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5 questions to ask before watching “50 Shades of Grey”

As a young adult pastor, the question of “should I go see this movie?” comes up a lot from well-meaning friends who want to make wise decisions with what they watch (and how they invest their money, given the outrageous cost of going to the theater now). It’s a good question! What we watch, and spend our money on, matters.

The newest popular/questionable movie I’ve gotten questions about is 50 Shades of Grey. To me, this one is a no-brainer… I haven’t read the book, but from what I’ve gathered it will be a movie about a perverted boy-who-can-shave who has no respect for women and treats them as sexual objects with no dignity. Terrible. But this blog post should help give a framework for how to decide what movies to watch, and what movies to skip.


Unless you’re going to see the Son of God or the Passion of the Christ, chances are, the movie is not going to directly exalt the person and work of Jesus. But some movies do point to God-glorifying themes like redemption, rescue, salvation, the victory of good over evil, and so on (with some great action scenes to go along). Some movies can do a great job of depicting real-life struggles and stories that help give us perspective, cause us to reflect and contemplate challenging issues, or use humor (one of God’s common graces to us) to lift our spirits, cheer us up, and remind us of the triviality of some of our own problems.

Some movies, on the other hand, offer little substance, and just aim to glory in worldliness and feed the flesh. Then there will be many others that are somewhere in between, having some redeeming qualities mixed with sinful entertainment or foolishness. Depending on the content, and the presentation of the content, a movie can build up and help our faith, or it can hurt our faith and slow us down.


As Christians, we have enormous freedom by the blood-bought grace of God for us. Our standing before God is not determined by whether we meet certain requirements or follow the right rules, but rather on the free gift of Jesus’ righteousness that he gives us by faith.

So, the question for us isn’t, “am I allowed to watch this?” but rather “is it helpful for my life and my love for God?”. Truly as Paul says for us, ““All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful.” All things are lawful,” but not all things build up.” (1 Cor. 10:23).

So while it’s not necessary to just write off every non-Christian movie (thank God, since many Christian movies are not abounding in awesome writing or acting), it is necessary to be discerning about what we watch, and ask, “is it helpful?”, and “does it build up?”.


Here are 5 questions to ask before watching 50 Shades of Grey, or any movie for that matter, to decide if it will be helpful:

Will the movie:

  • Likely build up my love for others or my love for God? (Matt. 22:37)
  • Likely help my faith by promoting things that are worthy of thinking about? Things that are true, honorable, just, pure, or lovely? (Phil. 4:8)
  • Likely give me wisdom, perspective, or joy through a compelling story that engages my heart and emotions? (Ecc. 7:3Prov. 17:22)

OR will it:

  • Likely hurt my faith, rather than help it, by setting my mind on the things of the flesh? Things like sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, drunkenness, or corrupting language? (Rom. 8:5Gal. 5:19-20Eph. 4:29)
  • Likely hurt my faith, rather than help it, by directly gratifying desires of my flesh, or causing me to lust? (Rom. 13:14Matt. 5:28)

If the movie seems helpful, watch it, let your faith be built up, and enjoy the common grace of God, “who richly provides us with everything to enjoy” in this case, through talented storyteller (1 Tim. 6:17). If it doesn’t seem helpful, then be content with missing out on the movie for the sake of your faith and godliness, for “godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Tim. 6:6).


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