This past Saturday we took our girls to see the new Beauty and the Beast. We were so excited, and the girls had been looking forward to it for a long time. The movie was everything I thought it would be and more. The cast choices were perfect, the storyline held true to the original and a few extra details were added so that we discovered some things about both Belle and Beast that weren’t shared in the animated version. Overall, I think that Disney created an amazing, family friendly, movie worthy of spending the exorbitant amount of money to experience the film at the theater.
I don’t make a habit of reviewing movies often. The last one that I reviewed was Cinderella and it ended up being for about the same reason I feel led to share my opinions on Beauty and the Beast as well. I don’t watch a lot of movies, and what we decide is appropriate for our children is based on our own personal convictions. We choose carefully what we allow the girls to watch, trying to keep their viewing in line with what we think is acceptable for their age and maturity.
The being said, I was shocked to see the articles and statements that came out about Beauty and the Beast prior to it being released. Title after title, post after post, came up in my news feed, condemning the movie for a storyline that had, supposedly, been added regarding on of the characters in the film. It was said that Lefou, Gaston’s dweeby side kick would have his moment on screen revealing that he is both gay, and in love with Gaston.
The idea gave me pause before deciding to go ahead and take the girls. Not because I disagreed with Disney’s choice to make a point of creating a gay storyline for an already beloved movie, but because should that be case, I didn’t think that my girls were at a maturity level that was ready to handle the discussion that I would like to follow such a discovery.
Well, we clearly decided to go anyways, after doing some research and reading article’s from people who had actually seen the movie. And, I can tell you that, whether or not Disney intended for Lefou’s sexual orientation to become clear to the audience, there was nothing in the movie that would have led be to believe anything other than the fact that he was infatuated with Gaston because he wanted to be like him. But, you have to make the decision as to whether or not it is an appropriate choice for your family on your own…
That point, is not what led me to write this post as much as the reaction from those proclaiming to be Christians did.
It is no secret that I love the Lord. I believe that scripture is true, is not to be taken out of context and changed to meet our ever changing culture. I believe that God’s character does not change, and that He is exactly who He says He is.
But, my goodness…
What are we saying about Him when we lead with condemnation, shame and hurt? Here is what I also believe: there is not ONE person on this earth who doesn’t struggle with sin – believers and non believers alike. I struggle with a lot of things that the bible declares as sin. My daily life is a process of continuously trying, leaning on God and going to Him for forgiveness when in my own strength I find it hard to change.
What I don’t struggle with, is the decision to seek out a relationship with someone of the same sex. I can’t even begin to understand what the process is like to realize something about yourself that is hard, decide to pursue and attempt to live an open life in a society that is constantly seeking people to condemn or blame for all the problems of this world. My personal convictions lead me to believe that a homosexual lifestyle is not what God purposed for someone when He created them. However, I can also state that I am not living out exactly who God intended for me to be when He created me! I am a continual work in progress. Sin, struggle, growth and change are all a part of this fallen world.
But, my convictions also place me in a position to say that it is not okay to make someone feel unsafe because of their life journey. If God’s glory is supposed to come through me, if I am supposed to be a representation of who Christ is, then I should not be writing things that are hurtful, mean, shameful or threatening towards another person who I believe to be created by the same God who created me.
I need everyone to really stop and think – how are my word’s glorifying God? In what way is this statement making the person I am speaking to understand how much they are loved by God? Are my choices potentially adding bricks on a wall that is being built between this person and God?
Jesus came to earth and scolded the pharisees. He called out those who thought they were righteous. He tried to get those who were only concerned with the law to see the error of their ways. He spent time with the members of society who were seen in the eyes of others as “wrong”.
If He were here today, I have to believe that He would be scolding those who wrote hurtful and condemning things to others. He would call out those who use social media in a way that pushes people away from God. He would try to get those who separate themselves from those who believe they are better than the “sinners: to see the error of their ways.
We do not have to agree with a person’s choices in order to love them the way that the Lord calls us to love. All of our shaming isn’t drawing anyone nearer to the Lord. It isn’t creating any wave of change or revival. It isn’t revealing the true character of God.
The only truth that we can be sure of is this: each person was created by the same God, with a plan and a purpose and a journey. Each and every life that we come in contact with is an opportunity to play a supporting role in the story of one member of creation’s personal walk with God….
What character do you want to play? The villain or the hero?