By Scott Barkley
The probabilty is you know as much about Christian Grey as I do. This isn’t by choice, but because of the popularity of this book that came out a few years ago called Fifty Shades of Grey. Women lost their mind over it, bought a bunch of them, and made the author a ton of money. The writing itself had quite a list of critics, but the content kept readers.
As the characters go, it’s about a young woman who goes to work for a guy. He sounds like a rich perv who has no idea how to bait a hook or concept of volunteering his time with a kid.
And it’s about sex. In fact, reading reviews over the book and movie out this Friday, the word “abusive” is used a lot in describing the relationship between Grey and the woman, Anastasia. For some reason people who would describe themselves as “progressive” and “forward-thinking” are really excited about the movie. This is puzzling to say the least.
I say that because a biblical model of manhood is typically portrayed by those same people as controlling, overbearing, and yes, even abusive. Of course, it’s very much the opposite. Scripture calls for men to be in a protective role to the point that his own life is secondary to hers.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her … (Eph. 5:25)
Some would find umbrage with that passage as well, saying it denigrates women into helpless little things that can’t survive without a big, strong man. There are many women in my church who would laugh at that and tell you why it’s wrong, probably in a way that would hurt your feelings.
The curiosity is how a character who ought to be reviled by the culture – especially in a time when domestic abuse has come to the forefront – is seen so differently. Defenders of the 50 Shades franchise seem to paint him in a sympathetic light, like he can’t help himself for being drawn to what he is.
The Bible talks about that too. It’s called sin, and we need a Savior because of it.
All men aren’t drawn to be Christian Grey, but they are drawn to be something less than God’s best. That’s for all cases, not just the relationship with their spouse or girlfriend.
It appears that in Grey’s world, power is your plaything as well as currency. You have it, so use it. The biblical perspective is that whatever power or platform you have, it’s been given to you. Even if you worked hard and utilized your skills to put yourself where you are, those talents and drive are given by a Creator who made you in His image.
When Christ is taken out of the equation we get a skewed picture. At that point it’s about us, not our role as men in helping others. Self is a tough beast to fight and has a huge appetite, all the more when we’re happy to keep feeding him.
The only way to fight Self is through repentance and the redemption that follows. That requires humility – another trait of a godly man. Minus those, we’re closer to Christian Grey than we’d like to think. But with them we’re closer to being men the world really needs.