50 Shades of Bondage in Brokenness- An Unpopular Perspective







I can always tell what is happening in our current culture through my Facebook feed. Our family chooses to not watch cable or satellite television so I am typically a bit late in finding out what is happening in Hollywood or our current entertainment culture. Apparently the movie, Fifty Shades of Grey, is out in theaters and everyone that blogs or has something to say about it is coming out of the woodwork and putting in their two cents by writing about it.

What I find interesting is that many Christians are up in arms over this movie yet are simply addressing the movie at face value. While they are crinkling up their noses at how this story depicts sex, I don't think violent sex is the real issue. 

The reaction from evangelical circles seems to go something like this:

Reaction 1 - The readers of the book are just perverted or sorry excuses for people. Sex in marriage is God's design ONLY!!!!! Those "heathens" need to get with the Christian, "sex-is-only-for-the-married-peeps program." "Thank God we are not like those people."

Reaction 2 - Jesus is better than Fifty Shades of Grey. (which is 100% true, but unfortunately readers of this book and potential watchers of this movie, don't really care that Jesus is better, and probably can't make the connection.)

I really didn't want to have anything to say concerning the movie and I thought I did a great job ignoring the book when it was released in 2011 with all its hoopla. 

The truth of the matter is, I was not emotionally ready to say anything about the book when it came out. Providentially, with God's grace, now that the movie is out in theaters,  I feel compelled to say something, but not because the movie depicts a byproduct of our over-sexualized culture. I didn't really need a movie to fill me in on what is going on culturally. 

I feel compelled to say something simply out of the reaction to the overflow of condemnation I hear and read that is coming out of Christian circles.  

So...here is...

My Something To Say 


The reason why 50 Shades of Gray is not simply a love story about two people who fall in love through violent sex, though that is the obvious reason for most of the backlash....what this story line is really about is sexual manipulation.  

Sexual manipulation does not have to turn violent in order to be harmful or detrimental. Though this movie puts violent sex on a pedestal for the world to applaud or condemn, its really not about the violence. 

Sexual manipulation is about a person getting another person to do sexual acts they would not otherwise do, in order for the one manipulating to have a false sense of power over the other person. In reaction, the one being manipulated believes this is somehow  love, acceptance, or validation by being "wanted" by another person so strongly. Sexual manipulation involves two broken people, believing they can become whole through a sexual encounter, with or without violence.

If sex is taking place outside of a covenant relationship between a husband and wife who acknowledge their brokenness and realize their need and dependence for a Savior, then the sex taking place is called sexual immorality, which is what the Bible calls it. 

There are a few places in the New Testament, where God, through the Holy Spirit enlists Paul to tell the early church that several kinds of sexual sins are wrong. Some of these included sexual immorality, homosexuality, adultery, and sensuality.

However, for this post, I am only going to focus on sexual immorality because that is the one I am most familiar with...specifically the viewpoint of the sexually immoral woman - Biblically, think woman at the well, woman who the Pharisees wanted to stone, and quite possibly the woman who washed the Savior's feet with her tears - though she was only called a "sinner", any woman brave enough to walk into the house of a Pharisee, in-spite of the possible ridicule, must have known what bondage to sexual sin was and needed to get to the One that could set her free.

Sexually immoral people engage in sexually promiscuous behavior. Sexually promiscuous behavior is defined as the "practice of having casual sex frequently with different partners or being indiscriminate in the choice of sexual partners".

There are two types or manifestations of a sexually promiscuous woman. Before I go on, let me stress that the ROOT cause of sexually promiscuous behavior for both types of women is the same.

The root cause is simply sin and brokenness. I know some may want to apply fancy terms or attach psychological explanations for it, but at the end of the day, sin and brokenness pretty much sums it up. Unfortunately, a woman who is caught up in sexual promiscuity is so broken, that she will not and can not see the sky through the clouds.....unless Someone radically intervenes on her behalf and makes her unbroken. Until that happens, she will look for being made whole through other broken people, inevitably making her brokenness...more damaging, with more lasting consequences...sometimes physical consequences, but most definitely emotional and psychological consequences.

I don't stand on the mountain that yells God demands that sex is for marriage between one lifetime husband and one lifetime wife. If that were the case, then God would not have blessed and used Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David, and Solomon to be our Savior's family genealogy.....and somewhere in there is Rahab, the prostitute. Sometimes I think many evangelicals forget that there were some pretty significant people in Jesus' bloodline who were not monogamous to one lifetime spouse. 

My personal experience, as well as my Biblical understanding, tells me that God WANTS, not demands.....men and women to have only one husband or one wife in their lifetime because when we don't, there are ugly, messy, seemingly never ending consequences. We read about the weight and messiness of those consequences in the lives of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David and Solomon. At the same time, God can use those consequences and make something beautiful- like Rahab, who became the mother of Boaz, who married Ruth.

Some consequences can leave damaging effects on our minds and we will spend our entire lives having to deal with them - yes....even after our Savior makes us whole and justifies us from our sin. Our sanctification (holy living) will be that much more challenging, though not impossible. The bondage to our brokenness will be that much more emotionally intense when we are set free. However, some days it will feel that we are holding on for dear life to Jesus for continual freedom from that bondage. 

When we don't have just one lifetime husband or one lifetime wife to call our own sexually, life is just plain harder. 

Literally an ugly mess. 

2 Types of Sexually Promiscuous Women

So, in a super broad nutshell, there are 2 manifestations or types of sexually promiscuous women -

Type 1 - This woman enjoys giving herself away for sexual pleasure. She sees nothing wrong in being sexually free and purposely looks for ways to express her sexual freedom. She is typically disconnected with the emotional aspect of engaging in sex with men and views them as commodities to be used for pleasure and discarded. This kind of behavior gives her a false sense of power. This false sense of power keeps her from getting hurt emotionally. This woman has no idea that her self perceived "sexual freedom" is actually bondage. She is a slave to promiscuity and the perceived power she thinks she gets from sexually promiscuous behavior because its masked as "sexual freedom. She is deceived. She is in bondage to her passions, lust, and "power". She will continue to be unless Someone radically intervenes on her behalf. 

Type 2 - This woman does not enjoy giving herself away. She does not find sex alluring however she is easily manipulated by men. She seeks acceptance or validation and mistakenly thinks she will get it by giving herself away sexually to any man who pursues strongly, oftentimes fast and fleeting. This woman will often feel guilty and disgusted with herself after an encounter, but does not know how to stop herself from falling into the same destructive cycle. She believes the lies of a manipulator and is often emotionally hurt. She knows she is in bondage to promiscuity because she knows that what she is after is acceptance, validation and love. She does not know how to stop giving herself away. This cycle of destruction will continue until Someone radically intervenes on her behalf.  




I am no expert on sexual promiscuity but I know enough, both personally and observationally, to understand what it looks like and what is needed for women in bondage to be set free from sexual promiscuity.

I used to be a type 2.

and.... I also knew many women who were type 1.  

The Beginning of Bondage

My first encounter with a manipulator.....I was 17 and in high school.....yeah....17. 

I left a physically and emotionally abusive home at 16.  I moved in with a friend and her mom and we ended up moving two cities away from my small town life. We did not have a phone in our apartment so my friend and I often went to our neighbor's apartment to borrow their phone. The apartment belonged to several older college football players. 

After borrowing the phone one brisk December afternoon, one particularly large towering guy, blocked the doorway and refused to let me leave. He strongly attempted to convince me that I knew he was there alone, that I was the seducer in this encounter and my need to use the phone was actually a ploy. My attempts to correct him failed. I didn't know what to do and just wanted to get out of the apartment as fast as I could. I really did not know his character or what his intentions were at that point. All I knew was that he was really big and really tall and would not let me pass. I had been forcibly raped a few months prior and knew I did not want to go through THAT again......so what did I do? I gave in. 

I believed lies. 
It was easier to consent.

During that particular encounter, thankfully, he did not pursue sex.  However, he was able to plant seeds of lies in my head and make me believe I was the one that must have wanted to pursue sex with him, when it was the farthest thing from my mind. 

I inevitably consented to sex with him soon thereafter and he continued to feed me lies that I believed for several years. I wanted acceptance, validation and to be loved.....but all he wanted was sex. He had a certain degree of power over me, not only due to his stature, but he also had emotional power over me as well.

I not only believed his lies, but a cycle of believing all lies from other guys began to take root as well....and strong roots they were. 

I've been married for 10 years now.......yet.....still....the destructive effects of past sexual manipulation and promiscuity have emotionally and psychologically carried over into my current Christian marriage. Thankfully, I have now have a patient and loving husband that helps me feel safe and protected.

I share all of that for a few reasons....but the main one is I no longer feel shame for being a former sexually promiscuous woman because I have a Savior who intervened on my behalf. 

Here are a few more reasons -

1) God was the only One who opened my eyes to see the lies for what they were
2) God did not excuse MY sin because I was sinned against, instead He allowed me to see culpability in my own sin, even though oftentimes I was actually the victim
3) God gave me faith in His Son, which is a gift, so that I can see, meaning no longer blind, and justified me from my sins (made right), set me free from bondage to sexual promiscuity, healed my brokenness, and put me on a path of sanctification (holy living)
4) Even after Jesus made me whole, there are still emotional scars and consequences of a life of sexual brokenness that I still have to deal with. Preaching the Gospel to myself daily, is my only hope. What that means is I have to meditate and remind myself daily of what Jesus did for me and my sin on the cross. I am thankful that God opened my eyes, mind and heart to accept these truths because they are a salve for my soul.  

Sex On the Altar

When our overly sexed culture accepts as "norm" sexual manipulation, with or without violence, calls it love, and places it on an altar to be worshiped, it should cause us to put on sackcloth, pour ashes over our heads and cry out to God for help. (Figuratively of course. We would not want people to think we were those crazy Christians) We should mourn (literally) over the fact that sexual manipulation has become entertainment for the masses. 

When we have men and women, who are made in God's image, behaving in sexually immoral or depraved ways, with the world watching, applauding, and wanting to imitate, this should cause us great sorrow...not necessarily because the sex taking place is outside of marriage, but because two broken people are looking to the wrong thing to make them whole.  

When we look at people who feel compelled to go watch Christian Gray sexually manipulate Annastasia Steele into violent sex for "entertainment purposes", its so easy for us to snub our noses and say "I don't need that".

How about looking at them as captives, enslaved to watching sexual manipulation on the altar of a movie screen and deeply mourn for them?

Instead of condemning them, what if we felt sorrow and got on our knees and prayed for them?  

However, the truth of the matter is, we don't pray, nor do we mourn. We are not filled with sorrow when people look to the wrong things to heal their brokenness.

We do the complete opposite. 

We proclaim, loudly, 

"I'm not watching that filth

and point self righteous fingers at what the blind and deceived masses are doing.  We huddle into our Christian corners so that we can place our Christian marriages and Christian sex on our own altars. 

Sadly, when we do this, we end up ostracizing the very broken men and women who don't have squeaky clean sexual histories....and trust me....there are millions of them. They are our own family members, neighbors, friends, and co-workers. 

In our idolatry, we inadvertently tell them they don't belong in our churches or our well manicured lives because they don't have a one lifetime spouse to boast about in retaliation for a sexually broken world.

With our verbal fists held high, we end up pointing to our banner that reads 

Sex in Marriage is God's design!

instead......

of pointing them to

Christ

Thanks be to God, having a squeaky clean sexual history does not make us more loved or more accepted by God. 

Having one lifetime spouse does not make us more loved or accepted by God. 

Christ makes us completely loved.
Christ makes us completely accepted by God. 
Christ heals our sexual brokenness. 
Christ sets us free from sexual bondage.  
Christ loves us.....fully.
Christ does not lie to us. 
Christ gives us new desires, namely to know Him more. 
Christ does not manipulate us. 

In other words...Christ makes us WHOLE!!! 

Look again at Rahab, the prostitute. 

For heavens sake....she is the grandmother of the very One who heals our brokenness and sets captives free.  

Thanks be to God His ways are not our ways!!! 
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P.S. I few days after I posted this blog post, I stumbled across a super fantastic Tim Keller sermon titled Love and Lust.  I HIGHLY recommend listening to it and or sharing it with others. 

http://www.gospelinlife.com/love-and-lust-6303.html

Or subscribe to Tim Keller's podcasts and scroll down to podcast #21 (this is how I heard it)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/timothy-keller-podcast/id352660924?mt=2