By now you’ve probably already heard of the best-selling novel Fifty Shades of Grey. It set the record in the U.K. as the fastest-selling paperback of all time, surpassing the Harry Potter series. Who knew there would be such a pandemic response to erotic fiction?
There have been debates whether or not Christians have any business reading this book. Some might say that it’s harmless fantasy and nothing else. Others would go so far as to call it “mommy porn”. Some see this issue as black and white while others see it as a more of a gray area.
I haven’t read the book nor have I dug deeply into the reviews. But beyond reading this book, I see a more critical question at hand.
How do I navigate through various shades of gray in life?
While I may not always admit it, I like my life to be defined in black and white. Concrete answers provide secure footing. And honestly, it takes a lot of effort to navigate through gray areas.
The problem is that by living in black and white, I found too many inconsistencies. I realized that what works for some people doesn’t always work for me…and vice versa.
Finding my way through all these gray areas has sometimes been a cause of fear. I’m either afraid I’ll go too far in my freedom or on the other hand, that my freedom will be compromised because of legalism.
I don’t want anarchy but I also don’t want to be controlled.
I might be able to read Fifty Shades of Grey and, poor writing notwithstanding, I may be totally unaffected. You might read this book and have a vulnerable place in your heart exposed.
The safe thing to do would be to ban the book outright. No one should ever read it. But isn’t that controlling? What about freedom?
These are the types of questions I ask every day. There are plenty of people who want to tell me what I should do. There are also plenty of people telling me to do whatever I want. But there’s something in between these two extremes. Those are the gray areas I have to discover for myself.
There’s a reason we weren’t given a manual for every single issue of life. We were never created to be a homogenous blob of followers. We were all created uniquely and have different life experiences. We were each given the wisdom and discernment to navigate through the various shades of gray. And that freedom is our greatest responsibility.
QUESTION: How do you make choices about gray areas?
[photo credit: Laurajane photography]