How we blow things out of all proportion, until a simple truth is no longer recognizable.
Isn’t that a great sentence? I ran across it today in – of all places – a murder mystery.♦ I think it is the perfect summary of the sensational press for books and movies such as “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Just take a look at movie titles and so many of them scream of seduction, infidelity, sexual crimes, violence, witchcraft, and making normal things abnormal. TV shows make comedy out of sexual innuendos, affairs, teenage escapades, and activities which most of the general public still considers to be inappropriate. And, yet, they also find them funny. Go figure.
Going beyond the comedy are very graphic depictions of murder, kidnapping, violent crimes, crimes against children, and pornography of all levels. The Greeks had a word for this: porneia – the selling off or surrendering of sexual purity; promiscuity of any type. Sound familiar? And, that word is in the Bible!
So, what about Fifty Shades?
“To truly understand the success of Fifty Shades, one first has to revisit the book’s roots. Despite a determined campaign of internet scrubbing by author E.L. James and her publishers, it’s still relatively common knowledge that Fifty Shades began its life as an online Twilight fan fiction serial called Master of the Universe.”♦♦
Author Kirsten Andersen summarizes the Twilight plot, and says Fifty Shades is simply the same teen story told for adults. Both tell the stories of shy, innocent girls/women who are attracted to very attractive and magnetic boys/men who have an innate desire to hurt them. The women agree to things they would not ordinarily agree to because of the intense attraction and the intense high from having a popular, incredibly powerful man seemingly interested in them. That someone finds them that attractive, is enough to erase their inhibitions about intimate moral activity.
Let’s face it. Heightened appetite for anything can overrule our best intentions.
Paul addressed a Greek audience in I Thessalonians 4:3-5 when he said, “God’s will is for you to be holy, so stay away from all sexual sin. Then each of you will control his own body and live in holiness and honor–not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and his ways.” (NLT) Now, the pagans he was talking about were those living in a Twilight and Fifty Shades mentality. They were coming out of a culture which made sexual activity common place even in their religious temples. Their appetites had been groomed to accept overindulgence as the norm.
Once you acquire a taste for something, it’s hard to stay away from it.
God knows the strength of our passionate feelings. He created them – and they are good. Our tendency is to single out sexual intimacy as our entitled right, and that is so much less than God wants for us. Just look at the list of Spiritual Fruit in Galatians 5:22-23: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. And, there are no lows against any of these! Imagine our lives if we took full advantage of all these things which are part of our inheritance in Jesus Christ!
Is it possible to learn self-control of body appetites? Absolutely!
Is it easy? Nooooooooooooooooooooo!
The pattern has been set. The enemy of our souls has taken a God-given desire and turned it into an addictive frenzy which will not subside any time soon. I’ve discovered the truth of Psalm 119:11 which is a life-long pursuit – that of hiding God’s word in the heart to keep sin at bay. Now, understand that I am certainly no Pollyanna. Just ask my friends. This verse brings responsibility into focus. And that is not easy!
I wrote to a very good friend recently, “Sometimes I feel like I’m in the deep end of the swimming pool because my experience is far below my knowledge – – – thankfully so!” He wrote back, “Our culture has gone off the cliff, especially in our handling of our sexuality. When you think of sexual desire simply as another bodily function like eating, why not indulge with whomever you want? It is and will be a lonely walk for those living under clear biblical teaching.”
How true, how true. So, fellow onesomes, stand firm!
- ♦ The Brutal Telling, Louise Penny, Minotaur Books 2009, page 179
- ♦♦ Just search for “why is 50 shades of grey so popular” for interesting insight to some of what guides our culture.