Love Beyond the Big Screen

I pulled into the coffee shop parking lot and headed inside to quickly order my latte. Early mornings and me do not go well together. I needed caffeine STAT!

After a few sips of coffee, my brain slowly started creeping toward a somewhat functioning mode.

Why I decided to lead an early morning Bible study I’m not sure. I guess I assumed the girls I invited wouldn’t want to get up that early. I was wrong. They loved the idea. With perky little smiles, the girls slowly started trickling in and gathering around me.

We were having great conversations when somehow, someway, our topic took a sharp right turn. One of the girls dropped the name of a popular chick flick. I think she was trying to connect something from the movie to the topic at hand. The girls didn’t care what the connection was. They were like a pack of dogs that had instantly spotted a big furry squirrel. Their focus had totally shifted to the movie, and our conversation was now completely in the ditch.

“Oh my goodness. Can you believe he ended up with her? I think they’re an awful pair. I was so disappointed.”

“Are you kidding me? I love them together. They are so cute.”

Squirrel!

The chatter continued for a solid fifteen minutes straight.

Instead of refocusing the girls, I decided to let them chase this conversation. I was curious what they, a group of young Christian women, thought about this movie. Without having to pry, I was getting a sneak peak inside their thoughts and ideas.

The conversation did eventually end.

Despite the fact that the movie is filled with all sorts of language, sexual content, and just straight-up garbage, the girls only had good things to say about it.

There was no talk of how we, as Christian girls, should view a movie like that.
No talk of a biblical perspective.
No talk of how far off this movie was from God’s design for love.
No talk of how wrong sex outside of marriage is.
No talk of how painful adultery is.
No talk of consequences.

There were only sighs and squeals.

Hollywood-defined Love

Often movies encourage the idea that we can completely ignore God’s design for love, sex, and romance and still end up happily ever after.

Sex before marriage? Absolutely.
Love based on sparks and chemistry? Of course.
Blurring of gender distinctions? Yes, please.
Following my heart wherever it leads? Duh.
The list goes on.

But let’s look past the big screen at real relationships and figure out what actually works long term, not what the perfectly edited, beautifully portrayed, two-hour movie says works. We need something more concrete. Something with proven results.

Think through these questions with me. Don’t race through them, because the answers matter.

  • If Hollywood’s script for love and romance works so well, why is lasting love so hard to find?
  • If sex outside of marriage satisfies, why does it leave us empty and needing more?
  • If adultery is cute and romantic in the movies, why is it so incredibly painful in real life?
  • If lasting relationships are the goal, why is divorce rampant?
  • If having a healthy, stable family is desirable, why are families more broken than ever?
  • If one-night stands are so fun and thrilling, why do they leave us so miserable?

God’s standards are guardrails, guiding us toward, not away from, lasting love.

When those questions are answered in movies, they can be answered in a way that makes us believe culture-defined love really works. But when we dig deeper and look at the results in real life with real people and real families, we see something completely different. Mainly, that God’s standards are guardrails, guiding us toward, not away from, lasting love.

We can’t change the messages Hollywood is sending, but we can be discerning about what we allow into our hearts and minds. Since Hollywood’s version of love isn’t real, let’s choose to be girls who don’t just go along with whatever plot line they throw at us. Let’s use wisdom and carefully discern what we are putting before our eyes. Let’s be intentional to choose movies that are honoring to God and helpful in our walk with Him.

About Author

Bethany Beal

After a brief experience in the modeling industry, Bethany’s eyes were opened to how self-absorbed and lost her generation of young women really are. She and her older sister were inspired to start a blog (www.GirlDefined.com) and wrote a book Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity and Identity. Their passion is to help young women find God’s truth about beauty and womanhood and the freedom that comes from living a radically different life for Christ.

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