Okay, I admit it. Whenever I watch Disney’s animated feature film Beauty and the Beast, I cry.
I love the music. I get caught up in the story and look forward to the happy ending. The castle characters charm me with their all-too-human idiosyncrasies—motherly Mrs. Potts, self-important Cogsworth, romantic Lumiere. I hold my breath each time the enchanted rose drops another petal.
But it’s the ballroom scene that completely melts me. A beautiful girl in a beautiful gown dances with an elegantly dressed monster. Or is he a monster? We know from the look in Belle’s eyes that she has seen into the Beast’s heart and that she loves what she has seen.
The tale of Beauty and the Beast appeals because in it we recognize our own stories. We laugh at ourselves through the antics of the castle characters, and in the Beast’s redemption we hope to find our own. If we can believe the story, it means that true love can see past the ugliness of our sin into the beauty of our souls as God created us, and when we allow ourselves to be seen by Love, we are saved.
I can imagine myself dancing with my Savior, and although I would like to think I am the beautiful Belle, I know I am not. In the presence of perfect Beauty, I am painfully aware of my beastliness. Every ugly deed I have done, every unkind thought or malicious word, all seem to hang on me like a tattered garment, stark and accusing. I am an unmasked pauper in the arms of my King.
Yet when I have the courage to look into His face, I see only love, deep and steady and strong. And in the assurance of such love I, like the Beast character, find the courage to see my sins for what they are, and I want to change. I want to become as beautiful as the reflection of me I see in my Savior’s eyes.
How beautiful you are, my darling! Oh, how beautiful! ~~Song of Songs 4:1
Gracious God, how deep and steadfast is your love for me! Help me not only to recognize my sin but also to value the beauty you fashioned into my soul as a good and perfect reflection of you. Thank you for your redeeming love that covers my beastliness and gives me the desire and the means to change.
• Is there something particularly beastly about me that I am ashamed for God to see?
• Has anyone ever shown me love even though I was being a monster?
• What beautiful thing do I see in myself that God put there?
Written by Judith Ingram, author of A Devotional Walk with Forgiveness by Vinspire Publishing.
Please visit the author at her website: http://www.judithingram.com.
To view her book, A Devotional Walk with Forgiveness, please visit amazon.com.