Fifty Shades of Holy?
Last updated 3/16/2018 at 11:51am
My son, Gardner, is a college student who works at a movie complex. Unfortunately for a bunch of teenagers, last night he was collecting tickets at a section of the theater that was showing a new R-rated movie about sexual abuse and violence, supposedly in the name of romance. When the kids tried to get into the R-rated movie, Gardner sent them to their movie on the opposite side of the complex.
It's sad that teens would try to see a basically pornographic movie teaching that it's okay to physically abuse women. But what distresses me more is that adults flagrantly walk into movies like this.
I am distressed that in a world filled with domestic violence, books and movies like this have such a following that they break financial records. I'm heart-broken that in a world that claims it champions women, such pornography is tolerated not only by men, but also by women. I'm befuddled that in a world where people lose their jobs over inappropriate behavior, the accusers think a movie on sexual abuse is fine.
How many of the adults tolerating this kind of "entertainment" would say they support domestic abuse, adultery, sex trafficking, or pornography? Probably not very many. But in the name of entertainment, they accept it, support it, salivate over it.
I grew up in a church that encouraged members to use scriptural and spiritual discernment when it came to entertainment. Over the years as our Christian society has decried legalism, I think we Christians have too often gone too far and have "thrown out the baby with the bath water."
In our quest to emphasize that a relationship with God does not depend on our following rules, we've put aside some of the guidelines that help us with godly living. We have freedom in Christ, yes, but still using discernment in all areas of life is important-including entertainment.
Some people say, "It's only a movie [or a song or a video game]; I would never actually do something like that."
But if we don't approve of something-like unmarried people sleeping together or cheating on their spouses or people shooting cops or people stealing or emotionally destroying others-then why would we spend time and emotional energy watching stories about people who do what we decry? Why would we enjoy video games where we blow up the "bad guys" (how many school shooters think their classmates are bad guys, after all, who deserve it)? Why would we sing songs about forbidden sex?
We bemoan the state of society "out there" and complain about how immorality has flourished "out there." But we can't successfully work on changing the world "out there" if we're not controlling what's going on "in here," in our own lives.
When we don't practice discernment in areas of life such as entertainment, we don't realize that by visually and emotionally participating in "things we'd never do" we're desensitizing ourselves to immorality. We become used to it and justify it in its clever story lines. And our souls wilt.
Ephesians 5:12 (NIV) points out, "It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret." Does that mean we abstain from all forms of entertainment that don't line up with scripture? That we don't watch that fun romantic comedy because the unmarried man and woman end up sleeping together? That we don't read that suspense novel because real murders happen? That we don't shoot computerized zombies because it desensitizes us to gun violence? That we don't sing about bad situations?
I don't know. I don't know where we draw the lines. But maybe we should be a little more honest and consistent and evaluate our entertainment choices and practices a little more. Maybe we should ask ourselves a few questions, such as:
• What kind of entertainment do my kids see me enjoying? Does it carry a message of morality and living for Christ? Or does it glorify ungodly lifestyles-fighting, cheating, stealing, sex outside of marriage.
• Would I want to see this story line happening to someone I love?
• Does this measure up to the guidelines of Philippians 4:8 or Ephesians 5:1-20 or other scriptures?
• How does this entertainment encourage or discourage my soul? Does it make me more like Jesus? Would I feel comfortable if Jesus were physically here with me?
It's not easy to live moral, pure, Christlike lives not only in our actions but also in other areas of life like this. But the end results are worth it.