I did not know that Christian Greys really exist. I met one but his proposal was different from that of the Christian Grey that many of us know and our conversations were just online. It was a proposal undoubtedly one has to turn down but I was surprised to know something new about myself– a part of me wanted to consider it.
So unexpectedly one day, I met someone who made me doubt my views, someone who made me wonder if I were really depriving myself of all the fun this world offers, someone who hit that needy part of me that wants to give up everything I believe in and not think of anybody else but myself. He challenged my faith but I also felt challenged to change his mind and make him realize that what he wants is wrong. So I kept our lines open.
“Do not get me wrong. I have nothing against religion. I just do not buy into blind obedience. There are religious teachings that limit us from experiencing the fun the world has to offer.”
These are just some of what he said to try to convince me to give in. We argue about religious beliefs and the difference of cultures. One time when I tried to argue that I am still legally bound to someone, he said:
“That is just unfair. Legality is just paperwork. You have to stop depriving yourself. I want you to have fun. You are too serious with everything like having fun is a bad thing. Lighten up and have fun.”
Then it hit me. His words struck me: “Why don’t you do something for yourself and not think that people will judge you? Why don’t you do something everyone else is doing and not make yourself different from others.”
Am I really depriving myself? At that time I felt that instead of me swaying his views, my views will be swayed if I continue to speak with him so I deleted him. Fortunately, we never got the chance to meet and I can just cut him off my life. But it was hard. Arguing with him entertained me a lot and distracted me from wanting anything else.
I know that when something does not draw you closer to the Lord, it is okay to leave. But I also know that there should be joy in following the Lord. Why was I sad? Why did I ever doubt if my decision to stay away is right? Because I was hurt trying to control what is slowly entertaining me, I confirmed that despite my religious views, the world still has a grip on me. This affects what I value and what I think will make me happy.
Is he right that I am being legalistic? Have I set some rules or restrictions for myself like there are things I cannot do to earn salvation and follow God? Have I created a set of criteria that I can use to judge others? Do I try to punish myself for what I think I did wrong in the past? If so, my motives and desires are rooted on winning the Lord’s favor and not on the love that I have for Him.
You know my friend, someday many of us will realize that spirituality is not like a rewards point system that when you accumulate points, you get greater benefits. It does not mean that when you read the bible more often just for the sake of reading daily or going to church every Sunday will win you God’s favor or your prayers will be answered quicker than others’. It does not work that way.
This does not mean that I will now choose to live life as freely as I want to and not worry if I am doing something good or not but this makes me realize that I need to be more cautious. I need to protect my heart a little more by drawing even closer to God, because when I really, really find that true joy, I will not struggle when making decisions and my choices will always be aligned in the goodness brought by loving God.
There are people who do not share the same views as ours but we must not forget to respect each other despite our differences. I still thank ‘Mr. Grey’ for helping me discover this part of me that needs a little more guidance.
I pray that we all stay strong in the Lord.
“Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body: not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” Colossians 2:20-23