Before I get into this topic, I am going to admit that I have not read “50 Shades of Gray.” Before you begin to criticize me, please understand that I am not avoiding this because of being on some moral high horse. It’s not because I enjoy looking down on others for temptations that they experience. I am staying away from the book and movie simply because I know it would not be healthy for me and that I would likely end up in a full-on panic attack at the images that the book or movie would conjure for me. All of that said, if you are going to see the movie or have read the book, I AM NOT Judging you. Please understand that before reading any further. I would, however, like to offer a perspective that maybe you haven’t considered.
First of all, I am someone who has experienced abuse in my past and I will tell you right now, there is NOTHING sexy about abuse…nothing at all! Abuse indicates that at least one of the people is seen as being without value…sometimes it’s how the abuser sees the victim, sometimes how the victim sees his/her self, and sometimes it’s how the abuser sees him/her self. Either way, it is the physical manifestation of someone buying into and perpetuating a lie. (Truth: Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (I Corinthians 3:16-17 NKJV))
You may ask “What is the problem with it if they are both consenting adults?” Well, honestly, I am not saying that people shouldn’t have the freedom to choose this…I think the freedom to choose is the beauty of the gospel…but I am saying that we are absolutely affected by the choices we make and there are consequences to those choices whether we want to admit it or not. “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.” (I Corinthians 10:23 NKJV) Just because we are able to do something doesn’t mean that we will benefit from it. It’s not illegal for me to poke out my own eye…just saying…
What if your struggle is that abuse, pornography, prostitution, books about sexual fantasy, etc turn you on? Interesting thing…we had a couple of sex therapists come speak to our marriage class this last Sunday and they made some really interesting points about this: God designed sex to exist in the confines of marriage and marriage was designed to help us better understand our God So, if we follow that line of thinking, when sex becomes a physical act that is not woven together with our emotions and spirits…when it becomes selfish or self-serving…the beauty and joy (ecstasy or high) of it becomes lost. I think that in order to (attempt to) achieve the intended high, the person involved in the impure sex act has to do more…go farther…be more dangerous…further distort the intention of sex…it’s just like any other addiction in that the high will never be as strong as it once was yet the “need” will continue to grow and consume. (There is actually a ton of scientific data to support all of this.) My point is, this should be viewed as any addiction would be viewed…the addict needs help…handling this alone is a sure-fire way to continue in the addiction.
Finally, I understand that the main character’s (Grey’s) background is riddled with abuse and mistreatment and that he becomes the one with power and he mis-uses it as well. Let me be clear that this situation is not romantic…do not turn this into a story that it is not…this is the very definition of transgenerational trauma: a person is deeply traumatized and over time, it changes that person’s brain chemistry in such a way that their reality is not the same as everyone else’s reality…this is a self-protection feature of the brain that prevents the person from going fully insane…the brain is trying to make sense of what the person has endured. With this new altered view of reality, the person perpetuates the violence on others. (For example, in Indonesia, war-time prisoners were severely and repeatedly abused for long periods of time in sickeningly horrific ways. After the war ended, many of those survivors went on to create brothels where women and children have been trafficked and…are you ready for this? The abuse distinctly mimics the abuse that the war survivors endured. In fact, the rooms tend to be the exact same dimensions as the cells that the prisoners were in.) Because the brain has adapted to make the initial victim ok with what has happened to them, they go on to also believe it is ok to perpetuate the violence on others because it has become normalized to them. That is not a pattern of love…it is a pattern of violence. It is not romantic…it is abusive. I’m not saying the the abuser is evil, but what they are doing and what has been done to them is evil. God created all life and holds it as sacred and good…humans especially received special care by our God because we are his creation that is made in the image of God. So, please do not romanticize a pattern of violence that assaults those that God sees as sacred.
I know this musing was heavy. I apologize for that. But I have been trying to process these thoughts for two weeks now and finally got them all together. I really feel like we are facing a decision to either champion those who are voiceless or continue to numb ourselves and society against the very real pain and abuse that we are confronted with.
My prayer today is that our hearts would be softened to the victims of any type of abuse. That we would strive to make the world safer instead of numbing ourselves to the existing violence. I am praying for any of you who have found yourself victimized at any point in your life. I am praying that God would redeem the pain in you and make you strong enough to begin to break these patterns…that you would become a champion for others and help them see truth. Much love friends,