Over the past few days as the country has geared up for the release of the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, I've become increasingly dismayed at the number of Christian women defending the movie and the books. The most common defense is that the Fifty Shades trilogy is a redemption story. Christian Grey is a lost and broken person, and Ana's love helps him heal and become capable of real love.
My first question, dear Christian woman, is how can it be a redemption story when it is built around an extramarital sexual relationship? How do you even begin to rationalize that it's a good story?
Aside from the fact that this sexual relationship is immoral from the beginning, the relationship is also incredibly disordered and abusive.
Psychologists have come out against the books and movie for glamorizing pervasive domestic abuse and identity harming. I'm going to give you the link to a study. But, here's my warning. This contains possible triggers for survivors of abuse. Also, there are sexually-explicit passages from the book in the sexual abuse examples.
It's not any shade of grey. It's all black. Their relationship is dysfunctional from day one.
So here is my next question for you. What if it were your daughter? What if Ana was your daughter and she came to you and told you all about her new relationship? What if she said things like:
He doesn't like my friends and doesn't think I should see them.
I feel threatened by his behavior. Sometimes it seems like he's stalking me.
He gets angry at me and threatens me a lot.
He scares me.
He wants me to do sexual things that scare me.
We have a sexual arrangement. He says he doesn't do love. And, by the way, I'm not supposed to tell anyone about our arrangement.
He's controlling of what I eat and threatens to punish me for being bad, like he's my father or something.
Our first sexual encounter, he gave me lots of alcohol, yelled and cursed at me for not telling him I was a virgin, and then he was really rough with me.
Mom, I'm not really sure about this situation. He's so broken and I just want to love him. I'm sure if I just love him enough I can change him. I should stay with him, right?
How would you answer her? I know what I would say.
NO WAY. Run away. Fast. I will protect you.
That is not what scripture means when it says to love the unbeliever so he will be won over by you.
And I'd tell her this:
Jesus is the way of redemption.
Jesus makes the damaged person whole.
The love of Christ changes people's hearts and teaches them how to love.
Not you surrendering your identity and your body to a man's every whim in the hopes that you will change him.
Unfortunately, in real life these stories rarely end well. And the spiritual truth is that this relationship does not honor Christ in any way. Not. in. any. way. Stop defending it. Stop glamorizing it. Stop rationalizing it. Stop allowing yourself to be deceived.
Stop calling what is evil good.