In the past few weeks I have been inundated with questions about the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Some have wanted me to just justify their position, while others just want to bait me into a debate. (Side note: I don’t go to every argument you invite me to.) At first I thought it was just going to be another “The DaVinci Code” type of movie moment. Remember that movie? It was the one that was going to END CHRISTIANITY! That movie didn’t leave a dent in Christianity, but this movie is different. Is it going to leave a dent in Christianity? Nope. However, it will leave a dent in something that is paramount to Christianity: relationships.
As a counselor, I see relationships fall apart all the time. Seriously, all the time. I can’t list the number of reasons I have heard, but generally it comes down to one of the two hearts has become cloudy, tainted, empty, or filled with sin. No relationship has fallen apart because the hearts have become healthier. So, as a counselor I always advise couples to do things that improve their heart “condition” and run from things that could potentially damage the heart. So sorry, there is no way anyone can convince me that seeing this movie is going to improve the heart. It will damage the heart, and while you might not realize it at first, it will eventually rise to the surface.
As a pastor, I see people do all kinds of things. Some great things, and some that aren’t so great. Is seeing this movie going to send you to hell? Not directly, but it definitely isn’t going to do one thing towards getting you to heaven or even a better relationship with Christ. Am I going to kick people out of church for seeing it? NEVER. (That type of legalism is just as sinful.) Let’s be clear so there is no confusion: lust is sinful EVEN IF your wife or husband says you can see it. Now I have read people say, “If you don’t want to watch it then don’t. If you speak out against it, then the lost or unchurched will feel judged and never come to church. You will only push them away.” I totally disagree. Pastoring a church like BPC has given me all kinds of insight on what the unchurched is looking for. A consistent truth is what they want, even if they disagree with my definition of sin. Yep, I just used the dreaded word sin, so I can hear the pushback coming, “Ben, you are judging me and only God can judge!” Well, I agree that God is judging, and would ask, “What do you think He’s saying or thinking?” Are you going to try to convince me that He is perfectly ok with you watching a movie that glorifies the degrading behavior, sexual torture, and yes SIN? If you truly believe that, you are mistaken who a Holy God is. If Jesus was still walking around earth, would you invite Him to go see it with you?
Finally, as a parent, this stuff scares me. I have two daughters and a son and have a few things to say to them so here goes:
I know you are only seven now, but will one day grow up to be a man. And if God blesses you with a wife, I want you to love her in a way that blows her mind. I want you to recognize that she is first a child of God, and the one God has given you to protect, love, honor, and encourage. Beating her, physically torturing her, sexually degrading her is something that God never wants, nor will I tolerate, even if she says it’s ok. So treat her with the utmost respect, because if she ever calls me and tells me you aren’t…I’m coming over and will go 50 Shades of Old Testament on you to defend her. I love you buddy.
Dear Mackenzie and Cadence,
You are my girls. God gave you to me and it’s an honor I take very serious. More than you will ever know. One day you will grow up, and if God blesses you in that way, will get married. I want you to know that physically abusive relationships are not acceptable, no matter what culture says. Movies are just movies. Don’t buy into this garbage of a movie and thinks it’s romantic or good for you. It’s not. You can not change him. It’s not the last time. It’s not because you provoked him. It’s sinful and you should get out. If he is abusive, degrading, or not treating you like the angel you are, call me. He will quickly understand Godly anger, and a Dad’s protective nature. I love you girls.
“Wow Ben, you are being a little tough. I thought you said God would accept anyone?” That is completely accurate. I am being tough because I want this best for your life, and I am afraid of the damage something like this could cause. I love you too much not to say something. God always accepts a person, but will never “wink” at sin or just look the other way. He will look down from heaven brokenhearted. He loves you too much not to say something, which He already has.
Well, I am sure I have offended plenty, and encouraged even more. Fell free to call me, text me, email me, or leave a comment below to engage the conversation.
Find life…live grace…become hope.