Just when you begin to feel like you might be beating a dead horse (figuratively speaking) the thing jumps up and takes on new life. This will mark the third post on 50 Shades here, but it really has nothing to do with 50 Shades. It has everything to do with psychoanalytical media finger-pointing frenzy that 50 Shades has instigated.
We’re over the initial shock of such filth making a best seller list. Now we’re on to bigger and better things, like “whose fault is this anyway?”
It is in our human nature to blame. Adam started it. As addicts, we do it. I have girls write to me all the time asking, “Why do I do this?” They have a list of possibilities: sexual abuse as a child, boyfriend introduced them, their dad left them, the kids in school, getting made fun of for being a virgin… the list goes on. No matter how long that list might be, there is really only one right answer:
You chose this.
Responsibility is something we shy away from as people. Think about it. Nearly every cultural short-coming we have is because a responsibility has been shirked. It can’t be our fault. It couldn’t be our choice. People expect too much. It’s a disease. It’s genetic. We are insane. There were extenuating circumstances outside of our control that leave us no choice but to make the wrong choice.
That’s what is happening right now. In a national news article, somehow porn becoming fashionable became our fault as women. Grant you, the article itself wavers back and forth and it’s hard to say what, exactly, the author means when he refers to ‘porn.’ At one point, he mentions erotica but then goes on to attack dress code. Whatever degree he is implying, he very plainly states that women are singularly responsible for this problem.
Never mind the fact that if men weren’t drawn to such trash, women wouldn’t feel pressured to become said trash. Never mind the fact that if the church actually had an open dialogue about sex, we could be free to be the sinners we know we all are and could get help instead of running to pornography.
Never mind the fact that we make purity so unattractive, staunch, and ugly that we practically shove people into premarital bliss. Never mind the fact that men objectify women to no end. Never mind the fact that we the people idolize the sexy- hint: they are only sex idols if we worship them.
I could write a whole post on how the degradation of sexuality is the fault of men for not honoring women. I could write a whole post blaming it on women for not holding their own and becoming women that create men of honor.
I could write a scathing review blaming the body of Christ for its ridiculous shortcomings in slapping purity rings on generations of young people without teaching them the meaning and importance of true purity. I have a commenter who still hangs around even after I made my stand very clear, and tells me I’m too prude (so, now it’s my fault). I could twist this and blame whoever you would like.
Truth is, we could sit here and point fingers all day, but finger pointing never got anybody anywhere.
What if we actually found who was to blame? What if we, somehow, could trace this all back and find the root of this problem? (Eve does not count) What if we could follow the papertrail back to the first pornographer, the first pornographic magazine, the first pornographic website, the first man who had morals so low that he was the first porn performer, the first women who agreed to do this (it takes two, you know), the first man who had tastes so degraded that he filmed it?
Let’s say I brought that person to you and got that person to fess up and say, “Yes, I did it. This is all my fault. All of it- Playboy, free porn on the internet, sexting, erotica, 50 Shades, yes, I am single-handedly responsible for creating all of it.”
Then, let’s say, in return, you look at me and say, “Ha! See, Jessica! This isn’t my fault. It’s his.”
Would you then be free?
The next day when you wake up in your home, get out of your bed, go to your computer, turn on your computer, use your mind to recall your favorite stomping grounds, use your fingers to type it into the search bar and use your eyes to view, can you still blame him? Can you honestly sit there and watch your hands move across the keyboard and rest in 100% assurance that none of this is your fault?
If you’re honest, your answer is no. You know you are responsible for the choices you make. You have been taught that since you were little. Think of life as a buffet- others may be responsible for preparing the options, but the ultimate decision is yours. This all rides on you, not the men who didn’t do what they were supposed to do or the mom who never told you.
It’s all on you, and that’s OK. Your responsibility makes you a candidate for Grace.
Taking “ownership” of our sins gives us ‘right’ (for lack of a better analogy) to the grace of Christ and the freedom He offers us. If we have no part in sin, what part can we have of grace? If we have no part in sin, what need do we have for a Savior? If we have no part in getting ourselves here, what hope do we have of freedom?
Fact is, if this was your dad’s fault, your boyfriend’s fault, the guy down the street’s fault, then you, my dear, are stuck. They can’t free you. They can say they are sorry. They can acknowledge their mistakes and shortcomings. They can feel really really really bad for what they did, but that doesn’t change you. It changes them. Why? Because they are taking responsibility for their actions. They’ll get forgiveness, grace and freedom, and you will be sitting there sinking in quicksand while you search for someone new to blame.
What if they were wrong?
We live in a world of imperfect people. Odds are, you’ve crossed paths with a couple of them in the course of your life. Odds are, you’ve been hurt by a couple of them. Odds are, you’ve hurt a couple of them yourself. Pain is real and cannot be ignored.
Brothers do leave their porn magazines out. Uncles do molest their neices. Men rape, touch, coerce, abuse, abandon, neglect, torment, torture, and steal. Women too. Hurt is real and you are allowed to hurt.
I was four when my dad, the center of my world, cracked me hard right across the face. Twenty-three years later, my jaw still pops when I eat. I was seven when he left, and by “left” I mean “left” as in just dropped off the face of the planet all of the sudden and never had the time of day for us again. He ripped my heart out. It crushed me. It took me ten years to finally accept the fact that he wasn’t coming back, another eight to heal to the point that I could start to trust people again.
As a little girl, no older than nine, I was asked to strip for a male classmate while riding a school bus. I did. We both did. We sat there, naked, riding home in the back of a school bus. Christian school. Christian classmate. Member of my church. Son of one of our elders. He practically stalked me for the next four years, always asking to come into my room, or asking me to come into his, giving me gifts and following me in church. It was a nightmare.
At eleven, I was made fun of for being a virgin, not because I was pure but because I was ugly. At 11, I wanted so badly to be able to pretty enough to have sex. Instead, I was stuck having to listen as my classmates talked, in detail, about their own sexual encounters.
I have held my friends as they’ve cried. Friends of mine have been raped as adults and as young children, assaulted by men in their families, even men in their church.
I get it.
I don’t write from where I am because I am some prissy church girl that never made any mistakes, that had it all together and just made one bad choice. I don’t write to tell you to forget it all and just move on like nothing ever happened. I am not stupid enough to believe that pain doesn’t affect us, that events don’t change us. I get it.
But I also know this one truth: living in those moments doesn’t bring freedom.
Freedom comes from Christ. Freedom comes from acknowledging my place before Him. He gives us the grace to forgive. He heals us. If you’re stuck in the blame game, please stop. Hold still and let Him heal you. Let Him help you forgive. Let Him help you find freedom from this and from the pain of your past. There can’t be freedom without scars.