In the classic 1991 animated movie Beauty and the Beast, Gaston is the town’s strapping, egotistical hero. He’s a “manly man” admired by the locals and desired by many of the town’s younger women. Most seem to be huge fans of Gaston and overlook his obnoxious ways, except for the young and beautiful Belle.
At the start of the film, Gaston meets Belle on the street and takes the book she is reading. “How can you read this?” Gaston asks her. “There’s no pictures. . . . It’s time you [Belle] got your head out of those books and paid attention to more important things, like me.”
Gaston is a modern-day version of the Old Testament character Absalom—King David’s third son. The book of 2 Samuel describes him in the following terms: “Now Absalom was praised as the most handsome man in all Israel. He was flawless from head to foot. He cut his hair only once a year, and then only because it was so heavy. When he weighed it out, it came to five pounds!” (2 Samuel 14:25-26).
Like Gaston, Absalom appeared to be stuck on himself—especially his hair. Ironically, it was his long locks that led to his final undoing. During an intense battle against his father’s forces, Absalom was killed after his full head of hair got caught in the thick branches of a large tree and it left him dangling before his enemy (2 Samuel 18:9-14).
Solomon, the younger brother of Absalom, later wrote, “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Perhaps one of the ways he learned this was by seeing how arrogance led to his brother’s demise.
Holy Spirit, please make us aware of the destructive pride that potentially lurks within all of us.
by Jeff Olson