What to Do If You Feel Guilty After Watching 50 Shades of Grey

What to Do If You Feel Guilty After Watching 50 Shades of Grey

Three years ago the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy became a publishing phenomenon. And 10 days ago the movie version made a box office splash. Christian bloggers, speakers, and talk-show hosts have offered strong criticism decrying the graphic portrayal of sexuality and male-female roles in a way that they find offensive.

But Christian woman have been reading the books and watching the movie. And at least some of them have felt dirty, guilty, or otherwise uncomfortable afterwards. If you’ve watched or read and feel in some way guilty after watching 50 Shades, then this post is for you.

Our society provides many opportunities to become desensitized to ungodly things. Messages relating to both violence and sexuality are present all around us. Perhaps one might think, “Why not become familiar with what everyone is talking about? Then I can engage intelligently. And surely there’s redeeming value even in what seems somewhat negative. I’ll focus on the good parts.”

And then you read. Or you watch. And something in you changes. If you read the entire book (or series), you undoubtedly had a more difficult time reading the first explicit passages, and things became easier as you continued. Just that experience alone should demonstrate to you how easy it is to become desensitized.

If there’s something in you that feels uncomfortable after engaging with 50 Shades of Grey, that’s a good thing. That demonstrates you are not closed to the Holy Spirit’s tug on your heart. I encourage you to listen, to follow that discomfort, and hear whatever God might want to tell you.

And let me point out that if you’ve struggled to justify watching or reading this material, that very fact should remind you that something in you knows it’s not OK with God.

Here are a few suggestions about what to do with the discomfort you may be feeling:

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How to Pray When You Don’t Know How

How to Pray When You Don’t Know How

You talk with your family and friends. You send text messages, write emails, and post updates on social media. You make phone calls, and perhaps even make presentations at school or at work.

But when it comes to talking with God, you’re all tongue-tied. You can’t think of a thing to say. It feels awkward.

The truth is, you can pray anywhere, any time, for any reason. You can pray out loud or silently, alone or with others, long or short, standing, kneeling, with hands raised, or curled up in a ball in tears.

Perhaps you’re not used to praying much. And even the most “spiritual” of us may sometimes feel at a loss in knowing how to approach God when things are tough. Here are some simple steps to help you get started, or get you out of a “funk” in your prayer life.

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Forgiveness Is Not Enough

SinnersPrayer2Oh Happy Day, Oh Happy Day when Jesus washed my sins away!”

That gospel song speaks to the awesome forgiveness we experience as Christians as a result of what Jesus has done for us. And how we all need it! Nothing in my past held against me. I’m washed clean.

Some variety of the sinner’s prayer is often promoted as the critical step in becoming a Christian:

“Dear Jesus, I am sorry for my sins. I believe you are the Son of God, who came and died and rose again for me. Please forgive me of my sins, and come into my heart. Amen.”

Oh Happy Day, indeed!

But that’s not enough. The forgiveness step in salvation, as wonderful as it is, is only one small piece. Jesus, Paul, and other New Testament writers present a much more radical picture of what it means to become a follower of Jesus.

Paul said clearly, “If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Rom. 10:9) That’s clear. Believe in your heart. Confess with your mouth. You are saved! Hallelujah!

But that’s only the beginning.

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How God Can Heal Your Lonely Heart

How God Can Heal Your Lonely Heart

You’re single, with no good prospects in sight. You’re lonely, and you want to do things God’s way. You long for someone to love, and to love you. So why isn’t God coming through with a spouse for you? Can He heal your lonely heart?

You’re married, but unhappy. Your spouse is more interested in work than in you. You’ve tried to talk to him/her, but the response is cold. Your heart is lonely. You know you shouldn’t look outside your marriage for love, but it’s sure tempting.

You’re somewhere in the world doing God’s work. You know this is where God sent you, but you’re mostly alone. Working for Him is meaningful, but your loneliness is wearing on you. Couldn’t God bring you someone to share the burden?

On Valentine’s Day there’s so much talk about relationships and love and romance. But I think it’s mostly a time for those who are lonely to lament their marital status (whatever it is) and dream of things they wish they could have.

You’ve heard people talk about God meeting your heart’s needs, and intellectually you believe He can. But you’re lonely. Right now you want a God with “skin on.” You want the hugs, the conversation, the closeness, maybe the sex. It’s hard to see how Someone “out there” can really do anything to meet the lonely needs in your soul.

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When Your Soul Is Tired

When Your Soul Is Tired

How often do you sigh, “I’m just so tired!” And when your soul is tired, it can feel the worst.

In the 21st century there are so many things that can wear us out. An unhealthy lifestyle, lack of sleep, digital overload, complicated relationships, and stress of all kinds is enough to make any one of us exhausted.

But perhaps the most paralyzing of all is exhaustion of the soul. All the other stresses of life can certainly make your body and mind vulnerable, but soul fatigue leaves you barely existing rather than living. Your soul is tired.

Haven’t you felt, like I have, times when you’re just weary of life? The demands on you seem too great, and you don’t seem to have what it takes to move forward. You wake up in the morning tired, and it just gets worse from there.

I had a friend tell me not that long ago, “I wish I could just run away from everything!”

(Watch this short video to see the answer to serious soul fatigue.)

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