Beauty and the Beast Is a True Story

beauty and the beast
I woke up this morning with two things on my mind. The story of Beauty and the Beast, and this verse from John 1:

There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.

Beauty and the Beast is not an ordinary fairy tale. The rescuer is not a prince on a white horse, but a woman of virtue and a pure heart. This fairy tale has been around for years in the oral traditions of several cultures. I believe it came from God.

The beast is selfish. He demands a human sacrifice for Beauty’s father taking a rose from his garden.

Beauty offers her life in return for her father’s.

She lives with the Beast, and eventually truly loves him, which destroys the beast, revealing the prince within.

True love conquers all.

This is what the gospel is all about.

This is not the gospel that is being preached. The gospel that is being preached has a lot to do with having the right beliefs, which vary from denomination to denomination. It often has to do with following a set of rules that we probably aren’t even supposed to worry about.

Jesus and his disciples were not preaching Jewish Mosaic law to the people. They were preaching — and showing love. They were eating with the undesirables of society, challenging hateful judgementalism. Love permeates the gospel. Jesus’ feet were washed with a woman’s hair and today’s equivalent of $35,000 or so worth of perfume. What love.

Jesus wept at the tomb of Lazarus. What love.

Jesus cast out demons easily. I think love had something to do with it. Darkness can never, ever overshadow light. Light, on the other hand, is a different story.

The Beast Prince was overtaken by a demon, it seems. What caused the demon to break away from the prince? Love.

Love heals. Jesus didn’t mind “breaking the Sabbath” to heal a blind man. He followed the law of love, which as He says,

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

All the laws have to do with love for God and other people. If you commit an act of adultery, you are not being loving. Stealing and killing are not loving. Worshiping idols (money, good looks, other people) is not loving towards God. Sleeping around tends to be exploitative and selfish, not loving. Lying/gossiping about others — not loving.

Much of this seems to have gotten lost in our quest to understand the Old Testament and reconcile it to the gospel, however. I know that many, many people will disagree, but I’m not convinced we were ever supposed to worry about it. I don’t think Paul went around preaching the 10 Commandments and the meaning of the book of Daniel to the Gentiles. He was preaching the salvation of Jesus — what I think of as the “Law of Love.”

Hundreds of years ago, people didn’t have access to books. They had to listen to the word of God preached by priests, who had an investment in making people more afraid of their sin than the underlying lack of love, because this gave the church money and power. Thank goodness for an oral tradition that nevertheless revealed the truth of God.

Many Christians today have several translations of the Bible on their bookshelf. Why then, does the tale of Beauty and the Beast ring more true than the message one hears in many Christian churches today?

I have much, much more to write about this subject. Dreams, supernatural experiences, friendships — all of this is coming together to form one cohesive story of love and freedom in my life.