The Help was a beautiful movie that will make you angry, laugh, and maybe even cry.
I got angry at the prejudice against other Americans just because of the tone of their skin. Some parts made me (and others in the theater) laugh so hard our eyes watered. But then there were the heart-wrenching parts that could easily draw a tear.
While mostly clean, The Help did contain a fair share of foul language in select scenes (and plenty of taking God’s names in vain), rather than spread throughout.
But for a family with older children, The Help could be a good movie to spark discussion about America’s past and present prejudices against people just because of outward appearances.
Warning: the remainder of this post and the podcast contain spoilers.
Obviously, The Help is structured around the prejudices against people of dark skin. These people were treated as a disease.
Scripture says very little about the “color” of one’s skin, certainly nothing to encourage prejudice. When people groups were recorded negatively or received judgment, it was because they were enemies of God and had taken from Him. But their particular ethnicity was not the cause.
“God don’t pay no mind to color once he sets a tornado lose.”
“… He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” [Matthew [5:45], NASB]
Opening his mouth, Peter said:
“I most certainly understand now that God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him.” [Acts [10:34]–35, NASB]
Some may claim the “curse of Ham” (one of Noah’s three sons) was why “blacks” from Africa were enslaved. There is an unbiblical view.
In Jesus’s parables, He often used people from different cultures to illustrate that we should show love even to those not from our same people group.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? [Matthew [5:44]–46, NASB]
We recommend the resources on “races” from Answers in Genesis to learn more.
A common theme in The Help was for families to have hired help, who did all the cleaning, cooking, and even child-raising for the wealthy “white” families. One little girl even said to her mother’s maid, “You’re my real momma.” Aibileen went so far as calling one of these couples “unfitful parents.” quote and said she “shouldn’t be havin’ no more chil’ren.”
This child-raising for others came at the cost of the maids’ never getting to be parents to their own children.
Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward. [Psalm 127:3, NASB]
“He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.” [Malachi 4:6, NASB, cross-reference Luke [1:17]
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. [Ephesians 6:4, NASB, emphasis added]
For the black women of Jackson, MS to tell their stories took courage, and this is not neglected in The Help‘s retelling. It’s even said that courage is doing what’s right even when it’s hard. The women were convinced this was the right thing to do.
While it’s good to stand up for what’s right, “right” means something different to everyone without God’s absolute morals.
Don’t be fooled by “courage,” as it can sometimes seem courageous to do the wrong things.
Skeeter’s dying mother praised Skeeter for bringing “courage back to this family.” But Skeeter’s only courageous move was to write and publish the stories. How courageous was Skeeter away from her paper?
During a sermon, we hear, “Love is putting yourself in harm’s way for others,” which is well supported by Scripture.
“The second is this, ‘ YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” [Mark [12:31], NASB]
Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends. [John [15:13]
We also hear the phrase, “love your enemies,” which comes from Jesus’s own sermons (although Jesus was not credited for that).
“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” [Luke [6:27]–36, NASB]
So many movies speak of “the truth.” In The Help, the “truth” was merely the account of what really happened.
Aibileen warned Skeeter by asking, “What if you don’t like what I have to say about white people?” To which Skeeter replied, “It’s not about me.” Skeeter was after recording and sharing the truth, in order to stop the terrible treatment.
Among the last lines of the movie, Aibileen says, “Loving our enemies can be hard, but it starts by telling the truth.” Then she said something similar to Jesus’s own words.
So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” [John [8:31]–33, NASB]
- One woman used her Christianity as a wrongful excuse for not giving to her maid who was in need. She even put words in God’s mouth that He never said.
- It’s humorous that Skeeter’s editor said she should “write it before this whole civil rights thing blows over.” But it’s also sad that we still face similar issues of prejudice in the heart of man.
- The funniest part of The Help is, sadly, also quite offensive with its foul language and gross descriptions. This action is revisited several times but is never condemned. “Eat my [poop].”
Side thought: are Christians prejudice?
Take The Help but replace the blacks with a different group of people. For example, homesexuality-practicing gays and lesbians. How does that change things?
Actually, that scenario changes many things because homosexuality is a willful rebellion against God’s law and perversion of His creation.
One of the ways God calls us Christians to live is to love our enemies, as we’ve already shared.
Hating those who sin is not being an instrument of God’s love. While we should still preach the truth without compromise, our goal she be to bring others to God because we love them, not for us to condemn others because of their sin.
After all, there is no different hell for gays and lesbians than there is for us before receiving Christ’s sacrifice.
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