Tyler Perry’s Temptation: Beware of the Forbidden Dude

Posted: March 29, 2013 by Josh Kwasny in Drama
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Yesterday, I asked a few questions about Tyler Perry’s Temptation.  One concerned how this film might reflect the “forbidden women” in Proverbs 5.  I thought it might be helpful to spend a bit more time considering this biblical text.

In order to keep this post to a workable length, I will not include the entire chapter.  Consider reading it a moment before finishing the post.

Captain Obvious Alert: The forbidden woman is a dude named Harley in this film.

As I watched the trailer for Temptation, I was struck by a few things…


1. Temptation is often delivered with sweet words.

“For the lips of a forbidden woman drip honey, and her speech is smoother than oil…” (Proverbs 5:3, ESV)

Harley’s appeal is far more than his good looks and six-pack.  He uses kind words and flattery.  Notice how he “cares for her” by questioning her decision to marry her first love. “You have nothing to compare it too?”  Harley sweetly plants doubt in her heart. Does this sound like anyone else you know?  Satan? (you need to hear that in the voice of SNL’s Church Lady)

I love that the movie poster includes the snake and apple.  Harley’s smooth ways originate with the master deceiver, Satan.  Temptation to sin often comes to us in the same manner that led our first parents to fall.  A little doubt – delivered with sweet speech – can have tragically great effect.


2. Giving in to temptation has grave consequences.

“…but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. 5 Her feet go down to death; her steps follow the path to Sheol…” (Proverbs 5:4-5, ESV)

Although we only get a glimpse of it in the trailer, things don’t seem to go so well for Judith as a result of giving in to Harley’s pursuit.  I hope that Tyler Perry’s version reflects the truth of the Scripture.  Death is at the end of this road.  Adultery reeks havoc on individuals, families, and communities.

Although there can be wonderful stories of repentance, forgiveness, and reconciliation after adultery, there are often scars that remain.  “Wormwood” (Prov 5:4) is a bitter tasting plant that leaves its mark on the tastebuds.

marriage-counselor023. The path to satisfaction is found in pursuing your own spouse.

15 Drink water from your own cistern, flowing water from your own well…18 Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in the wife of your youth, 19 a lovely deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts fill you at all times with delight; be intoxicated always in her love. (Proverbs 5:15-19, ESV)

Temptation to sin (especially in the area of marital unfaithfulness) is particularly appealing when selfishness abounds.  Instead of asking how to serve your spouse, you start asking what he or she has done for you lately.

When we look inward, it is easy to become the victim and dwell on the ways our spouse fails us.  When my eyes are on me – I am in a dangerous place.

Proverbs 5:15-19 encourages us to pursue marital happiness by enjoying the one God has given us.  It is amazing the difference in a relationship when each spouse makes it their goal to serve the other.  Paul puts it this way:

3 Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. 4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. 5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus… (Philippians 2:3-5, ESV)

May God grant the strength to resist temptation when it comes.


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