Christians are in an uproar over the movie Fifty Shades of Grey, which glorifies sexual violence against women. The movie hits theaters on Valentine’s Day and promoters are positioning the story of an abusive boyfriend as a romantic story. I’ve seen plenty of other campaigns launched by Christians against movies.
I even picketed against a movie because my church launched a protest. Today, I can’t remember the name of the movie or even why I chose to hold a picket sign on a busy Friday night in front of a theater in Gainesville, Florida. I don’t remember one person deciding to not watch the movie or become a Christian because of the protest. Thousands of churches across the nation campaigned against that movie, but I wonder what that campaign did for the cause of Christ.
Jesus was born into a nation occupied by the Romans. He grew up in a devout Jewish household within the lineage of Abraham. While his family was devout, faithful and loyal to God, they were surrounded by an X-rated culture where homosexuality and orgies in bathhouses were common. Landscaping and architecture showcasing genitalia was also common, according to historians.
Sexual corruption penetrated the highest levels of the Jews with King Herod’s illicit affair with a another man’s wife. Yet in this X-rated empire, Jesus didn’t preach one sermon to the Romans. He didn’t launch a picket against the Roman bathhouses or preach against participating in orgies or practicing homosexuality.
Jesus was possessed by the cause of the Father, which was to destroy the works of the devil among the people of God.
“But when people keep on sinning, it shows that they belong to the devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy the works of the devil” (1 John 3:8, NLT).
Jesus was captured by the cause of the Father to expose the corruption that crept into the people of God, who had a history of experiencing God’s marvelous works and deliverance. The same people who were delivered from slavery and brought Egypt and Babylon to its knees, were now in bondage to sickness and torment. Where was God, who sent plagues to Egypt and delivered them from slavery?
I’ve often wondered what if the same dollars, focus and energy that Christians put into a campaign against movies were redirected towards funding ministries or churches that moved in healing, setting the people free or empowering them to dismantle the works of darkness? What if we redirected our energies from fighting a worldly movie to fighting for the people of God to experience the freedom, love and relationship with Him?
Instead of being disturbed by Fifty Shades of Grey, I’m disturbed by the sexual immorality and compromise in the church. What keeps me up at night are people who love God but who haven’t experienced God’s healing or provision because of a corrupt religious system. I’m disturbed that most of the church has yet to experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that the infant church in the book of Acts had inaugurated.
I’m disturbed by the darkness that my brothers and sisters in Christ still fight in their relationships with Christians committing suicide and getting divorces. I’m mad that my brothers and sisters in the faith are still tormented and harassed by an enemy put under our feet because the church doesn’t cry out for the power of God. I weep when I know the high price Jesus paid for provision, healing and freedom that most Christians don’t experience because of corruption in our own ranks.
So that’s why I’m not mad about the Fifty Shades of Grey movie. I didn’t even plan to see the movie. If any of my friends go see the movie, I’m not going to judge or condemn them. I have a bigger fight on my hands that I’ve given my life to—revival in the church.
If you’re still upset about this movie, I challenge you as an act of protest, donate to ministries that work with women such as The Mordecai Project that rescues abused women or Project Lydia that provides opportunities for abandoned widows and orphans.
Leilani Haywood, editor of SpiritLed Woman, is an award-winning writer and frequent contributor to Charisma. Follow her on Twitter @leilanihaywood.