50 Shades of Grey: What You Need To Know

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By Rachel Reed, MBC Arlington Director of Women’s Ministries

When I began this post, my intention was to write every reason I believe women in our church should not see the upcoming film “50 Shades of Grey”. It was out of my fear that many women within our church would, under the banner of entertainment, decide God’s Word was irrelevant when they lined up to see this movie. However, there are many great articles like “Fifty Shades, Twilight and Teaching Young Women to Desire Abusers” that speak to my point.

I would rather use this space to help equip you with tools in which you can filter any piece of entertainment you may be considering.

“O be careful little eyes what you see, O be careful little eyes what you see,
there’s a Father up above and He’s looking down in love.
So, be careful little eyes what you see.”

Most of us are familiar with this little nursery rhyme. Many of you may have rocked your little one to sleep whispering this tune, praying it takes root in their young heart. But how true it is, “O be careful little eyes what you see!” Why is it important for us to guard what our eyes see? What we view and hear is a window into our mind. What enters our mind will soon make its way into our hearts.

Paul addresses this in Philippians 4:8 saying, “Finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.”

I don’t know about you, but this passage convicts me.My natural instinct opposes dwelling on true, lovely and excellent things. At the slightest moment of apathy, it is much more natural for my mind to dwell on comparison, envy and fantasy. Which leads me to wonder, if I am in a lifelong pursuit to see my mind transformed to be more like the God I serve, why would I feed myself with anything antagonistic to this pursuit of godliness?

What I feast my eyes upon will inevitably shape my thoughts.
What I feast my eyes upon will inevitably shape my thoughts. Am I viewing what is true? What is honorable and right?

Whether you believe it or not, entertainment teaches you how to think, feel and act. I know the temptation could be to feel you can’t watch anything these days if we filter it through Philippians 4:8. However, engaging in the dialogue our culture is having with us through entertainment can be beneficial if we know how to filter it through a biblical worldview. Rather than simply watching a movie to get lost in its fantasy, ask yourself what it is teaching you about life, love and expectations. Then ask yourself what God has to say about those things. Through this engagement, you may even learn more of what God has to say and His heart to protect you.

While we have the Christian liberty to watch or read anything at our disposal, not all accessible entertainment is for our benefit. So, how do we discern what to allow in our minds through entertainment while still enjoying a good film or book? Here are a few questions that will aid in discerning what we should allow in our minds:

Why am I watching this movie or choosing this book?
Am I looking to live vicariously through this story in an attempt to escape reality? If so, this should be a warning sign. The subtle tide of discontentment will begin to wash over you as you long all the more for this story to be your reality.

Will this experience cause people to think I advocate the behavior I am seeing, even if I don’t?
1 John 2:5-6 teaches us, “…By this we know we are in Him: The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.” As disciples of Jesus, we are called to walk in such a manner that as people imitate our lives, they will ultimately become more like Christ. The phrase, “do as I say, not as I do” should not be the mantra of a disciple’s life.

Would seeing this film compromise my evangelistic platform with non-believers?
Our final commandment from Jesus in Matthew 28:19 is to “go into all the world and make disciples of all nations…” This knowledge should shape how we live our lives. Our decisions should be filtered through the lens of sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Ultimately, God’s desire is that I become more like Him, and my mission on earth is to bring people to Him. That is not a grey area. Let’s not try to resurrect everything we died to and were buried with Christ in by aiding our flesh under the justification of “entertainment”. A $12 movie ticket is not worth falling back into pornography, lust, materialism or any other fleshly struggle you’ve once known victory in. It is not worth the battle your mind will face. It is not worth the missed opportunity to share the Good News of Jesus Christ! The costly and precious blood of Jesus that redeemed me from a life of enslavement to sin is worth far more than any piece of earthly entertainment I could ever find.

19 Responses to 50 Shades of Grey: What You Need To Know

  1. Very well spoken. I’m a believer, a friend told me about the book and how “awesome” it was, I promptly told her there was no way I would ever subject my mind to a book like that. She cracked up laughing because it was funny the way I responded However, I was serious and she knew it. I didn’t condemn her for reading it but let her know it was not for me. I have no plans to see the movie either.

    • The term christian has become a blanket label for people who go to church and may or may not be walking with Christ. People walking with Christ, I refer to as Believers. As she stated, a Christian has the freedom to see the movie, but a Believer in the Lord Jesus who is walking with Him would not even think about seeing the movie.

    • Thanks for your comment. We hope that you will seek the Lord as you answer the three questions Rachel posed in this article to help you decide.

    • For me, this article answers exactly that question. As I reflect on the questions in the article, it’s clear to me that, not only is subject matter contained in the book and the movie inappropriate for my life, but so is a lot of what I see and read. I actually have some housekeeping to do, in terms of what’s going into my eyes and ears.

  2. It’s real easy to throw out bible quotes, but not one person has bothered to even read, muchless understand what the book is about. Point number one: This subject matter is between two, consenting adults. Point number two: The young lady is NOT being “abused ” which is not determind since they BOTH agree. Abuse involves one of the individulas who does NOT agree. They sign a mutual contract agreeing to what they do. Point number three: Who determines what is degrading or unnatural? Where in the bible does it say what are acceptable sexual positions or practices? Does not Ephesians 5:22-24 say, “Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands?” We must be careful what we cherry pick from the bible, for in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 it says, “The woman should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says. If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church.” Who among us live this way today? If you are truly afraid that watching this movie is going to shape your thoughts and influence you, then I’m seriously concerned about the strength of your minds. Do you shield your eyes from the evening news? Do you look away from today’s fashions and beach attire? Folks, its a movie. Its entertainment. Having read the book and planning on watching the movie does not interfer with my love of Christ nor alter my believe that he is our Savior.

    • There are grey areas (no pun intended) as far as choices we can make (coughleggingscough) but this is pretty clear cut. It’s a borderline-porno in which a woman gets abused with her own consent by a guy she barely knows. Regardless of your thoughts onBDSM as a practice, why would you go pay money to watch it for entertainment when you bear the name of Christ and have given your life to Him?

    • If there is nudity in it then draw the line. We will have to give an account for watching nudity. Jesus said its better to gouge out your eye and enter heaven without it than to be thrown into hell with both eyes in tact. That means you can go to hell for watching porn. Porn feeds on porn and there is no end to it. As a Christian you have to lie to yourself and contradict the conviction of the Holy Spirit to allow yourself to watch this movie. Why would you want to do that?

      • WOOHOO! Guard yourself best you can! However, I encourage a prayer of thanks to God for guarding and protecting you from what you cannot resist. Not to mention, when you lay your head down at night… whenever you pray… you don’t need anything to encourage the thoughts that you prefer to suppress, but rather to relax and give praise to God.

      • “You can go to hell for watching porn.” Oh, please. Over 90% of men have looked at porn, and over 40% of evangelical pastors admit to having a porn addiction. Women looking at porn is the fasting growing segment of the “audience” today. I don’t know which God you worship, but the One I do forgives repentant sinners, wipes the slate clean, and allows them a fresh start. By all means, please point me in the direction of the God you worship so I can avoid Him like the plague.

    • Friend, you’re taking 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 totally out of context. Read a little. Go back a few chapters and you’ll see Paul has just instructed married women on how they may respectfully pray and prophesy in church. You may also notice he’s discussing orderly worship in that chapter, and since the Greek word for “talk” and “speak” are the same and he also says “if they have questions let them ask their husbands at home” in the very next verse, most people would argue he’s probably addressing a few select women who are interrupting church services, not saying “women are never allowed to talk in church ever”. This is clearly not a blanket statement about all women keeping their mouths shut in church all the time. So, really, we all live that way – we try to have orderly respectful worship services and not stand up and interrupt the preacher. This has nothing to do with Fifty Shades. I just wanted to clarify because people really don’t seem to understand that verse, and it bothers me.

      • Very well stated, Amy. ~ I learn a lot from these threads. And truth be told I’m sure others do, as well. Let’s continue to discuss with gentleness. But also in openness to learn what we may not have quite clear. ~ Regarding the porn, of course the Lord is grieved when his children invest time doing so, but to say that watching porn causes you to go to hell tacitly suggests that not watching it will ensure eternal life. We receive eternal lives by confessing/admitting that we have sinned against God, by repenting of those sins (i.e. turning away from – i.e. changing course), by recognizing that we have no way of paying the penalty, and finally by trusting in Christ alone for the forgiveness of our sins and asking Him to take up residence in out hearts to be the Lord of our lives. In doing so, and in recognition of the enormity of that which we have been forgiven, and the infinite glory that Jesus invites us to partake in with Him – how can anyone not desire to live lives that gradually move us closer to being like Jesus. We’ll never ever “get there” fully this side of the Kingdom. But our gratitude moves us to reach for Him and His ways. Not because the “doing” so saves us. Our trusting Jesus and His shed blood on the cross as payment for our sins did that. But it is fruit borne from being His children. His already saved children. Not watching porn or other stuff becomes an act of love for our God of Grace. Not a bothersome rule met by some carefully calculated “just good enough” measure that we take.

    • Colossians 3:2. Set your mind on things above… It’s not about being strong or weak, it’s about what you’re choosing to identify with. Unless you are walking in complete union with Christ something like 50 shades is going to provide a crack in your armor for Satan to exploit. We are called to walk in this world, but not to be of it. I won’t say that there is no circumstance in which God would want someone to watch that movie or read the book, but if you’re doing it simply for entertainment purposes I think searching your heart is in order.

      Christ in us, the Hope of Glory! He is everything. When we let something else come in to attempt to fill the void that only His Pleasures can we defeat ourselves! What Rachel is advocating is not an attempt to deprive you, but to help people discern where our real pleasures and hope lies… In the person of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit.

  3. Thank you for pointing us to what God’s Word so clearly says regarding how we are to respond to the book/movie ’50 Shades of Grey’…don’t read it/ don’t see it!!

  4. I agree, very well said!! My co-worker said how great the book was and that I should read it. When I asked what it was about, I promptly said it was not for me. However, many years years ago when I didn’t have a close relationship with Jesus as I do now, I probably would have read the book and saw the movie. I’d much rather watch old back and white movies. Back then, movies had real stories and everyone kept their clothes on :-)

  5. If am sharing this on my facebook page, Rachel. This is what women need to hear, sadly, as many professed Christians do not think what they read or see can hurt them and the ones they love.

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