We all have our own ideas on what love is. It’s based on how we have experienced it, how we live it, what our parents taught us or what we learned in school. How do we know for sure what it is?
For me, I remember at night, when I was little, my mom would tuck me in and lay down beside me and sing Kumbaya until I fell asleep. That is love. It’s when your dad wholeheartedly wants to do whatever you’d like to do. When your little brother constantly asks your mom where you are when you’re out, for no specific reason other than wanting you home again, to know you’re near. It’s when your older brother makes fun of all your boyfriends, to get to you, because he’s your older brother and he gets the last say. You hate it, but love it. When your grandpa calls almost every day just to ask how you’re doing. This is love for me. And most of my life it’s because this love was derived from God. I have the privilege to say that my family honours God above all else.
“This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” -1 John 3:16
Without this kind of love, I wouldn’t be able to call myself Emma today.
I also know that there will be a stage in my life that I’m going to be with someone, get married and be a family, the way my family has been to me. And this is exciting and inspiring and so thrilling at the same time, because I know God knows what He has planned for me and my trust is totally in Him.
Yet, in our generation the definition of love is getting so blurred and murky. We are exposed to the internet, social media and TV from a young age and nothing really stops us from soaking it all up and getting lost in the flood of ideas, opinions and propaganda, basically. There are so many lies out there and from what I have seen, I want to protect other young people from getting lost in this darkness.
That brings me to the movie, 50 Shades of Grey (and the current movie 50 Shades Darker) . I remember a year or two back, as a group of friends, we were asked what our favorite movies and books were. And most girls, shockingly, said their favorite book was 50 Shades of Grey. This was before it came out in cinemas, but they couldn’t wait for it to. They depicted the book as ‘the best love story ever’.
Is it? The screenshots, music and dialogue does a pretty convincing job, but what role does love play in this story? The movie is about a very rich and experienced business man that uses his power to seduce and manipulate a young, innocent girl into doing things she feels really uncomfortable doing, for his own gratification and pleasure.
Can this really be a picture of love?
Love originated with God. It was His idea. In fact the Bible says God is love. So His definition of love is what we need to look at:
Love is patient – Love will never force you into anything, love will wait for you.
Love is kind – Love is not violent or hurtful or punishing. Erotic violence and abuse does not lead to love but to emotional bondage and suffering. Real women are suffering domestic and sexual abuse daily and suffering physically and emotionally. This is not the love that God intends for us.
Love does not envy – Love never wants, demands or takes what it can not have. Angry and violent jealousy is not passion nor love, it is abuse and control.
Love does not dishonour others – Love will honour you when you say no. When someone disregards your ‘no’ and in turn forces you into violent sex, with violent threats; this is not passion. It is rape.
Love is not self-seeking – Love will not use you to gratify its own selfish (and twisted) desires or lusts.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth – Love does not “delight” in rape, abuse, violence, assault, pornography or sexual immorality.
Love always protects – Love does not lead you into sin, evil, hurt or abuse.
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for one another – Love will take the lashes for us. Before He was crucified (a gruesome and cruel death) He was lashed 39 times (40 could kill someone) He suffered and died FOR US, laying down His life in love. Love will not beat or punish you. Jesus (Love personified) already took the punishment upon Himself.
If you look through a Biblical lens, you will see 50 Shades of Grey / 50 Shades Darker for what it really is; a story about abuse, dressed up and disguised as romance. Sugar coated poison, designed to pull you into a world of lust, sexual immorality, bondage and pornography. Love has got nothing to do with it.
My prayer is that your eyes will be opened to the truth. If you have seen the movie, may you now see its darkness and perversion for what it is. If you haven’t, that you will make the choice not to expose yourself to that twisted mindset.
My prayer is that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Eph 3:17-19)