Fifty Shades Freed, the movie adaptation of EL James’ last book in her Fifty Shades trilogy, is released this Valentine’s season. In most cultures, Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, so the movie’s release in this season might suggest that it’s a movie about love.
But nothing could be further from the truth. I urge you to think long and hard about what kind of love is in the movie. The root of that romance is selfishness.
If love is self-centred, it’s not true love. True love looks to the interest and wellbeing of someone else before their own – so where does inflicting physical pain onto a lover come into the picture?
And it doesn’t insist on its own way. It’s not about taking control over someone. Selfish love only leads to more pain for both parties. It is deriving personal pleasure at another’s pain.
Now if you say, “But this isn’t meant to be about love – it’s consensual pleasure!” That might well be so according to society’s rules. But out of love, I must attempt to convince you how destructive such a twisted view of love and sex can be.
Broken relationships, divorces, adultery, fatherlessness and even sexual confusion – these are but the offshoots of selfish love. It’s why I am urging you not to watch this movie or engage in deviant sexual practices – even within marriage.
Also, Christian Grey is portrayed as a man whose child abuse results in his BDSM fetish. If the normalising of BDSM fetishes in mainstream media wasn’t already problematic for me – it is exacerbated by the fact that it is done so while glossing over child abuse.
True love looks to the interest and wellbeing of someone else before their own – so where does inflicting physical pain onto a lover come into the picture?
But there is a better way – real love exists – and I want to tell you all about it.
“For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.” (Psalm 149:4)
If God brought us salvation, delighting in us – then I wonder if Jesus experienced profound joy while suffering on His way to the cross.
Fifty Shades is about suffering for mere pleasure – but God suffered for our salvation. Mere pleasure is never the purpose. Love is the end where sacrifice is the means.
So, true love isn’t the eros (erotic) love of Christian Grey – but Christ’s agape love. It is saving love freely given to us when He came to earth to die – wiping out the death this world’s bogus loves bring.
And it’s waiting for us to believe.
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and His love is perfected in us.” (1 John 4:10-12)
This Valentine’s Day, think about true love. Love God selflessly, love one another sacrificially.