Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

Questions, Christians, and 50 Shades of Grey

questions by Stuart MilesI’m not going to see 50 Shades of Grey. I think that, if you’ve read my testimony and followed my blog, you know that for me to see that would be incredibly hypocritical. I did not read the books, and I am not following the hype. But I am on social media, and I know people are excited about it—even many Christians. And I don’t understand that. I have been reading comments on social media from Christians who are going to see the movie, and trying to understand their reasons for doing so. In response, bear with me as I ask some questions to get us thinking—and praying.

Some Christians have claimed that it is a redemptive love story—because Christian Grey comes from a very dark past, and eventually, this young lady saves him from that dark past. I understand redemption, because the best redemptive love story can be found in the Bible—and because I have lived through redemption myself. I was very lost in a world of porn and addiction to sexual promiscuity, so I do somewhat understand that about Christian Grey. But my question is this: does a love story of redemption need to include lewd and graphic sexual content to tell the story? In other words, do you need to see a video of my sexual escapades in order for me to tell my story of redemption? Of course not. If I posted a video of myself having sex with someone as part of my story here, Christians would RIGHTLY be enraged. But some of these same Christians will go into a movie theater and watch lewd sexual situations in this movie because “it is part of the characters’ redemptive love story.” Both situations are pornography. One is more acceptable by Christians. My brothers, this should not be so.

The other aspect to the “redemptive love story” claim is the idea of trying to present darkness as light. I have done this a lot in the past to justify my decision to do something I know is not increasing my Christlikeness. But I am reminded of a few things from God’s Word. First, the devil presents lies as truth and darkness as light. In Genesis 3, that is exactly how he deceived Adam and Eve. Even today, he continues as the great deceiver who packages some aspect of the light (it’s a redemptive love story) around darkness (it’s also full of sexual deviance and mistreatment). He is, of course, the father of lies. And the Bible is very clear that Satan and his servants disguise themselves as angels of light and servants of righteousness (2 Corinthians 11:14). So my question is this: have you been fooled into believing that this movie’s darkness is light?

I have also seen many Christians who will see this movie claim, “you can’t judge me,” “don’t judge me,” or “only God can judge me.” Interestingly enough, Matthew 7:1 is American Christianity’s favorite Bible verse to quote. American Christians, in my opinion, don’t believe they should be held accountable for the choices they make. And that is simply not true. To judge is to hand down the verdict as to whether or not you are guilty and I give you a sentence based on your guilt. And it’s true—only God can do that. But when there’s a standard or a law that you obviously don’t live up to, then I can and should point that out and lovingly correct you. Paul even gave us the how-to guide for that in Galatians (6:1, and chapter 2 when he lived it out). In fact, most of Paul’s letters were written to point out blatant sin in the church—but Paul was not God, so should we disregard most of the New Testament? Of course not! As fellow believers, we do indeed have not only the right but the responsibility to lovingly hold each other accountable for our sins, including impurity, lewdness, pornography, and fornication—all things represented in the movie 50 Shades of Grey. And that’s why we need to think before we say, “don’t judge me.” But my question is: would you even need to say “don’t judge me” if you weren’t doing something that you knew was not in line with Scripture?

I can’t tell anyone what choice to make, but I can tell those who claim to be believers what the Bible says. It says to flee sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:18), to think on pure things, to be pure as God is pure. We don’t do these things because we are prudes, we do them because we want to please God with our actions and our thoughts. We do them because our example, Jesus Christ, would. God’s will for every believer is simple: Christlikeness (see Genesis through Revelation). So my question is: how does seeing this movie contribute to your Christlikeness? Because that is the question we should be asking ourselves—not just about this movie, but about everything we say and do.

I pray that Christians will begin to stand up for Jesus Christ and the Holy Word, not Christian Grey and Hollywood.

Read more awesome coverage about reasons to skip 50 Shades of Grey here, here, and here, or check out an awesome book about Christian women and our awesome sexuality “Pulling Back the Shades” by Dannah Gresh here.

How to Thrive Spiritually During the Holidays

Sometimes, I ruin the holidays for myself. I find myself becoming a bit of a Scrooge during this time of year as I focus too much on the rampant commercialism I see represented in our culture. The focus on presents, the lack of routine, and the “me, me, me” attitude make me crazy. And often, when I am being grumpy and doing my best Grinch impression, I find that I get in my own way and destroy the holidays for myself—and sometimes others. Then I realize, it’s not really them—those exhibiting the commercialism, it’s me: it turns out my focus is off.

nativity scene

image courtesy of dan / freeditigalphotos.net

I believe that the reason we celebrate this holiday season—even Thanksgiving—is to honor the greatest gift of all, Jesus Christ. God looked down at us, saw our struggles, and realized that we needed something more than just rules we couldn’t keep and messes we couldn’t straighten. So He sent His only Son as a baby, to grow and become a Savior to us. It is the real meaning of Christmas, and it is the focus I should keep.

Do you struggle with focusing on the true meaning of the season? Here are a few ways you can thrive spiritually during the holidays:

Behold His Glory. In order to celebrate the birth of Jesus, we have to focus on the birth of Jesus! One of the best ways to do this is to plan time in your day to spend time with God and your family being thankful for the true reason for the season. Taking time every day will keep your eyes on the true prize—the coming of a Savior—instead of earthly prizes like gifts. Even though I read devotions every day, I also read a special advent devotional and attend special Christmas worship services. Every day is a new opportunity for us to behold the glory of God—especially during the holidays!

Have Traditions. Keep old traditions that your family already has or start new ones. My family loves spending time driving through the neighborhoods to see tacky Christmas decorations. We always have a blast doing it and the time together laughing makes memories. Maybe your family goes to a Christmas Eve candlelight service. Maybe your family decorates the tree together. Whatever traditions you have and begin, make it a memory that refreshes you and brings joy to those you are with.

Serve Others. To keep the focus solely off of your own wants and desires, plan time—by yourself or with your family—to serve others. A great friend of mine serves the homeless on Christmas morning. At a time when  other families are opening presents, she and her family are in a kitchen serving breakfast to about 100 homeless men in our county. Moving the focus from “me” to “thee” will keep Christ as the center of the holidays. After all, Christ is the ultimate symbol of giving to others—so use your God-given gifts and serve others during the Christmas season (1 Peter 4:10).

Remember, Christmas is about His presence, not our presents! “Joy to the world, the Lord is come, let earth receive her King!” May this holiday season bring you and your family joy as you thrive emotionally, physically, and spiritually!