It is Tech week over here at Beauty and the Beast! In case you did not know I am playing Maurice for this year’s ACU Homecoming musical this weekend! Some exciting stuff, I am currently writing this while listening to Gaston beautifully belting through the civic center. (I should actually probably start studying for a test I have tomorrow morning.. oh well.. I like writing more). So, I guess it goes without saying, this week is a busy week for Homecoming. But, still just as much fun as ever.
So. During this last week of rehearsals of Beauty and the Beast, I’ve decided to do some exciting analysis of the show…like I do with every show. Dawne Meeks, our director for the show, has used a great image of reference for the show: Light and Dark. Yeah, that is a broad reference but if used appropriately it can provide a strong base point.
Beauty and the Beast is a Disney musical, so I guess just realistically it can be hard to get to pull some great serious dramatic Oscar worthy moments, but I will say that it has got a beautiful story line about brokenness within the Light and Dark. It starts with a narcissistic prince who refuses to accept a rose from an old beggar woman, this woman turns out to be an enchantress…ooooooo…the enchantress then puts a spell on the prince and his castle because of his selfishness which fuels the darkness within him. This spell turned the prince into the beast and the remainder of the castle into various household items because they were the ones who enabled the prince to become this way. The rose offered to the prince is then used as a binding of curse unless the prince can learn to love before the rose wilts, until then, he will be stuck as the beast and his subjects as household objects. All hope seems to be lost until…the Beauty comes along, Belle. Belle finds herself in the castle because of the misfortune of her father, Maurice, which lands her in the custody of the Beast. Throughout the show we see both Belle and the Beast grow closer…
I’m not going to spoil it, even if everyone does know the story, there is still going to be that one person who has not heard of the story. You should watch it though.
Anyway— all this to say, over this last week I have found myself struggling in a way that I have not ever pictured myself struggling with. Grace. I have never imagined that I would struggle with such a beautiful but integral part of what Christianity is yet I refuse to accept that this gift that Jesus has already given to us, free of charge.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.2 Corinthians 12:8-9, ESV
I always hated being perceived as weak. I guess I still do. In my humility I would never admit that but because I am hiding behind my words I guess it is easier to say that here. Maybe I always hated it because of growing up with a hearing impairment I already felt like I was on a losing side. I mean, that is why it was so easy for me to make the choice of making this impairment a part of my identity, because if I do that, then it becomes a strength of mine. Not a reason for people to perceive me as weak. Another reason why it was so easy for me to give up on sports as a kid, I knew I was going to be one of the weaker ones on the field, why should I go on the field to prove that I am already a loser.
Okay, this may have gotten a bit too dark. Not my intention. BUT, it illustrates my avoidance of what weakness is to me, and how it is so easy for me to shrug off my need for grace.
20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,Romans 3: 20-24, ESV
I think it is easy for us to breeze past the majority of this and stick with the, “I have sinned and I fall short of the glory of God, but I am redeemed by Jesus, the Son of God.” Which is true! That is one hundred percent true. But, I think there is so much wisdom in verse 20. That through the law we are face to face with the knowledge of sin—we are tempted to sin because we are relying on the accountability of law instead of the accountability of a relationship with God. We see the law as a line that we cannot cross instead of a guiding principle towards our relationship with our Father.
I believe that is why I have struggled so deeply with grace. That I have the knowledge of the sin in my life but I have so stuck to the laws in my own eyes that I blind myself from accepting that I myself am broken and the only way I am made whole is through God.
It is this mentality that our culture has manifested for ourselves. The “you do you” culture, cancel culture, that I am enough. I think we have gone to extreme unhealthy versions of these cultures. Because we are not enough unless we have the sacrifice that Jesus gave us, in which He has redeemed us from our own brokenness.
The prince in Beauty and the Beast, I think, was a victim of believing that he was truly living within his own law, of this mentality that he does not need grace because his weakness is not noticeable. And why would he not notice it? He is being coaxed and enabled to be this way by those around him. There is a comfort in the darkness because in the light, your weaknesses are showing. There is no where to hide. And that is what Satan really likes to sell when it comes to leaving the dark. But that is not the actual product.
The actual product is grace. There is no shame. It is so hard to accept grace because we confuse it for shame. That is the lie that Satan sells.
But that is not our story. Our story does not end there, we are children of God. Sons of Thunder of which we strive and push to show our weakness because that is when the work of God shows the most. So yes, I do struggle with grace, I never thought I did until someone told me this week. Which I am so thankful for that conversation, even if it did rack my brain for a bit.
I am now finishing this blog during the finale of our run of Beauty and the Beast. Come watch it. A great story on light and darkness.