The second installment of the Fifty Shades trilogy just hit the big screen. We’ve had this conversation before - first about the book and then about the original movie. We’ve sounded the alarm about the dangers of pornography and other forms of counterfeit intimacy. (You can read a blog about Meeting Mr. Grey, listen to a podcast about the books, or read a blog on sexual junk food.)
There are plenty of bad things to say about the release of Fifty Shades Darker but, to be honest, I don’t have the stomach for it. Do you? My social media feed is filled with negativity, harsh words and bad news. Is yours? The last thing I want to do right now is flood the Authentic Intimacy community with yet another thing to be worried and argumentative about. So, I’ve been asking the Lord, “How can we talk about this movie in a positive light? Is there any good news?”
God has been reminding me of the Great Commission. These are the words Jesus said to His disciples right before He ascended into heaven, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).
When I think of this passage in light of our current cultural debates, I see three pieces of good news that I want to share with you.
The first piece of good news is something that we may overlook. We know God has authority in heaven, but sometimes we forget that He has ALL authority here on earth as well. I have needed to remember this truth in recent days. It brings me back to trusting God...To trusting that God is sovereign in the politics of our country and even in the sexual brokenness that is now celebrated in our world. None of it surprises Him or overwhelms Him.
How does this relate to Fifty Shades Darker? Sometimes it feels as if “darkness” is winning. My heart is burdened because I see before my eyes a culture that actively rejects God and a Christian culture that marginalizes His authority. But the good news is that nothing in heaven or on earth will ever dethrone Jesus as the King of Kings, the Lord of Lords.
It’s not my job to fix the world or even to fix one person. It’s my job to surrender my life to the love and to the work of our awesome God. It’s my job to be sure that I am His disciple and that my life is about sharing the Good news of Jesus. Every day and piece of bad news provides the chance to show God’s love. Jesus is King, sovereign with all authority both in heaven and here on earth.
The Fifty Shades of Grey is the fastest selling book in the history of publishing. In 2014, it reached the top ten selling books of ALL TIME. We have to take a step back and ask why? What is the draw? While there are many answers to this question, I believe a key component is that women are lonely, bored with life, disappointed by love and eager to experience romantic and sexual thrills. In other words, women are thirsty.
We all have a relational and spiritual thirst that lurks beneath our busyness and productivity. I believe 50 Shades taps into that thirst, but offers salt water instead of refreshment. The women we interact with don’t ultimately need to hear why 50 Shades Darker is dangerous. They need to know they are not alone and that there is a Jesus who offers living water. This is essentially what Jesus told us to do. Go out and make disciples.
This movie provides yet another opportunity for you to engage with women on a sensitive and personal topic that just might lead to God. Think of how Jesus offered the woman at the well (John 4) living water by talking about her sex life and her loneliness. If God gives you the chance to talk to someone about 50 Shades, remember that the ultimate goal isn’t to convince them that the movie is bad, but that God is good.
Oh, to know that Jesus is with me every minute. I know that in my head, but I live the majority of my day without remembering this promise. Christ is with me when I don’t know what to say to a struggling friend. He’s with me when people disagree with me. He’s with me giving me wisdom to speak His truth and demonstrate His love. He’s there when my heart aches at the pain and confusion around me. And He is with me when my own heart feels thirsty and unsatisfied. If I truly embraced this promise, how would it change me today?
If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, do you know that He is always with you? Do you depend upon Him as your Counselor, your Comforter, and your Wisdom? Do you know that you don’t have to do marriage, singleness, ministry or parenthood alone?
My friend, there is so much bad news that’s it easy to lose heart or simply to stop pursuing God’s truth. The gale-force winds of our culture are relentless and convincing. If you feel confused, discouraged, or weary, let the good news of Jesus’ words fill you heart with hope.
Over the next few weeks, the ministry of Authentic Intimacy will be addressing Fifty Shades Darker. We have recorded two podcasts on the topic, will have a live webinar, a few speaking events and our book Pulling Back the Shades. Our desire and goal is to declare the Good news in the midst of the conversation. Will you join us?
Register for our webinar with Dr. Juli Slattery & Hannah Nitz talking more about the good news.
Enter to win a copy of Pulling Back the Shades- we are giving away 50 copies this week!