• Dana L. Butler

To my friends with thoughts on 50 Shades: my quiet appeal


I’ve been up since 4:30 this morning with chilluns who didn’t seem to feel like sleeping, and it’s 1:30 in the afternoon as I sit down, fingers poised over keys, stomach doing flips.

I’d so much rather be napping while my kids catch up on missed sleep, but there are these few words nagging, pulling at the corners of my already-overloaded (in all good ways) heart and mind, and they won’t shut up, you guys.

It’s rare that I jump on a bandwagon of any kind — in fact, I actually don’t know that I ever have. Especially one that seems to be such an incredibly hot topic as (oh my gosh, I almost can’t even type it, y’all) 50 Shades of Grey.

I struggle to wrap my mind around the fact that I just mentioned that movie in a blog post, not because I’m so repulsed by it, but simply because All The Christian Bloggers are writing about this, and I just don’t tend to do this stuff, y’all.

And my heart here today is by no means to invalidate or diminish the thoughts of my friends who have published their opinions on the movie via blog post or Facebook or Twitter. I agree with many of them.

I simply don’t feel the need to be another voice of warning against seeing the film. There are plenty of those voices and they are plenty loud.

BUT — there’s this thing burning in my heart today and if I could just whisper a quiet hey you guys? to my beautiful Christian friends who’re sharing their thoughts on 50 Shades —

If I could sit with you dear ones face to face, and if you really wanted to know what’s in my heart on this matter? Here’s what I’d say, and I’d probably be shaking a little while I said it:

Seeing the movie would obviously be an unwise choice, Christ-follower or not, for a hundred reasons that so many are already shouting. So there’s that layer.

But there’s another layer of thought that’s squirming around inside me and it won’t sit down and shut up, so I’m quietly appealing to you here, my Jesus-loving friends: can we be careful how we share our opinions?

If we feel prompted to add our voices to the chorus of those addressing 50 Shades, can we be careful of the state of our hearts when we do? And be careful how we come across?

Because yeswe are called to righteousness (1 Peter 1:16). And yesGod asks us to guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). And yeswe are to honor Him with what we allow into our minds (2 Corinthians 10:5).

And? Yes, as believers we are asked to call one another to repentance when one of us begins to move toward choices that are damaging to our hearts and dishonoring to God (2 Timothy 4:2).

But y’all. Here’s my burden today. When we call one another to righteous living, when we air our opinions against wide-spread, popularized unrighteousness, are we doing so with God’s heart burning inside our own?

Are we weeping for those we’re warning?

Because apart from a radically transformative revelation of God’s heart toward me, and without my own heart being captivated by the realities of His tender, personal affection and my new, true identity in light of Jesus’ death and resurrection? You may well find me at the theater this weekend, y’all.

‘Cause I am no better than the woman in that theater down the street from your neighborhood, Christian or no, who desperately needs to hear and grasp that she’s enough. Beautiful. Desirable. Who doesn’t know at a heart level that the blood of Jesus has already spoken those things over her.

Basically what I’m trying to say here is that there, but for the grace of God, go I, and it’s God’s kindness (Romans 2:4) that leads us to repentance, and if I’m not extending His kindness and compassion and a massive helping of let me walk a mile or twenty in your shoes to those I’m calling to righteousness in this or any matter, they will most likely walk away feeling judged, belittled, condemned, and further distanced from their true home in the heart of God.

Whew.

Okay.

So, my quiet appeal? Let’s love deep and real and practical. Let’s approach others as equals, as precious to the Father’s heart.

Let’s voice our concerns and opinions with hearts that are broken and bleeding for those we’re addressing — or consider perhaps not voicing them at all.

I think that’s all I’ve got today, my friends. I love y’all so. Thanks for being a gracious landing spot for my shaky voice today. I pray you hear my heart.

You guys bless me tremendously.

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