Regardless that Fifty Shades of Grey has become a best seller, I believe as a Christian that I must take a firm stand on my own beliefs. The bottom line is that when you clearly examine the behaviors of the main character's it is abusive, offensive, wicked, and not the kind of love or relationship that promotes healthy boundaries.
Let's get for real over here. There is nothing acceptable about a man who physically, emotionally, and sexually mistreats a woman. Not in this book. Not in this upcoming movie. Not in real life.
As an avid book lover and inspirational author, I'm a huge fan of reading romance. Ever since I was a young girl, I've been a sucker for love stories. You know how it goes...boy meets girl, sparks fly, they fall in love, and they live happily ever after. There's nothing better than a fantastic fairy tale romance! It's my favorite genre, along with a good comedy or drama.
When Fifty Shades of Grey was released and females of all ages were talking about it, I admit that it intrigued me. But God convicted me years ago about the types of books that I was reading. Suddenly those steamy passionate scenes were causing me to question my own conscious. Of course, it could start out innocent with mild romance novels, but usually it can snowball into justifying full-blown sex and erotica. Call it what you want, but the truth is that these books are pornography.
I can only imagine right now how many are harshly judging me. Perhaps, if you have read this novel, you may believe it's perfectly fine. Maybe you think it's enhanced your own sex life? Rather than examine your own heart and soul, it's far easier to consider me a prude, frigid, or a Jesus freak.
However, I have a hunch as you learn my own personal story, you may find yourself relating to me a whole lot more than you expected. For those who don't know me, I spent 30+ years in a secular lifestyle. I did not attend church or practice a religion.
Raised in a single parent home, my birth father rarely communicated or visited me and my sisters. He lived out of state, quickly remarried, and I felt as if he were a stranger. It broke my heart to a zillion pieces! I have forever wrestled with negative emotions pertaining to not having a "real" loving dad as a part of my life.
Following the painful divorce, my mom entered the workforce in effort to earn a meager income to raise five little girls under the age of nine. Not exactly a piece of cake when she had no college education or formal training. When she sought comfort through her Catholic church, the priest ruthlessly said she was no longer welcomed in the parish. In condemnation he said, "You will burn in hell!"
At an extremely heart-wrenching time in her life, she was an outcast. Divorce was rare and unlike it is today. People who she thought were her friends had turned their backs on her. Being a single mom working as a waitress and barely making ends meet was a heavy burden to carry. Looking back, it's no surprise that she started dating and drinking to maintain some form of sanity.
In my teens, I became quite rebellious and made poor choices, which always led to trouble. Without the love, attention, and acceptance from my father, I looked for it in all of the wrong places. Early on, I got caught up in drinking, drugs, and promiscuity. One thing led to another and when I was 15 years old I ended up at a party one night in which I discovered that I was the only female there. Apparently, "I" was the party and became another statistic of rape.
Rather than confront the violent crime, it was too traumatic to emotionally face. I spent the next 10 years running from the lies that the enemy used to torment me. "The rape was your fault. You are not worthy and you deserve to be punished!"
My turning point happened after I was married to my high school sweetheart at the age of 25. Six years later, I found myself hitting rock bottom because the man I loved dearly was addicted to drugs, alcohol, and gambling. My older sister had invited me numerous times to her quaint church and I eventually accepted her invitation. I figured that my life was in complete shambles so what did I have to lose? When you are this low the only way to go is up.
On a cold winter morning, I sat on a wooden pew in awe as I listened to the young pastor speak. His message sounded like my life story. A messed up life filled with loss, disappointment, and pain. It was as if the pastor knew me and walked the same path along with me. The tears streamed down my face as I asked Jesus to come into my heart for the very first time. Even if I didn't quite understand what it meant to accept Christ as my Savior, I knew what He did in my sister's life and how she was filled with peace. I desperately wanted that peace and acceptance from my heavenly Father.
In reality, on December 13, 1992, my life radically changed for the better. I no longer needed to live in shame, guilt, or despair. You see, when I gave my life to God, He took my dirty past and cleaned it as white as snow. He gave me a second chance and revealed that I was forgiven. His grace covered the dark places I allowed the enemy to take a hold of my life, including sexual sin and immorality.
Early on in my walk with God, He showed me area's within my life that needed to be eliminated. It was a painful pruning process that actually felt like I was walking on hot coals. While it may have been uncomfortable to weed out specific things in my life, I trusted it would help me to become the woman God called me to be. It required examining dark places that still existed within myself, including the movies, books, music, and entertainment that didn't line up with biblical principles.
While many Christians can fool themselves by saying it doesn't matter what you read or how you spend your time entertaining yourself, I disagree. Don't take my word for it. Open up your Bible to Romans 12:2 (ESV), which says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect."
No matter how we live our lives, including behind closed doors, we need to contemplate if it lines up with the truth or if we have fallen into the lies of the enemy who is out to deceive, destroy, and kill. The Bible makes it clear that heaven and hell is real. Satan wants nothing more than to prevent us from living in freedom with Christ. "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10 NIV)
Just because I am a woman of faith does not mean that I don't ever have temptations or make mistakes. We are all humans who are imperfect people living in an imperfect world that continually bombards us with lust, the love of money, and selfish desires. As for myself, I made the choice to avoid entertainment that may allow the enemy to lure me into his web of lies and deception.
There is no justification. We can try to justify every move we make, but at the end of the day, we have to be able to sleep with a sound mind and a pure conscious. Otherwise we are engulfed with guilt, shame, fear, idolatry, and every form of sin. Our nation has turned what is wrong and evil into what is right and tolerable. We have allowed ourselves to become desensitized to sin.
That is not how I want to live. In reality, I chose to not live in bondage because Christ has provided me freedom. The road to freedom is available for you, too. First, it begins with closely examining yourself, digging deep into your hidden motives, confessing the truth, repenting from sins, and actively surrendering your life to Jesus Christ. As you turn away from sin, you can trust the Lord stands with outstretched arms ready to offer you second chances with a clean slate.
Whether you have never known God or you have fallen away, it's never too late to get right with Him. You do not need to have it altogether or be perfect before you do so. If you are ready today to ask God for forgiveness and allow Him into your heart, here's the first step.
Prayer of Salvation: Dear God, I have tried to do things my own way and haven't always trusted in You. I need You in my life and I'm asking you to come into my heart. I believe Jesus came to earth to die for my sins, that He was buried, and He rose to life on the third day. Please help me to examine myself today. Have mercy on me as I confess my sins to You and help me to repent. Thank You for Your salvation and forgiveness. Amen.
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." 1st John 1:9 (ESV)
If you have said this prayer today, I would be honored to have you fill out the contact information and share how I may pray for you.