questions to ask yourself before watching Redeeming Love

I believe I am among a minority of women who will not be watching the movie, Redeeming Love. Francine Rivers is really a great author and I have read a lot of her books. Her writings helped turn me into a reader! Yet, I have my precautions when it comes to watching her book-turned-movie.

Before I dive in, stick with me for a few moments and let me give you my back story into becoming a reader. It started with an author name Lori Wick. She wrote “Christian romance”, which now that I’m older and wiser, seems more like romance without the explicit sexual details. As a teenage girl, I was hook, line, and sinker into these romance books. Truth is, I can close my eyes and remember the way they made me feel reading them. Some Prince Charming man will come my way, sweep me off my feet, say all the right things at just the right time and apologize when he didn’t. This genre of books made me a voracious reader. To my detriment.

When I got married, I continued to read these books, and it most certainly impacted my feelings and thoughts towards my own husband. How ridiculous it must have been for me to compare my own flesh and blood husband to a fictional character! But I did. Somewhere along the way in my journey, the Lord revealed to me that these books were not good for me. It was not healthy for my spiritual life or my marriage to be so entrenched in romance novels even if they were ‘Christian’. Maybe you are different from me and you can read these kinds of books without comparison, without placing expectations on your husband, etc. For me, in my own life, it was a form of what is now termed ‘Mommy Porn’. The romance of it all swept me away into a different world and a false reality that if my romantic life didn’t look like these books portrayed, something was wrong. All I know is, I couldn’t continue to read romance novels after the conviction of the Holy Spirit. The Lord revealed that to me and I got rid of all of those books. Redeeming Love was one that I actually kept because it was based off of Scripture.

If you don’t know what Redeeming Love is about, it is a story-line based off the book of Hosea, a minor prophet in the Bible. If you’ve never read Hosea, he is commanded by the Lord to marry a prostitute. You read that right. Why on earth would God ask one of His prophets to do such a thing? Because His people were committing spiritually adultery through idolatry. This marriage was to be a picture of the way God loved His people Israel despite their love for other things that stole their attention and affection away from Him.

I will have to let you know it’s been a few years since I have read the book, and can’t say for sure how detailed it is when it comes to the sexual content of the book. But, when I saw the trailer for the movie, my heart sank. I knew it was a movie I just didn’t need to see. The nature of it all, a man marry a prostitute, is in and of itself sexual. I don’t need to watch it to understand the implications of what God was telling Hosea to do. I would have been embarrassed to have sat and watched the trailer with my husband, and I knew for certain I didn’t want him watching it! I even remember telling Greg how bummed I was, because I was excited for it to be a movie, too! I just knew for me, I this is not a movie I really wanted to watch. The images and scenes from the trailer left me disturbed, even knowing the context of the movie.

Redeeming Love has been rated PG13 for mature thematic content, sexual content, partial nudity, and strong violent content. You can’t say you don’t know what is in the movie before you go and see it.

Scripture is clear:

Don’t you know that your bodies are a part of Christ’s body? So should I take a part of Christ’s body and make it part of a prostitute? Absolutely not! Don’t you know that anyone joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For Scripture says, The two will become one flesh. But anyone joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. Flee sexual immorality! Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the person who is sexually immoral sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God with your body.

1st Corinthians 6:15-20

Now the works of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. I am warning you about these things—as I warned you before—that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

Galatians 5:19-21

Therefore, put to death what belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desire, and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, God’s wrath is coming upon the disobedient, and you once walked in these things when you were living in them. But now, put away all the following: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and filthy language from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self. You are being renewed in knowledge according to the image of your Creator. 

Colossians 3:5-10

For this is God’s will, your sanctification: that you keep away from sexual immorality, that each of you knows how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not with lustful passions, like the Gentiles, who don’t know God. 

1st Thessalonians 4:3-5

You see, we are to put to death the deeds of the flesh. We are to flee sexual immorality. Yet, we justify watching shows that have sexual content and nudity in them; whether they are Christian in nature or not (think: The Bachelor). If it is God’s will for our sanctification to come to fruition, and part of that happening is for us to keep away from sexual immorality, why would we fill our minds with sexual content?

And I know what you might be thinking…. “But Gail! What about the list of all the other sins? Why call out sexual immorality?” You’re right, there are a host of other sins we need to examine in ourselves as well. After all, anger and a filthy mouth are mixed in with sexual immorality.

Here is what I do know: We live in an “anything goes” culture. If you feel it, do it. If you feel like it, then it’s right for you and you can’t tell me not to do it. Dear fellow follower of Christ, we are called to be set apart, to be renew our minds, to be in the world but not of the world. I try really hard not to “should” on people and tell them what they do. I recognize that God does not command us, “Don’t go see this movie because…”

These are some questions to ask yourself: is it wise to watch a movie (any movie!) with sexual content or nudity? Do you want your husband to watch it with you, or is this a girls night out movie? Would you want your daughters to watch it? Can you honor God by watching this movie? Will this encourage you spiritually? Do you think it will draw you closer to the Lord?

I’m not going to tell you whether you should or should not go and see this movie. However, I would like to encourage you to have a conversation with your husband about it, watch the trailer, pray about it. I can hear some of you know, “Gail, it’s just a movie, and after all, it’s based off of Scripture!” I know. Go read Hosea and tell me if there is explicit sexual content in there. It doesn’t lead your mind to dwell on the sexual nature of the relationship between Hosea, Gomer, or those Gomer turned to in her adultery.

The things we take in, whether its a movie, a book, a conversation, a tv show, a song… they all impact us. We began using the Kids in Mind website to look at the reviews of language, sexual content, and violence before watching movies. It has been very helpful for us in deciding which movies we think are appropriate for our family and which ones may not be.

Remember the children’s song “Oh be careful little eyes what you see. Oh be careful little eyes what you see. For the Father up above is looking down in love. Oh be careful little eyes what you see.”? It may feel like a guilt trip reading that, but I encourage you, dear Christian friend, consider what you watch, listen to, read. Is it glorifying to God? Is it edifying to your spirit? It’s okay to not see the latest movie just because everyone else is, if it is not beneficial for your spiritual life. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. I strongly encourage you to take some time to consider the implications before rushing out to see this movie.

If you’ve made it this far, thanks for sticking with me. I hope you will know my heart is to encourage you, not tell you what you can and can’t watch. Entertainment is just one area of life we need to be set apart in, not the only one.

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2 thoughts on “questions to ask yourself before watching Redeeming Love

  1. Nathalie Graf says:

    Gail! You are spot on!! So thankful you wrote this! I swore off “Christian Romances” years ago for the exact reasons you mentioned and have never allowed the girls to read them. There is little difference between regular romance novels and of those by Christian women authors. They both set up your husband and/or future husband up for failures and us for false expectations! Love my WISE friend!!!

    1. Gail Marie Harris says:

      Thank you! And yes, unfortunately I had to learn that the hard way but I am so grateful the Lord revealed that to me while I was still young. Slapping a Christian label on something doesn’t make it beneficial for you to partake in. Love you too!

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