A Rejection Letter


Dear aspiring young “Christian Greys,”

I’ll be honest, this latest trend has left me bewildered, heartbroken, and very afraid for you. I’m afraid because the things that have hurt and broken you, leaving you less than you were ever meant to be, are now being applauded, encouraged, and dressed up as love. I’m afraid because the road you are on is a dangerous one, and it’s not going to end the way you hope.

I’m sorry that life has been unkind to you. I’m sorry that you’ve been encouraged to settle for money when you needed so much more. I’m sorry that pain has twisted your idea of love until all you have left is a distorted reflection in a broken mirror.

And I feel I must tell you something else. I have two daughters and you are not what I want for them. No matter how beautiful and charming you think you are, as a boyfriend you will not be welcome in our home. You see, we believe that love is about putting someone else first, even when it’s difficult. We believe that hurting people to make yourself feel good is cowardly and weak. We believe that abuse and violence of any kind are wrong. It’s not romantic, it’s not attractive, and it certainly isn’t love.

I can’t tell you how to live your life. You have every right to make your own choices. However, I do have the right to choose the kind of love I will pursue and I am praying my daughters will have the courage to do the same. I am praying they will find someone who is man enough to love them when they make mistakes and admit it when he makes them too. I’m praying that the man lucky enough to win their hearts will realize that their bodies will not always look the way they do in their twenties and that he’ll be ok with that because he knows love is so much more than physical attraction.

I’m praying they will have the privilege of experiencing love that has grown in the furnace of heartache and laughter and forgiveness and time. Most of all, I’m praying that, despite all the images they are bombarded with, they will choose to listen to the voice of a God who loves them utterly and wants to give them a relationship that is a small reflection of that infinite, sacrificial, “always and forever” love.

I realize that what I’m saying to you will probably not be well received. You’ll think I’m a prude or a religious fanatic with no grip on reality. The truth is, I don’t really care about that. This morning I looked at my two beautiful girls, so full of hope and expectation, and I realized that, for their sake, I had to take a stand for love. And so, this Valentines Day, I am taking the opportunity to tell you that I totally and unashamedly reject your definition of love.


Heidi Johnston is the author of Life in the Big Story and Choosing Love in a Broken World. She studied law at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland and now lives back home in Northern Ireland with her husband and two daughters. Heidi is passionate about getting people to engage with the Bible for themselves and has a fascination with the book of Deuteronomy.


  1. Aden S

    Wow, Heidi, this is brutally honest and beautifully put! As a young man entering the marrying years, this is such a wonderful reminder to me of what true Love is in relation to my, Lord willing, future wife. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I wept at this letter, because I long for the day when there won’t be a need to write these kind of letters. A day when Christ is there physically at last with His bride whom He sacrificed Himself for!

    Thank you again. I will certainly share this! Thank you also for putting the Gospel forward on such an issue where others fear to tread!

  2. Emily

    Yes! I don’t have daughters, I have two boys. We are going to war against this kind of thinking, in our community and in our home. We are raising men of valor.

  3. Lourdes

    I couldn’t have said this any better. Thank you so much for this. I, too, have two daughters that I’m trying to raise according to God’s word.

  4. Jennifer

    I love this letter!!!! AMEN!!!!! I also agree with everything you are saying and I don’t want a man like this for my daughter no one even near this! I take a stand with you and I assure you this movie will not be seen by me or my daughter.

  5. wes pelle

    I don’t have children but I’ve been married 31 years and absolutely agree with this letter. I’ve made horrific mistakes in my marriage but God rescued me by His grace and is continuing to make me the husband and man he designed me to be. The glory is His and we are enjoying the blessings of His work of grace.

  6. Barbara

    yup, this is the love I’m glad my daughters have found and that I hope all daughters find…no Mr. Grays, please.

  7. Faye

    Thank you for these words! I raised a daughter ( who posted this) and three sons. It was a daily prayer that my daughter would understand her worth and pray and seek Gods face for her partner and that she would recognize any kind of abuse and run from it ! I prayed that my sons would seek God as well as they searched for the one that God had for them and I taught them how to treat and care for that special person! As of last year all of my children are married to wonderful partners! I’m still praying for God to fill their homes with his love and that the things of this world would not enter and become stumbling blocks for them…it’s time for this nation to stand together and fight this spiritual warfare that is taking over and destroying our relationships!

  8. Guido

    It is as simple as this: if any couple needs anything beyond pure (Godly) love between each other to ‘get it on’, they will never be truly satisfied.

    No matter what tools and tricks and schemes they come up with, they will never taste the pure, perfect, incredible, exciting, fulfilling union that God meant ‘making love’ to be.

  9. Get a grip

    Come on, the whole premise of the story is that yes, he was broken due to past events be endured in his childhood and young life, but in the end he finally realizes what Love truly is and that’s what allows him to change, although some of the acts still might be different what what you may agree with, but just maybe they’re people that may actually enjoy it, so why pass judgement on those people. To each is own, right. I find this so one sided and unbelievable judgmental. In the end it’s two people who find each other and fall in Love and do not cross the boundaries the other does not want. But find a way to be together through all they’ve been through without hurting each other but finding that careful line that they both find they enjoy.

  10. JoeB

    I love this Heidi.

    I’m so sick of this culture constantly and unrelentingly tearing down and twisting what men are meant to be. From the buffoons portrayed in sitcoms and wireless commercials, to the psycho portrayed in this book trying to redefine the “normal” of men.

    This rejection is good.

  11. Aden S

    @Get a Grip

    I just wanted to point out, that Heidi did a very amazing at not being judgemental. In fact, she was simply defending what was biblical, and defending that which is biblical is not judgemental. After all, “we are to give an account of the hope within us with gentleness and respect,” (1 Peter 3:15) which Heidi has done so well!

    Please don’t take this the wrong way. But, “To each his own” is a very dangerous term for Christians to use. We all should be pursuing Holiness, rejoicing in that which is beautiful, and protecting what is true. So, when we “engage” in the watching of films like “50 Shades” we will desensitise ourselves to the deadly power and effect of sin in the culture and our lives. That is simply not honouring to The One who Sacrificed Himself, like Heidi pointed out, to the point of death to Love us. That is true, eternal, and Holy Love! The love we should be protecting, observing, and living out!

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