…A kiss is just a kiss, as time gooooooeeeeessss by….Okay, I won’t post the whole song. You’ve seen Casablanca, or heard of it. The famous song from the movie reminds me of “a book is just a book”, a phrase I’ve been hearing a lot lately. Recently, I shared an article with some friends comparing 50 Shades of Grey and romance novels for women to pornography for men. Most of the reactions to the article have been “a book is just a book”, “it’s not real”, or “you have to be able to separate fiction from fact”. The problem is, most women who get enamored with these kinds of books don’t know how to separate fact from fiction. At least their actions suggest they don’t. Consider how obsessed some women are with the fictional Mr. Grey. I’ve seen more pins on Pinterest than I can count glorifying Mr. Grey as a romantic, powerful, sexy man. A lot of women are swooning over him like a plate of fresh baked brownies, or something much more deviant entirely. Twilight may not be the same kind of book as Grey, but look at the obsession with Edward and Jacob. For most mega-fans, Twilight is not “just a book”. There are ladies who believe Edward is the ideal guy. Most real men do not sparkle.

Maybe you aren’t one of those women.  As I said in Read This, Not That, I’m not going to try to play the role of Holy Spirit in your life. I am going to ask you to think about the excuses you make for reading books like 50 Shades of Grey or romance novels for women (I’m not talking about G rated romantic comedy style novels). No, I haven’t read Grey. I have read many reviews and have talked with several women who have read it, so I have a pretty good idea of the contents. Have I ever struggled with lust? Yes, just like any other human being. I’m not here to condemn you, I’m asking you to give your life to Christ completely, including your thought life and the books you read. Here are more of the excuses I’ve heard women make for their lust after Mr. Grey.

Other women do it. Their marriages have been enhanced by these books.

I’m trying to spice up my marriage. I think of my husband as I read, not the fictional characters.

What I read privately does not hurt or impact anyone, including myself.

It’s just for fun. Just harmless summer beach reading.

It’s just a story. I don’t let it impact my real life.

Books are just words. It’s not like I’m looking at nude pictures or videos.

I’m not a bad example. My kids don’t know about what I read. They know my books are off limits.

Do any of these sound familiar? Have you used these to excuse reading other books? These are also excuses men often make for viewing pornography. We would be offended and outraged if our boyfriends or husbands showed us a new website filled with porn and made excuses like the ones above. What’s so different about a book of pornographic words? But, it has a story. A love story. Anastasia really loves him. She is going to change him! Yep, just like men read Playboy for the articles and all porn videos have a “story”.  Ladies, please don’t be fooled.

Check out Steve Arterburn at newlifelive.com for more information about the impact pornography has in lives and marriages.