Why Belle's love for the Beast is a challenge for Christians

A scene from the live-action remake of 'Beauty and the Beast.'Disney

With the release of the live-action remake of Disney's 1991 classic, "Beauty and The Beast," comes a new twist to a tale as old as time. I'm not just referring to the first line of the theme song, but also to a tale that I am reminded of after watching the film (with my daughter in case you were wondering). That's the tale of Christ's love for us.

I'm pretty sure the gospel had nothing to do with the plot of the film, but it's so hard to miss glimpses of the love story between us and God and how that compels us to love unconditionally just as Belle loved the Beast the same way.

Yes, it's just a fairy tale I know, but there is a powerful love that goes beyond just a childhood film, and that love challenges us to receive the perfect love of Christ for us and—in response to that love—channel it to others.

Here are three challenges that Christians can get from "Beauty and the Beast."

1. Loving people at their worst

Inside every one of us is a beast. The Bible refers to it as the sinful flesh. That beast causes us to be selfish, arrogant, rude, and plainly just ugly on the inside. But Romans 5:8 also tells us this: "But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." God loved us at our worst and Jesus died for us when we were still monstrous sinners.

And just as Belle loved the Beast—just as Christ loves us—we are commanded now to love others. John 13:34 says, "...just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another."

2. Love is the antidote to our curse

We see in the story of "Beauty and the Beast" how the solution to the curse that had befallen the prince and his servants was love. Likewise, we humans are all under a curse. Because all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, we are now stained with curses and with death.

But in His love for us, God sent His only Son Jesus to break the curse by taking the curse for us. By God's abounding love for us only is the curse lifted and in return we are asked only to respond to that love in the most natural way possible—to love God.

3. Love that serves unconditionally

Another lesson we can learn is from the servants turned furniture. In one part of the movie Lumière delivers this line: "Life is so unnerving, for a servant who's not serving."

In many ways, the Christian life is like that. In a world that teaches us to serve the self and our own interests, we can't help but acknowledge how unnerving life can be when we serve no one else but ourselves.

Just as Jesus came down to serve and not be served (Matthew 20:28), He calls us to serve one another and to serve His purposes. It is when we are serving that we find the most satisfaction in this life.

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