Last Friday, the highly controversial and much publicized movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, hit theaters and set box office records in 11 countries. Based on a trilogy of books by the same name, the movie features 20 minutes of explicit BDSM (bondage/dominance/sadism/masochism) sex, and at least half a dozen nude scenes between the lead characters, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele. Notably, however, the movie contains less graphic content than what is featured in the books. Over 100 million copies of the novels have been sold, and they have been translated into 52 languages.
The movie has been banned in Malaysia and Kenya, boycotted by domestic violence activists for its glamorization of stalking and abusive behavior*, and criticized by its co-stars. Yet millions of Americans flocked to see the latest bait of Satan over Valentine’s Day weekend, spending an estimated $81.7 million in the first three days. And nearly 70% of the film’s opening weekend audience was female, many of whom profess to be Christian.
But sex, according to its Creator, is a sacred and loving act, to be shared only between a man and his wife in private, not played out on a screen by actors skilled at faking emotion.** And violence against women is not made acceptable just because a woman makes herself available to it.
The Lover of our eternal souls has given us the gift of earthly lovemaking – a bonding of two hearts and two bodies in the covenant of marriage. The man to whom a woman gives herself in matrimony is made responsible for her safety – safety of heart, body, and soul. Husbands are warned to not be harsh with their wives (Colossians 3:19), nor to cover them in violence (Malachi 2:16).
The entire premise and plot of Fifty Shades of Grey is an affront to the love of Christ and His plan and design for us as women. The movie is marketed to women as an erotic romance, but I wonder how many of those female movie-goers found what they were looking for when they purchased the ticket.
In a world plagued by feminism, women are starved for men of strength. But counterfeits just bore the hole in our hearts deeper and Fifty Shades of Grey can never offer a woman what Christ can: Grace. Grace that is free from the hand of a loving God: This is what we long for when Fifty Shades dares to tempt.
But the difference between Christian Grey and Jesus Christ is black and white. There are no shades of gray – only stark and glorious contrasts.
Grey abuses women for his own pleasure. Christ emptied Himself and took the form of a bond-servant (Phil. 2:6).
Grey comes with whips and chains. Christ comes with grace and truth (John 1:17).
Grey is harsh and proud. Christ is gentle and humble (Matt 11:29).
Grey hands a contract and forces a signature. Christ’s nail-scarred hands are the contract and His blood is the signature (Hebrews 9:12).
Grey demeans and dominates. Christ delights and delivers (Romans 7:25).
Grey doesn’t make love. Christ is love (1John 4:8).
Grey brings pain and poison. Christ gives provision and protection (Eph.1:3; John 17:12).
Grey hurts and harms. Christ heals the hurting (Psalm 147:3).
Grey preys on the weak. Christ’s grace is sufficient for our weakness (2 Cor. 12:9).
Grey keeps score. Christ absolves the score against us (Colossians 2:14).
Ladies, if you’re looking for a romantic thrill, put down the novel, and pick up the Bible. If you’re looking to “find yourself”, don’t buy a movie ticket, invest in the upcoming Sisters’ Retreat. And if you’re looking to enrich your relationship with your husband, don’t go see a movie about a twisted affair, go home and take care of your spouse.
Author Kevin DeYoung wrote, “If the church cannot extend grace to sexual sinners, we’ve lost the heart of the gospel. And if we cannot tell people to stay away from 50 Shades of Grey, we’ve lost our minds.”
No one in Christ’s church sits upon a high horse except Christ Himself (Rev. 6:2). And it’s in His just and loving name that we find the motivation and the power to speak out against such things. To believe God can be a friend to sin is to deceive ourselves. Fifty Shades wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last, strategy from the enemy of our souls to cause our eyes and our hearts to wander from the Giver of Grace.
Today, I commit to think only about things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy (Phil. 4:8). Today, I make a covenant with my eyes to not look lustfully at anyone who is not my spouse (Job 31:1). Today, I choose to do the one needful thing: To sit at Jesus’ feet and learn what pleases Him (Luke 10:42). Sister, will you join me?
In His name and for His glory, Jodi Greene
*The National Center on Sexual Exploitation also has a website that details problems with the movie, called #fiftyshadesisabuse.
**To hear Pastor Dave’s sermons regarding The Sanctity of Sex and The Sanctity of Marriage, go to here, to familyworshipcenter.net/message/.