50 Shades of Grey … 5000 Shades of Grace

I want to say this well … because if I don’t, I’m afraid I’ll miss this incredible opportunity to show the love of Christ. I’m nervous because the topic is full of potential for misinterpretation and hateful dialog and mean-spiritedness.

But inside me, I know this is one of those rare times when I need to let go of my desire to be liked and avoid the fray and speak out. So with great trepidation and a whole lot of prayers, I am sharing my thoughts about 50 Shades of Grey and why the real issue is 5000 Shades of Grace.

I hope you will hear my heart as you read these words.

Teri Lynne


There may be 50 shades of grey but there are 5000 shades of grace.

I haven’t read the books. I won’t see the movie. It wasn’t a hard decision for me.  I don’t read books with explicit sexual content. It’s a guideline I have for myself. And the truth is, I encourage my friends not to read the books or see the movie. I have yet to read a coherent argument as to the value of doing so. I also encourage my friends not to see movies with gratuitous violence or language for the same reason.

But here’s the thing: I do have friends who have read the books and will see or have seen the movie.

And I am not really sure how to navigate that. Because the truth is, I’m in no position to place judgment.  A few years ago when Magic Mike came out and everyone was talking about “mommy porn,” I was quick to make the statement that no godly woman should have any part in any of that.

And while I don’t think what I said was wrong … my heart was.

I missed the mark. And I missed it by a lot.

Here’s the thing I’m realizing … grace is so much bigger than I ever dreamed. Grace has room for questions and fears and insecurities and doubts.  Grace has room for the woman whose marriage is in shambles and she sees a movie or reads a book to escape from her own reality. Grace has room for the heart that is broken from betrayal and looks for some sort of satisfaction in places she never dreamed she’d go. Grace has room.

5000 shades of grace ... because grace says, "It's forgiven."

What we need is less shouting about what is evil and more listening about what is broken. We need to be vessels of grace … open to hard conversations and willing to listen. We need to realize that sex isn’t a tool created for control but a gift created for connection.

What we need is less shouting about what is evil and more listening about what is broken. http://wp.me/p3aJPA-1TK Click To Tweet

I can’t not mention pornography here as well. I have friends whose husbands are unable to become physically stimulated by their wives without taking a pill because they have watched so much pornography a real woman’s body is not enough to excite them. And it’s not just a non-Christian man issue, y’all. Pornography is a powerful industry that impacts every aspect of our culture. Consider these numbers:

  • 56% of divorces involve one party having an “obsessive interest” in a pornographic website. {American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers}
  • 50% of Christian men and 20% of Christian women admit to having a porn addiction. {ChristiaNet Survey}
  • One out of three visitors to adult websites are women. {Internet-Filter-Review.com}
  • Of those struggling with sexual addiction under the age of 35, 40% are women. {National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families}

And the number scariest to me …

The largest and fastest growing group of consumers of internet pornography are 12-17 years old, with the average age of exposure being 11 years old. {Internet-Filter-Review.com}

I have a daughter who will be 15 this week. She and almost all of her friends have been asked to send a naked picture of themselves to a boy. These issues are real and we have no idea what the long term impact on our children and marriages and our culture will be.

But make no mistake — all of these are issues of the heart! And when we make blanket statements of judgment and condemnation {like I have} we miss the opportunity to connect with hearts. We miss the chance to share the truth about our bodies and relationships and sex and how amazing it all is when we trust God’s plan.

When we make blanket statements of judgment, we miss the opportunity to connect with hearts. http://wp.me/p3aJPA-1TK Click To Tweet

And so, instead of saying “It is a sin to see this movie or read that book” I want to say this:

Whether you do or don’t, you are loved by a God who created you and desires to give you life, abundant and to the full. If you ache with a longing for someone to cherish you, know this: He gave His Son for you, a ransom for your life. You are cherished and precious. And His love isn’t contingent on being good enough or pure enough, it’s rooted in Him, because HE IS LOVE!

Maybe, just maybe, the world needs to hear us say we understand the appeal of movies and books that offer a warped version of love … because we all have that hole inside us — but what if, instead of chastising and shaming, we offered them the life-giving, grace-overflowing true love of Christ that doesn’t demand we clean up before we come to Him because He is so much better at cleansing than we could ever be.

There is grace … so much grace. And it covers every shade of grey … washing us white as snow.

” … though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow … ” Isaiah 1:18

“For from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.” John 1:16

Read the Psalms this summer with Scripture Dig!


  1. Well said – I’ve been trying to formulate words that weren’t condemning but reflected the wrongness of this movie – and any like it. Truth being, it’s a grace that I have only recently embraced myself. And that is thanks to you and the recommendation on your blog about 2 years ago of a book that addressed 50 Shades specifically but the unrealistic view of love/affection/relationship that mommy porn can portray.

  2. Yes!!! I loved this line: “We need to realize that sex isn’t a tool created for control but a gift created for connection.”

    So good, Teri Lynne! Admitting to others we need grace and sharing grace with them in turn.

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