I remember a couple of years ago, I knew people who were all about this 50 Shades of Grey book. When I heard what it was about, my flesh wanted to read it, but my spirit cringed. Over the last year, I have joined the online dating community and am surprised by how many women (God-fearing, at least by their description, women) have read this book. Some are ashamed to admit it. Others are bold about it. I am not here to bring judgment on those who have read it, but I am here to bring something to light, whether you have read it or not.
This book has now been made into a movie. From those who have read it to those who have only seen the trailer, it is clear that this book and this movie are publicly sanctioned porn. They tell a story of a world that takes sexual pleasure from physical pain. Without condoning this, I have had people tell me that 50 Shades paints this world in a very inappropriate light. Apparently, Mr. Grey takes things too far and does not follow through with care as people engaged in this would follow through on. But, I leave that only as a disclaimer for those who may want to argue that part of this. Let me say this clearly: I don’t care if you like this world of sexually-charged pain/pleasure as far as this post is concerned. I’m not going to debate the merits or demerits of 50 Shades and this lifestyle choice.
The reasons that started this post are really about the degeneration of relationships in America (perhaps the rest of the world, but I’m not a cultural anthropologist). When I was a kid, if a movie brought a guy and a lady together, it was presumed or implied that their relationship was going to be solid! He was going to take care of her, and she was going to be a blessing to him. Wow! Awesome! Hearts a-flutter!
In the 90s and onward, this degenerated. Some might argue it started in the 80s, and to some degree, I agree with you. However, the mass spiral seems to be in the 90s. In the 90s, we have couples coming together for flings, relationships started to be pictured as transient, for-pleasure-only, and as something that could be used up and tossed out without a second thought. In the midst of that, I think we lost something important.
We have lost, and I think actively buried, real manhood and real womanhood. While I agree men and women are equitable, we are obviously not made the same. Men have testosterone coursing through their veins. Women have estrogen. Both have a little of each, but there are clearly different levels. And those different levels create physical differences, thought-process differences, even emotional differences. But behind all of that, there are spiritual differences.
Oo. I think I just got someone mad. I’m sorry! I’m not trying to offend, but let me play this out a bit and show the truth. However, I will apologize, in advance, for the length!
Men are challenged to be the leaders.
God made Adam first for a reason. Further, at the end of Ephesians 5, Paul challenges husbands to be a reflection of Christ and the church. With these two pieces, I begin to build a thought of men being the leaders of nations, homes, groups, etc. This is not to say that women are incapable of leadership. Not at all!!! Instead, it is to say that when things are properly ordered, men will lead.
To flesh that out further, men will lead by example. But that point is coming.
In 50 Shades, it seems that Mr. Grey is definitely a leader of sorts. After all, he’s running his company, and he leads young Anastasia into his world. But this is falling far short of what we are meant to be as leaders.
Men are meant lead by example, in self-sacrificial love.
We are to put ourselves aside and bless our families. See, here’s where the rubber meets the road! This is where the leadership aspect of manhood becomes the deep challenge! We can’t just force our leadership. We can’t be ravagers or thieves, taking what we please and leaving destruction in our wake. Oh no! Are you kidding me? We should be satisfied with the left-overs because it means our family was fed well. We should be happy to lose sleep so we can seek God and lead our families in His will. We should be blessed to work hard to provide for our families, to give everything we have so that they may live in the Light of the Son of God!
Leadership is not about us. And this is what I think is so damaging about 50 Shades! It shows this man having what he wants and getting his jollies and giving jollies all by force and abuse! Let me make this perfectly clear: THIS IS NOT WHAT A MAN OF GOD DOES!!! THIS IS NOT REAL MANHOOD!!!
Men, we have to guard ourselves against such pornography because it does desensitize us to the pain it inflicts. We see some woman acting like she’s being pleased by such a thing, and it makes us associate pain and pleasure in our brain. I have spoken on pain not being something we should necessarily run from, but by no means should we confuse the fact that pain hurts! It leaves marks on the body and the soul to identify that it hurts. Many of us men take pride in our scars because they show what we have endured! Oh, what men we are! Yet, would you inflict that pain on another? Of course not! We would never want anyone else to have to go through that. We are proud of our scars, but we want no one to ever have to go through the same thing!
Men are to reflect Christ.
This is the part where this post began in me. And this is the part where we hit the bottom of the well. Until now, much of the blogosphere has covered the first few points, at least to some extent, but I feel like this is where harsh reality meets sinful putridity.
Men, we are to reflect Christ in all things. We are to treat our brides the way Christ treats the church (before and after the “I do”s). We are to treat our children the way the Heavenly Father treats us. We are to treat our friends the way Jesus treated His (John 15:15). The list goes on, and all of it is to be led by His loving kindness. Grace is to be our charge, mercy our ever-present company.
50 Shades is anything but a representation of Christ. In fact, I believe it is a fair representation of the Devil himself. Here is one who lords over his domain, takes a virgin (the picture of innocence, symbolically, at least), and not only corrupts her, but proceeds to abuse her for his own pleasures, convincing her that this is pleasurable as well. He dominates her life, governs where she can go, what she can do, and who she can see! Is any of this sounding familiar? This is what the devil does to his prey.
This is no man; this is a coward wrapped in a man’s garments. This is no sheep-dog protecting the flock! This is a full-fledged wolf in a sheep’s overcoat. This is a devil masquerading as a messiah!
And that’s where I begin to absolutely despise for 50 Shades. Yet, at the same time that I despise this movie, I also weep and pray for all those who will still choose to see this pornographic romp, this despicable display of all that is wrong. Too many will go and see this film because it reflects more of the state of their soul than they care to admit. Some will go out of pure curiosity, like the moth to the flame, unwilling or unable to hold back from their curiosity of whether this will satisfy their sensual desires. Further, it reflects how far we have fallen as a society that we would think this is entertainment.
So, let me drop this final thought in your brain…
For anyone who is reading and still goes, I want you to think about these things:
Every time Anastasia gives herself to Christian (huh, I hadn’t said his name until now, but isn’t that interesting!)…every time she gives herself to Christian Grey, realize that Jesus was betrayed for her.
Every time Christian Grey strikes her, I want you to remember that Jesus was beaten for her, beaten so badly that he was barely recognizable.
Every time Christian Grey whips her, I want you to remember that Jesus was whipped 40 times with a flesh-ripping whip for her, leaving his back open like a hunk of ground beef.
And every time she lets even the slightest whimper out, I want you to remember that Jesus hung, after all that, for three hours, his bleeding and raw back rubbing against the wood for every breath, taking the wrath that was yours and mine.
He did it for all the Anastasia’s of this world! All the women who have given away what they could never get back. All the women who sold themselves in person or on video or in pictures because someone told them it’d be good money. All the women who have been in abusive relationships. And, for all the men in these same places. Sadly, the story doesn’t stop at one gender, but it covers both these days.
The God of the Universe, who wrapped Himself in humanity, who humbled Himself like no one in the history of the world ever has or ever will, who died a brutal, demeaning, destructive, excruciatingly painful death, beaten up, whipped as was intended to kill a man, and hung on a cross for 3 hours…for you.
Don’t accept Christian Grey’s worldview. Stand strong in Jesus so that you can help the Christian Greys of this world come to know Jesus. The Devil’s had enough players on his team already!
Vires et Honorem
“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit which are God’s.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20