship to God & culture Mark 16:15; John 3:17; Daniel 1:8-21; 5:11-13 Acts 17:16-34

Perspective: Christians see Harry Potter from differing perspectives (witchcraft equated with occult practices vs. classic fantasy literature) and arrive at differing convictions. What Harry Potter MEANS to you, and spiritual sensitivities, determines whether you allow involvement.

Overcome evil with good: We’re not to be overcome by evil, but to overcome evil with good. Some do this by firmly disallowing Harry Potter. If you hold convictions that it’s too close to what the Bible declares as evil, overcome this with good by directing kids to alternatives like Frank Peretti’s Cooper Kids Adventure Series or Chronicles of Narnia. If you allow your kids Harry Potter, be sure to read and watch it with them, practice moral and spiritual discernment, distinguish between fantasy literary magic and real-world occult.

Tactful treatment of others: God commands Christians to “maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bonds of peace (Eph. 4:3).” This takes a diligent commitment to be kind, gentle, patient, and show forbearance to each other in love especially when we differ in opinions. Teach kids to be respectful of those who hold different convictions. Demonstrate tactful conversations.

Training in righteousness: We are responsible to train our children in righteousness. This includes teaching kids to put on the full armor of God (Ephesians 6) and not practice anything God forbids in Deuteronomy 18. If you disallow Harry, explain your desire to stay away from that which is associated with evil. If you allow Harry, use the stories as a springboard into the Bible. Discuss moral choices and characters in a biblical light.

Effectiveness: As of last summer, 1/3 of American households had a child under eighteen who’d already read a Harry Potter book. With the movie out, most of your kids’ friends will know the story. Is it effective to simply condemn it? Since we can’t un-tell the story, ask kids what the story mean to them and listen. Don’t accuse them of being into witchcraft. If their appetite is whetted for “the mysterious” or supernatural power, lovingly point them to the Almighty. Share your concerns that they not try witchcraft in our world and open themselves up to dangerous spiritual powers (that would be like those on Voldemort’s side in Harry’s world).

Relationship to God and culture: We are ONLY to look to God as our source of power. Looking to any other source in our world: whether by spells, incantations, white-magic, etc. is occult and forbidden. When we have a personal relationship with God, we find freedom to engage the culture. Some do this by knowing popular literature, even that which has pagan elements or magic (consider Daniel in the OT and Paul’s trip to Athens in the NT -- see Acts 17).

Here are the God’s guidelines for such cultural and spiritual decisions from Romans 14:

  • Let each one be fully convinced in her own mind.
  • Stop judging each other!
  • Teach kids not to look down on Christians who have a different opinion.
  • If a Christian assaults your position, be willing to discuss but refuse to argue. With differing perspectives and definitions, these quarrels go nowhere and become hurtful.
  • Agree to disagree, knowing that each of us are accountable to the Lord.
  • If you’re free to enjoy it, don’t flaunt your freedom or announce it to those with stricter limitations of conscience. Keep it between you and God.
  • Don’t urge conscientious objectors to “try” Harry Potter. You could lead them to violate their conscience, and sin by doing so.
  • If it’s lawful for you, make it profitable for God’s kingdom.
  • Whether or not you allow Harry Potter, share the gospel as a parallel to Harry’s story. Kids who enjoy Harry, will probably be open to Jesus’ story. Share it with them.

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 
 

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