Tuesday, February 24, 2015

50 Shades of Red



I left the classroom, the heavy blue door with a shiny silver knob slowly closing behind me, a familiar hiss sounding.  The halls were empty and eerily silent in the Jr. High school.  The sun shone through the open double doors at one end, reflecting on the flecked linoleum tiles that covered the floor.  I began to hurry down the hall, anxious to join my girlfriends for lunch. And then he appeared, seemingly out of thin air.  A "Christian" boy I had met at church the summer before.  My eyes quickly scanned the hallway once again, as my startled heart began to pound.  He wanted to talk to me, and before I could plan my escape, he pushed me against a locker, which loudly rattled as my back was pinned against it.  His hands held me, against my will, and although he wasn't very tall, I remember feeling overpowered in my diminutive, adolescent frame.

Obsession.  Or infatuation.  Neither really cares about the human being attached to the receiving end.  I suppose that is why the receiver is called the object.  I was the object of three different adolescent boys' infatuations.  While I never truly believed any of them would actually harm me, it felt unsettling.  I knew that I was being watched.  Information about me was being gathered and written down on lined notebook paper.  There was a photo of me in a hot pink and white striped bathing suit residing in a boy's wallet... a sophomore boy I didn't even know.

It is not romantic.  To stalk a girl and learn all about her habits and her life is not truly knowing her. To exert control over her or violent behavior against her is not expressing love toward her.  It is definitely not love.  I suppose you have to really know what love is in order to spot a counterfeit.

But what if the guy happens to be a powerful, billionaire business man?  What if he flies me around in his personal helicopter and sends me expensive gifts?  What if his special room of pain sounds intriguing.  Surely, then, he is just an eccentric.  What if I consent to be involved in his obsession. Certainly, it's just between adults, and it's nobody else's business but our own.

Unfortunately, you have made it my business, "Christian" Grey.  You, a fictitious character, have invaded the movie trailers on my television, articles and events on my Facebook feed, talk show topics, and most unsettling, the conversations at my freshman son's high school campus.  You peddle your wares as a great romance, a passionate love story, and a wonderfully naughty Girls' Night Out. While I thought you would quickly phase out, being the ersatz lover that you are, you have managed to entice and captivate the hearts and minds of women all over the world.  There are tens of thousands of women who have been blinded by your polished exterior and wooed by your mysterious persona. I am nauseated by the hundreds of millions of dollars you have convinced women to gladly surrender to you over the last two weeks.

Mr. Grey, it is time you were legitimately exposed for the scoundrel you truly are.

You are a poser, Mr. Grey.
You are weak and derive your power from preying on an innocent.

You are a coward, Mr. Grey.
You cloak your sexual escapades in secret contracts and shadows of fear.

You are a manipulator, Mr. Grey. 
You wield your tools of humiliation and degradation.

You are an abuser, Mr. Grey.
You have traded strength for control, tenderness for cruelty and pain, and love and affection for bondage and domination.

I won't wear your blindfold, Mr. Grey.  I see what you are doing to women, what you are doing to girls. When I look at you, I see shades of red.  Stop stalking my friends and family.  Stop brainwashing the masses, convincing them that you market love.  You need help, and using a young woman for your violent sexual pleasure does not qualify as therapy.  Guys like you in the real world aren't glamorous, they end up putting women in the hospital... or the morgue.

Authentic love. I am so thankful to have experienced what it really is.  I have been truly blessed to have married the true Christian.  A man who protects me and sacrifices for me.  A man who is strong, yet treats me with tenderness and sensitivity.  A man who leads instead of controls.  A man who has never struck me or tied me up, degraded or humiliated me.  A man who pursued me, won my heart, married me, and has loved me passionately and intimately for the past 21 years.  He is not the perfect Christian, and we have had our share of difficult seasons, but the more he chooses to surrender his life to Christ, the more he cherishes me and the better he loves me.   This is the love I want women to be able to experience.  This is what the women in this world are deserving of, and my heart breaks when I see them settling for something so demeaning.

My encouragement is this... 

Seek tender, sacrificial love, 

Seek gracious, mutually edifying respect, 

Seek a "Christian" who reflects the nature and character of Christ,

And live a passionate life,

Which mirrors the dignity and vulnerability and glory

You were created for and are meant to reveal.




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