God-Honoring Pleasure in a Shades-of-Grey World
Dear Mr. Grey
I want you to know why I felt confused after you spanked, punished, beat, and assaulted me. Well, during the whole alarming process, I felt demeaned, debased, and abused. And much to my mortification, you're right; I was aroused . . . What really worried me was how I felt afterward. And that's more difficult to articulate. I was happy that you were happy. I felt relieved that it wasn't as painful as I thought it would be. And when I was lying in your arms, I felt . . . sated. But I feel very uncomfortable, guilty even, feeling that way. It doesn't sit well with me, and I'm confused as a result.
The letter above is a direct quote from the series Fifty Shades of Grey, which has now sold more than 100 million copies. Ana's letter to Christian is just one example of the many ways that women are confused about right and wrong—particularly related to sexuality. The whole spirit of the Christian bedroom is to bless each other. We should avoid anything that causes harm or humiliation, and the sadomasochism mentioned in the letter above involves both.
Satan has always had the agenda to confuse us about right and wrong, and he has succeeded. Christians commonly justify what the Bible has stated as sin: Christian couples sleep together before marriage. Christian friends openly gossip and slander one another. Christian wives harbor bitterness and unforgiveness for an offense committed decades ago. Christian women unabashedly read "mommy porn," justifying the explicit sex scenes because of the seemingly redemptive elements: It's a story about healing and about love, they think. It gives you ideas that can revive your sex life.They end up getting married in the third book, so it's all okay.
People sometimes say that it's "old fashioned" to define morality based on the Bible, but nothing is more old fashioned than wanting to define right and wrong for ourselves. Relative morality isn't progressive—it's ancient! Let's look back to the beginning of time—Satan's strategies haven't changed much:
The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the LORD God had made. One day he asked the woman, "Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?"
"Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden," the woman replied. "It's only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, "You must not eat it or even touch it; if you do, you will die."
"You won't die!" the serpent replied to the woman. "God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil."
The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it." (Genesis 3:1–6)
Juli Slattery is a widely known clinical psychologist, author, speaker, and broadcast media professional. She co-founded Authentic Intimacy (www.authenticintimacy.com) and is the co-author of Passion Pursuit: What Kind of Love Are You Making?