Taking a Stand; Beauty and The Beast
I think it was over a year ago that we first saw the preview for Beauty and the Beast and my two daughters, Audrey and Emma, squealed with excitement and delight. We had just returned from a family trip to Disney World and princesses and magic were still fresh on their minds and in their hearts. I will admit I was not quite as excited to see it as they were. I rarely get too jazzed about movies anymore. It seems anytime we venture as a family to see a movie I leave disappointed, offended, and about $75 poorer than when we arrived.
After the opening of the film, commentaries and opinions flooded Facebook and social media about the inclusion of a gay character and inappropriate content. People vowed not to see it in protest although, it did not seem to have any effect on box office sales. After a few explanations of what all the fuss was about from trusted sources, I decided it was a safe choice, and the girls and I joined some friends to see the movie to celebrate Audrey’s 14th birthday.
I expected nothing more than to delight my girls with a well-known story, played by a much-loved actress, accompanied by familiar songs.
When my girls were young we must have watched the animated version of the story a million times. I knew it well. And the live version did not stray from the original. But, maybe it was the real people acting it out that struck a chord with me. Maybe it was God’s constant message to me lately of His love for us. But, the theme of this movie was surprisingly moving to me.
Love changes us.
This well known tale is full of truth and the transforming power of love. The beast was changed by Belle’s love. When he felt accepted and cared for and truly seen he changed. His anger was a secondary emotion that came from fear. Fear of never being known or loved because of what he appeared to be. And Belle could only truly love the beast when she was free, and not forced by fear or obligation. But, when she was free to she love him before his outward transformation matched his inner transformation.
As believers, at the moment of our salvation, we take on Christ. He dwells in us and lives through us. Our outside does not always match the inside, but the transformation takes time. It takes us truly believing that He did this when we were at our worst, and His love for us is what changes the outside, the appearance, the behavior.
I am not spoiling anything for you or giving away any juicy secrets. I am sure we all know this fairy tale is about true love. But. I do think we forget. Love is what changes hearts. And we proved our ignorance of this fact by vomiting our disgust and opinions all over Facebook.
Social media has given us a platform that is our own worst enemy at times. We tout “taking a stand for Christ” or “speaking the truth in love.” Friends, there is nothing loving about it. It is kin to saying “no offense” before insulting someone. I think if this is how we take a stand, that Jesus would be the first to ask us to please step down.
Jesus only called out sin to religious Pharisees that claimed to know the heart of God better than He did, and yet they completely missed the mark. Hearts were changed by his love. He broke bread with the most hated people, he hung out with the most despised. He did not ask them to be different. He just saw them and loved them. They were changed by him, and they still are.
This is why we are called to love. To show his love, to change hearts, not behavior.
So, the anticipated offensively gay part of the movie that was supposed to make me cringe and cover the eyes of my 11-year-old came and went. I was not offended or appalled. Maybe because I had been well prepared by Facebook commentary, or maybe because the Lord had prepared me by sitting through a movie that’s entire story was about love and how gracious and powerful it is.
We can not give what we have not received. When you have felt God’s unfailing love for you, you can then give it back, without fear, without holding back. You are his beloved. He loved you at your worst and nothing you do can change how he feels about you. He wants you to believe that and offer that to the world. And, If you want to take a stand, stand for love.
1 John 4:7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
Enter His rest,