About 10 years ago, Emily and I went to see A History of Violence, David Cronenberg’s film based upon the 1997 graphic novel of the same name. We watched the film, more or less nonplussed1… and then we weren’t anymore. Why? Because we reached a turning point in the film, where the main character essentially raped his wife on the stairs of their home.
And we—all of us in the theater—were witnesses to it.
Everyone left that night, and no one spoke. Not a word. No one looked at the person they came with. Everyone had their heads down, walked out to their cars, and left.
We knew that what we had seen was not right. As we had watched this film, we had been violated.
Today, the much anticipated, and much spoken of, 50 Shades of Grey begins showing in theaters. Chances are, you’ve read all the articles about why you shouldn’t go to the movie, so I won’t repeat what others have said so well. Instead, what I will say is simply this:
This movie will, undoubtedly, break records. It will also, undoubtedly, shatter souls.
There will be men and women who will walk away from their movie-going experience violated. They may not be able to articulate it, but it will be there. Shame. Guilt. Pain. It will be written on their faces. It will be written on their hearts.
We will all, almost certainly, have someone in our lives who has chosen to see this. And what they will need from us in the days to come are not lectures about how wrong it is, or lamentations on the continued sexual decline of our culture, or sermon series with bad plays on the 50 Shades title, or any of that…
Instead they will need someone to talk to. They will need someone to help them process through what they’ve subjected themselves to. They will need compassion. They will need hope. They will need Christ, the only one who can remove the stain of this cognitive sexual self-abuse.
Lord, let us be up to the task.
- In the modern North American sense of the term, not its historic meaning. ↵