Nothing gets us girls talking quite like romance. Want proof? Check out the long list of comments on this week’s posts about Twilight. When I decided to publicly air my concerns about this series, I expected you to bite back (pun intended), but most of you did not. Instead you asked some thought-provoking questions about how you can guard your hearts and minds in a culture where love, sex, and romance are portrayed so far off the mark.
One particular comment really got the wheels in my head turning. "Tee" left some intriguing thoughts on God and romance. I can’t copy the entire comment here, as it was lengthy, but here are the parts I found most thought-provoking.
Romance is a wonderful thing. Created by a wonderful God. Please stop telling young girls that if they read or watch anything with a romantic storyline they are committing sin or participating in porn…. A romantic storyline is a far cry from porn. In fact, one very romantic even sensual story is found in the Bible. The Song of Solomon is full of passion, excitement, and desire. Through it we see the example of BOTH man and woman enjoying romance, BOTH man and woman desire to be together physically, BOTH waiting on God’s timing and finally BOTH being fulfilled completely through the intimacy they share sexually.
Some guys are become more and more ashamed and afraid to show that side because "new trend" says they are only visual and girls are only emotional. Bologna!!! I’ve been married twenty years. My husband still romances me. He brings flowers for no special reason, writes the most romantic cards, and tells me crazy sweet things. Truth is we are all visual, emotional, and physically wired. Each person just has a different balance.
Trash trash but save romance. Life and live would never be the same without it. Don’t take my word. Take God’s Word. The Bible is full of romance.
Romance is God’s idea, and there is some very romantic stuff found right in the Word of God. Song of Solomon is a great example. It’s chocked full of steamy languages and romantic poetry between a husband and his bride (sigh). What’s even cooler is that Bible scholars think it is a portrait for how God feels about us. There are other passages where God calls us His "beloved" (Jer. 11:15) and His "bride" (Rev. 21:2). Not only did God create romance, He uses romance to describe the relationship He wants with us.
With all of that in mind, why did I advocate so strongly against Twilight based on the fact that it creates a fixation on romance among the readers and movie watchers? Just because romance is God’s idea, does that mean we should ingest it every opportunity? These are complex questions, but the answer seems fairly simple. Not all romance is the same. And not all forms of love are God-honoring. I like "Tee’s" advice to "trash the trash," but how can we tell what is a healthy portrait of romance and what is garbage?
While I don’t agree with everything she wrote, I’m so glad "Tee" wrote her honest and thoughtful comment because it gives me an opportunity to ask you an important question: What is love? And what is the difference between the kind of love that can lead to lust, longing, or an unholy fantasy life, such as that found in Twilight, and the kind of love that puts the Gospel on display?
I will share my thoughts with you tomorrow, but for now I want to hear from you. How do you define love? What are the litmus tests you use to determine if a romantic book, movie, TV show, or relationship is healthy or toxic to your heart?