I have had literally no less than 15 emails, direct messages and comments sent to me this week about the new Beauty and the Beast movie. I so want to write a post that is thoughtful, kind and helpful about the subject of this “exclusively gay moment” director Bill Condon put into this highly anticipated movie.
In fact, it’s what I want to do every time I write movie reviews. It’s why I’m so passionate about making movie reviews and discussion guides–so parents can have tools to talk with their kids about all kinds of issues while pointing them to God’s Word.
I wanted to write about the costumes, the music, the acting, the absolute gorgeousness of this movie but can’t even get there because of all the controversy this movie has stirred up.
And I hate controversy.
No matter what you say when addressing a controversy, there’s going to be someone to argue back to you. Don’t believe me? Write a slightly hot-topic Facebook update and see what happens. Go read comments on any of my posts where I mention something I believe is black-and-white about theology.
But here’s what I’m struggling with–I have gay friends. I’m pretty sure they know my true thoughts about marriage and same-sex attraction. I’m also pretty sure they believe I love them. Because I do. If I write that I think you should hide your kids from LaFou dancing with another male character in a Disney movie, what will that tell them?
On the other hand, I struggle with knowing I have this big audience who is literally waiting on me, asking me my opinion about how to talk to their kids about homosexuality. And they will probably take my advice. What if I don’t articulate it correctly?
Basically, here’s what it boils down to: I’m sad.
I’m so sad that Christians have to yell online and in the media about things they don’t like. I wish Christians were known in culture for loving everyone. People who were nothing like Jesus, liked Jesus. Do people who are nothing like me, like me?
In my real life, I don’t know these loud, mean Christians. The godliest people around me spend afternoons doing homework tutoring with at-risk kids who have illegal-immigrant parents. The Christian men I know work 10 hour days and then come home and make dinner for their wife. Christians in my life adopt kids of a different race and love them as much as their biological children. The God-lovers I know drive an hour to eat lunch with refugee families and help them acclimate to American life. They empower kids, serve women and put others first.
I’m also sad that our current culture wants to push agendas they think are important knowing full-well millions of people disagree and are even offended by. Why do we have to make statements all the time? Why can’t we just tell stories? Why do we have to march? Why do we have to make everyone agree with us?
Here’s what I want to say to Christian parents who are sad and even scared about seeing this movie with their kids:
- Don’t be shocked. This is our world, friends. Like Barrett Johnson said, “if you are a disciple of Jesus, this is not your home. If the world fits, you’re the wrong size.” We cannot and are even commanded not to judge outside the church. Why wouldn’t a director put in something he thinks is important in his own movie? He can do whatever he wants.
- Don’t be scared. If you haven’t decided how you are going to talk to your kids about sexuality and sexual immorality, you need to figure that out. As a mom of a tween girl, I know how quickly life changes from tea parties to training bras. Prepare yourself. Decide what is important to you. Know what you want your kids to know.
- Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill. I’m not suggesting that sexual immorality is a molehill. But I am saying a 2 second scene in a Disney movie MIGHT be a molehill. It still might be a molehill you don’t want your kids to see, but don’t turn this into something that causes others pain or promotes disharmony.
This movie may be an opportunity for you to talk to your kids about big issues. Just deciding to see it may be the thing you talk about. My kids and I were reading an amazing, unputdownable kids’ book a few months ago and after we were about 3/4 of the way through it, in the middle of a sentence, I realized the book was going in a sinful direction I had not been anticipating. I literally had to stop reading and tell the kids we couldn’t read it out loud until I finished it first.
They were mad. And when I finished reading it, I didn’t read it to them. It wasn’t appropriate for my kids’ ages or for their naiveté, which I am trying to protect.
I had to have a big discussion with them about why we weren’t going to read it. I told them something I read in Corrie tenBoom’s book when she asked her dad what “sexual sin” was. He asked her to pick up a big suitcase they were traveling with. She couldn’t do it because it was too heavy. He said, “That’s what this sin is. It’s too heavy for you now. One day, it won’t be. And I will tell you about it when you are wise enough to handle it. But for now, I will hold that burden for you.” (not an exact quote)
Look. This is about more than deciding if you should see a movie or not. This is about raising Daniels in Babylon. This is about walking the line of truth and grace. This is about wise as serpents and innocent as doves. This is about being a parent who can confidently lead their kids because they are confidently following Jesus.
Hopefully, this controversy will remind you as it has me to be aware of what my kids watch and ingest. I pray you will parent intentionally based on the knowledge and understanding you have of Scripture. And if you haven’t thought about getting ahead of your kids in that way, I pray you will do so from now on. Watching or not watching a movie with your kids is not the thing. The thing is leading your kids to God’s Word with whatever tools you can.
I hope I get to help you with that.
And if you are one of my gay friends, and you read this and heard me hating you or disrespecting you or looking down on you, hear me now: I love you. I love you more than you think I do. I pray for you–not to not be gay. I pray you have a good day, that your kids are protected and grow up kind and strong. I pray you are happy and loved. I pray you’ll know Jesus in an intimate and amazing way. I pray you’ll know His love for you. And mine.
And for those who stuck with me and still want to know what I thought of the Beauty and the Beast movie, here’s my movie review and family discussion guide.
I attended a pre-screening of Beauty and the Beast as a member of the media. All thoughts, opinions and words my own. Photo property of the Disney company.