We all know the beloved Disney version of “Cinderella.” In fact, she was my daughter’s favorite princess when she was 3. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen the Disney version. I have graciously sat through 100’s of screenings of that movie from our couch, even though the “weakness” of the Disney character made me cringe every single time. Julia couldn’t get enough of her—-and I just wanted to slap the Disney Cinderella upside the head: “Would you stop taking the abuse and just leave already! Save yourself from this pain!”
In the new, non-animated movie, Cinderella explains herself a little bit more. Grieving the loss of both her mother and father, she longs to stay in the familiar home that has been in her family for over 200 years. The house reminds her and brings her closer to a family she no longer has. She doesn’t want to abandon the memories of her family…her legacy. So, she takes on “courage” and “kindness” and is soft-hearted towards her verbally abusive, very cruel, and extremely bitter Step-Mother.
Her Step-mother is grieving the sudden loss of two husbands. No doubt that how she behaves in the movie is a complete reflection of grief….the woman obviously needed some counseling to work through her pain! But instead she turns her pain outward and projects it onto her two (“stupid”) daughters, and Cinderella. All three of the daughters are then subject to her over-controlling verbal and emotional abuse. It’s a sad situation for all three —- and all are dealing with some stage of grief.
Through out all the abuse, Cinderella never lashed back at her Step-mother or Step-sisters. Privately, she would cry over the loss of herself and becoming a servant to her step-family, but she continued to show the three women kindness and compassion. Somewhere in her heart she was probably hoping that through those two things, they would have a change of heart toward her.
My favorite part of this movie was the very last conversation between Cinderella and the Step-mother. We all know the story: the Step-mother’s cruel intentions are exposed and Cinderella tries on the glass slipper. It fits, of course, and then she rides off with the prince into the sunset. —-BUT before she takes off with the prince, she turns to her Step-mother, who is at a complete loss of words, and Cinderella says:
“I forgive you.”
Cinderella leaves the house and never looks back or hears from her Step-mother again. The irony is the cruel and abusive woman never asked to be forgiven….Cinderella chose to forgive her.
Cinderella was truly a free person. Even though the Step-mother didn’t ask for forgiveness, Cinderella shook the painful chains that bonded her to that woman and forgave her. Cinderella could move on with her new life, because she forgave the wrongs from the past.
This Sunday is Easter, and I can’t help but think about Jesus on the cross. He hung there in obedience to His Father, but it wasn’t without the human emotion of “If it is your will, Father, please take this cup.” (Luke 22:42)
Jesus followed His Fathers will all the way up Golgotha…..all the way to the nails in His hands…..all the way through the mocking of the soldiers, to which He said
“Father, forgive them.” Luke 23:34
Through His death, Jesus wanted freedom of forgiveness for ALL—even the soldier who mocked Him…..even for the soldiers who whipped Him….even for the friend who betrayed Him in His very hour of need…..even for you and me.
Matthew West has a song called “Forgiveness.”
“It’ll clear the bitterness away,
It can even set a prisoner free,
There is no end to what it’s power can do.
So, let it go and be amazed,
By what you see through eyes of grace,
The prisoner that it really free is you.
Following the path,
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