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God-Honoring Pleasure in a Shades-of-Grey World

God-Honoring Pleasure in a Shades-of-Grey World

Even when it comes to sexual pleasure, God wants the best for us.
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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.

Christians commonly justify what the Bible has stated as sin . . .

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)

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Juli Slattery

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?

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Displaying 1–2 of 2 comments

Scott I

April 10, 2014  10:24pm

Part 2 So if a mate asks for some unusual stimulation, who are we, really, to judge. What is strange to one person is just fine to another. What makes vanilla ice dream better than chocolate? One is NOT better than another. What is consenting among a couple, is only their business. Any of us piling undue guilt on another, does not speak well of us. But I do suggest that those who have strange desires, use these symptoms to explore what might have gone wrong in the past. Perhaps some of it can be worked thru and resolved. Sexual impulses are very powerful and seemingly mysterious. As such, they deserve very careful treatment, not condemnation. As we judge others, so we ourselves shall be judged.

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Scott I

April 10, 2014  10:15pm

Yes, you're right, God has clear standards that we need to follow. But things went wrong in the garden of Eden and none of us has been right, since. As for S&M, the women felt as she did due to experiences, quite possibly due to a bad father or some bizarre sexual abuse when young. Many humans bare scars of different types from sex abuse and other abuse, too. So our sense of pleasure/stimulation becomes damaged or distorted. Fully reversing abuse is usually not possible. Scars go very deep. If we are not understanding and showing compassion to human "scars," then we are not showing God’s love.

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