Erotica, pornography, a box office sensation — among the many things that Fifty Shades can be called, it is — first and foremost — a story. Like all narratives, it communicates supposed truths — truths about reality. However, in the case of this popular narrative, the statements are glaring and dangerous falsehoods. And the very fact that we as humans find them alluring demonstrates truth found in Scripture about our own dark side. When we realize all of that, we can actually look past the gray, distorted images of reality into the redeeming light of the Gospel and the limitless grace of God.
Marshall Segal details several deceptions in the storyline of Fifty Shades — falsehoods about true love and satisfaction, sin and its consequences, the depths of our own depravity and God’s grace. We looked at some of those in Part 1. But now we’re going to look specifically at the deceptions relating to our own depravity and God’s grace through a beautiful thing called marriage.
In their book Pulling Back the Shades, Dannah Gresh and Julie Slattery uncover the core reason that women of all ages are drawn to such erotica: It “strategically and masterfully pulls you in by exploiting what your heart secretly longs for.” What secret longings are fairly universal? Here are the five they site:
1. Women long to escape reality.
2. Women long to be cherished.
3. Women long to be protected by a strong man.
4. Women long to rescue a man.
5. Women long to feel sexually alive.
Are those longings inherently evil? No. They can be when we exalt them over our desire to glorify God (Romans 3:23). At the same time, God allows for most of them to be fulfilled through marriage (Hebrews 13:4). Like all pornography and erotica, Fifty Shades communicates that sexual fulfillment is touted as attainable outside of marriage, as if it’s okay. It’s not. Detaching our God-given sexual desires from the means by which He ordained they be fulfilled does more than displease Him: It robs us of Gospel grace.
In his book The Meaning of Marriage, pastor and author Timothy Keller proposes that “The reason that marriage is so painful and yet wonderful is because it is a reflection of the Gospel, which is painful and wonderful at once. The Gospel is — we are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared to believe, and at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope. This is the only kind of relationship that will really transform us.”
And that transformation is exactly what your teen needs. Neither pornography nor erotica can ever do that. Neither can sexual activity, even within marriage. While they seem to fulfill the longings of our hearts, they will always fall short, always leave us wanting more. The full satisfaction our hearts crave, can be found in the arms of a loving God Who loves us more than we can imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
Image credits: Top © Monkey Business/Fotolia