What ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Taught Me

(Photo courtesy of imdb.com)

What ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Taught Me

By Maxine O’Loane

“Never judge a book by its cover.” I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase before. The themes and overall moral of the film is to never make assumptions about a person simply based on the way they look. Growing up this “life lesson” was the moral of more children’s books and movies than I can remember. Most of the time the message was subtly hidden within the storyline. You know, one of those “read between the lines” types of lessons. At least they were for me, and then Beauty and the Beast came along. Though I loved being “Under the Sea” with Ariel and sight seeing with Aladdin’s “Magic Carpet” in Agrabah, neither compared to this movie. There’s actually a Disney Princess who was just as much of a bookworm as me? What? As a kid I thought this was the coolest thing ever. Truth be told, I get just as excited watching it now as I did when I was a kid.

One thing I’ve come to appreciate about it more over the years is the strong message: not being too quick to judge others. This was all because Belle was able to look past appearances and see people for who they really were. Take Gaston for example, physically fit, strong jaw line and hair any girl would love to have. He was the most eligible bachelor in the town, men wanted to be him and women wanted to date him. And while all the women seemed to completely ignore his arrogant personality, that’s all that Belle could see. She uses this same discernment whenever she talks to the Beast. However, as the story progresses and Beast opens up, we notice that her perception of him changes as well. Because, the more she tries to get to know him the more her feelings develop towards him. And we all know what happens next, because it truly is “ a tale as old as time.”

What I learned from years of watching this movie is that Belle really lives by the phrase “ don’t judge a book by its cover.” She lives this quote out until the very last scene. In the movie she deals with two extreme cases including both Gaston and the Beast. Each of these men were perceived in a certain way by the world’s standards and a completely different way in Belle’s eyes. Everyone saw Gaston’s good looks and ignored his arrogance, while Beast was ignored and feared until Belle came along and saw who he truly was.

You see, she fell in love with the man that nobody was willing to see because of his intimidating appearance. Obviously this lesson can apply to so much more than just a love story. It can be applied to everyday life. Take a chance on someone you might normally steer away from. It’s all up to you, so take your pick. It can be as easy as sitting and eating with the “weird” kid who eats lunch alone, or sitting next to the “scary man” with tattoos and scars covering his face and arms. Maybe its striking up a conversation with “that” person in the office lunchroom and genuinely asking how their weekend was.

Not judging people based on first impressions can be tough. If you think about it, it’s something we’ve all done since we were kids. We were always told to stay away from all strangers.  Now, even though I want to say we should all be like Belle, its more fitting to say we should be more like Christ. The Bible states, in 1 Samuel 16:7, “…people will look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” If God can look past our appearances and sinful hearts and still love us, why can’t we do the same? As believers we need to strive to be Christ-like. So why not start with breaking our habit of judging those who look different from us. Take a chance and get to know someone you might otherwise steer clear from throughout your everyday life. You may feel hesitant at first, but imagine how you could impact their day with just a smile and a simple “Hello!”

“She warned him not to be deceived by appearances, for true beauty is found within.”

– Beauty and the Beast