What You Need to Know about “Love, Simon”

Written by Rebecca Carrell
Published on March 29, 2018

We are happy to give you a word from Rebecca Carrell today on the movie, Love, Simon. Rebecca Carrell is the Morning Show co-host at KCBI, a Christian radio station in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She is also the author of the popular blog called loveserveshine.com. Rebecca is married to Michael Carrell and is mother to Caitlyn and Nicolas. Rebecca’s personal prayer is that God would allow her to encourage others to know and grow in Christ. We hope you enjoy her words below.

I can give you a host of reasons to stay away from Love, Simon. None of them include that the story line centers around a gay teen.

Fully expecting to watch a tender drama unfold that wrestled with deep issues of acceptance and identity, I instead saw a major motion picture emulate a Disney Channel sitcom. You know the kind, where the adults bumble their way through life without a clue while the kids, rolling their eyes, take the reins.

Nick Robinson stars as Simon, a charming high school senior with a secret: he prefers guys over girls. He lives in a pleasant suburb and gets along well with his younger sister, a middle schooler studying the culinary arts.

Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel play Simon’s parents—who, by the way, call their children “sexually repressed” because they won’t watch a racy movie. After a typical high school party scene in which everyone drinks too much and the teens couple off, Mom and Dad shrug off their drunk son as he stumbles through the door. They rationalize with, “Well, he didn’t drive drunk and he made curfew.”

The movie works too hard for cheap laughs. The vice principal talks to the students about sex, hot dates, and his Tinder habits. The theater teacher admonishes a band member to “stop pretending your instrument is” his private part. Later, that same teacher hurls profanities and threats at two young men for bullying.

When another gay student posts an anonymous blog post on the school’s social media page, Simon responds. He and “Blue” forge an online friendship, confiding in each other and sharing each other’s burdens, if not their names.

The story takes a turn when Simon leaves his email open at school and another student, Martin (Logan Miller) captures and saves the screenshots. Martin uses the pictures to blackmail Simon into setting him up with Abby (Alexandra Shipp), a friend of Simon’s with no interest in poor, awkward Martin. So, Simon embarks on a mission to trick Abby into dating Martin, lying and manipulating his friends along the way.

The tangled web of deceit grows until Martin finally outs Simon. But his friends don’t flinch when they discover his secret. Instead, they express hurt and anger over his lies.

As expected, the story ties itself up with a predictable bow, and the movie ends with Simon and Blue kissing on the Ferris Wheel.

Kids should not see this movie.

Parents, on the other hand, might want to consider seeing it, if only for one reason.

Getting Real

This is your kids’ reality. If you have a preteen or teen, they have a Simon, even if they don’t know it yet. My eleven-year-old daughter came home from middle school one day to tell me about a gay boy in her class. My husband and I discussed sexuality early and often with our kids, so Caitlyn, prepped in advance, responded with love.

Not tolerance.

Not blanket acceptance of same-sex activity.

Just love.

This film invites us and challenges us as parents to enter the waters in which our children swim and ask, “What would I do if my son were Simon? What would I say if my daughter’s best friend identified as gay? Or transsexual? Or transgender?”

More Than Your Sexuality

The message that Love, Simon (and Hollywood in general) feeds our children reads like this: “Your feelings define you. You make your own truth. You must live out your truth to enjoy happiness and wholeness.” As Christians, we must rewrite the script.

Biblically speaking, God calls us to holiness (1 Peter 1:16), not heterosexuality. And the path to holiness looks like trusting Christ, shouldering our cross, and following him. But how does one convey such a weighty truth to teens? How does a teen talk about this to a peer struggling with same-sex feelings?

Authentically Honest 

With two kids and ten nieces and nephews, Mike and I have discussed at length what we would say should one come to us with a Simon-sized secret. After a hug that lasted at least thirty seconds, I would say something like this:

“I can’t imagine the pain you’ve wrestled with, keeping this a secret. Thank you for trusting me with this. I hope you know that nothing has changed between us. My love for you has never hinged on how you feel or what you do. I love you for you, and you can’t change that. Now, you know what the Bible says, and you know what I believe about acting out on your attraction. That doesn’t change either. But I am here for you anytime you want to talk about it, and I will never stop loving you. I will never reject you.”

Trust the Spirit

In a world that sees happiness as life’s highest pursuit, we must show our children that true fulfillment exists only in Christ. The author of Ecclesiastes tested almost everything one’s heart could desire—the Old Testament version of sex, drugs, and rock ‘n roll—and called all of it “meaningless,” “futile,” and “chasing after the wind” (Ecclesiastes 2:1–11). Life’s greatest pleasures, apart from Jesus, prove empty.

As parents, we must model a love of Christ and a reverence for his word. We pray for our children’s hearts and trust the Spirit to do the work that only he can do.

I don’t recommend Love, Simon as a fruitful way to pass two hours. I do, however, recommend you prepare yourself for the Simon who shows up in your life. What will you say? How will you respond?

Below, you’ll find a collection of resources I recommend for you to pray through.

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