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Why Fifty Shades Darker Should Make Us Cry

  • Helen Thorne Author
  • Published Feb 13, 2017
Why Fifty Shades Darker Should Make Us Cry

The books sold beyond the author’s wildest imagination. The plotline fueled many a lunchtime chat. The first film caused a flurry of delight among both young and old. And discussion boards are trembling with anticipation as the 2nd in the erotic trilogy prepares to hit the big screens tomorrow. There’s no doubt about it, the Fifty Shades phenomenon has made quite an impact on our society.

How should Christians respond?

Perhaps you feel appalled, or disgusted.

Perhaps you feel tempted (Christians are by no means automatically immune to the allure of this genre—but that’s a subject for tomorrow’s blog post).

Instead, I want to suggest that Fifty Shades Darker gives us reasons to cry.

Reasons to cry? Is this about to become a scathing attack on trite dialogue or poorly executed lines? Well, no. It’s far deeper than that. Fifty Shades Darker throws into sharp relief the tragic effects of sin on this broken world. We can:

1. Cry over sin’s impact on relationships

At its core, Fifty Shades Darker is a tale of pain. Amid its 1 hour and 55 minutes of narrative (and frequent explicit scenes) we meet people struggling with an array of broken relationships. There are those who long to control; those who are scared; those who harass; those who are blackmailed; those who long to break free. It’s a graphic reminder that, as humans, we do not relate to each other in the ways that God has designed. Our call to love sacrificially has been replaced by our desire to rule over each other—it’s a Genesis 3 thing, a direct outworking of the fall.

Our call to love sacrificially has been replaced by our desire to rule over each other—it’s a Genesis 3 thing.

And whilst, on one level, it’s good to put our energy into encouraging people not to engage with such fictional ungodliness on screen, there is a sense in which we also need to remember that this kind of pain is the reality of many we know. Women and men in our churches, down our streets, are struggling with these issues right now. People around the globe know what it is to be threatened, coerced, controlled—to be caught in that desolate chasm that lies between loving someone and fearing them too.

This is a tragedy. This is the kind of reality over which Christians should weep.

2. Cry over sin’s impact on sex

It is in the bedroom that the brokenness of relationships is often seen most clearly.

Sex is designed to be beautiful, precious, an intimate act that seals the bond between two people until death tears them apart. It’s meant to bring joy, bring people closer together. It’s meant to be fun—an act that is wonderfully safe—but that’s not what we see in Fifty Shades Darker. Here bleak webs are spun to elicit sexual favors from those who are scared. Here we see a woman and man writing a contract to help them avoid inflicting real pain—to help them pull back from the beatings that only one of them ever found truly pleasurable. Though there are glimpses of love in the film (and even a proposal of marriage) we meet people treated as objects, used for personal gratification, and then unceremoniously tossed aside.

It is in the bedroom that the brokenness of relationships is often seen most clearly.

It’s not just a story. How many people know just how that feels? “I met this girl and I’m totally going to Fifty Shades her tonight” came the comment from the man in front of me in the gas station line, casually chatting on his phone. “No … my girlfriend won’t do it, so I thought I’d cash in with someone else”.

How many Christians and non-Christians carry the scars of an unwanted touch in the workplace? An alcohol-fuelled one night stand? A partner being unfaithful or pressuring in the bedroom in ways that have left hearts (and sometimes bodies) horribly broken.

It’s worth crying over that too.

3. Cry over sin’s impact on children

But one of the least discussed aspects of Fifty Shades is the fact that the chief protagonist is a profoundly broken man. Born to a drug-addicted prostitute whose clients abused him—left an orphan at the age of four—abused by an older woman who introduced him to bondage and sadomasochistic sex when he was just 15, Christian Grey allows us to catch a glimpse of what it’s like to be someone who has suffered much as a child. Of course, not all those who have been abused in their early years will make the choices he made later in life—far from it. But there is something deeply heart-breaking about Christian Grey’s revelation that his anger towards his mother runs so deep, he gets pleasure from hurting women who look just like her…

This is no mere fiction. Children are abused. Abused children don’t always get the help they need to process the pain. Abuse can leave a legacy that persists for years. Shouldn’t that make us weep?

So this week, as Fifty Shades Darker begins to hit our screens—as we begin to think through how to debate the issues or how to avoid the invitation to go along and watch it—let’s not forget to shed a tear. The fiction that is about to tantalize many eyes is the reality that, right now, is breaking many hearts.

This article originally appeared on Used with permisison.

Helen Thorne is the Director of Training and Mentoring at London City Mission and author of Purity is Possible. She's an experienced counselor, has a passion for biblical counselling, edited The Good Book College's course in a Women's Ministry and is a trustee of Capital Youthworks (the charity behind Sorted and Sorted Nano). She attends Dundonald Church in Raynes Park, London.

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Publication date: February 14, 2017