So, a hotel in England has removed the Bibles from the night tables and replaced them with copies of Fifty Shades of Grey–what can one say about that? The book and the movie address not romance, not love, not gentle courtship, not sex as the beautiful gift God intended, but something ugly and something evil. My advice? Don't read the book, and don't go see the movie.
The story is about one man's love affair with himself and his abuse of a woman for his own sexual pleasure. It may be couched in terms of "he needs this," "he is struggling with his own abusive past," but, in fact, no woman should ever have to handle this kind of treatment or be forced to rationalize why she is treated this way.
Parents, we need to teach our girls not to let boys persuade them that they "need" this or that for their fulfillment. Sex is never about one partner's needs or experiences. We should teach them to be aware of how a boy treats them before marriage. Is he possessive or easily made jealous? Does he say he can't share her with others or even with a baby? Is he preoccupied with his own needs? Has he attempted to manipulate her emotionally or created an unhealthy emotional codependency where she becomes lost in his needs? Has he spoken to her in an aggressive way or disrespected her? Then, early on, that relationship needs to end. Girls need to know that when the guy is going out with them, or is engaged to them, that is the best behaved he will ever be. We should teach our girls not to take up the role of redemptrix. They may persuade themselves that he needs them, that they can "fix" him, but marriage is not a therapy session; it is a covenant commitment for life, and anyway, Jesus is the only Redeemer they need.
We should teach our boys how to respond to all women–with respect. God intended boys to protect girls from all harm, even the harm the boys themselves could inflict. When men are married, their preoccupation should be the pleasure and care of their spouse and not primarily their own interests. When the Bible tells women to submit to their own husbands, it is not saying wives should let their husbands treat them however they please. Women are not required to sit quietly while they are verbally abused or stay around while they are physically assaulted. Ephesians tells us that submission is to be given to a lover, not a bully, a tyrant, or an abuser. And what does it mean to be a lover of a woman? It is to sacrifice for her; to give up your life for her; to make it your life's ambition to nourish and cherish her and make her needs a priority above your own.
Fifty Shades of Grey has a false view of love–self love; and it has a false view of salvation. A man can never be saved by the redemptive sufferings inflicted on and endured by his wife. The reality is that she will be damaged or destroyed.
There is one Savior alone, the one who was destroyed and raised back to life and who lives to receive broken people and put them back together again.
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Please include the following statement on any distributed copy: By Liam Goligher. © 2020 Tenth Presbyterian Church. Website: tenth.org