(Photo courtesy of thedissolve.com)
Keeping it Real with Pinocchio
By Zelda Dominguez
Pinocchio was Disney’s 2nd full length movie which came out in 1940. The original story was written in the 1800’s by Carlo Collodi and was quite shocking compared to Disney. I’ll refresh your mind with Disney’s version, and then tell you mine.
The story starts with a woodcarver, who made a puppet and wishes he would become a real boy. Gepetto creates things like God created us. Like a loving Father, God created heaven and earth and expressed his sincere desire that his creation would become a genuine being, and his child. He truly desires relationship.
A blue fairy appears and says if Pinocchio can be brave, truthful, and unselfish, he would turn into a real boy. She dubs the cricket, as Lord Conscious High Keeper of Right and Wrong, Counselor in Moments of Temptation. She tells Pinocchio, “be a good boy and always let your conscious be your guide, and the world is full of temptations that seem right at the time.” Gepetto awakes and Pinocchio calls him father for the first time. The Bible says we are a new creation when we become born again. I see the fairy like the Holy Spirit that comes into every new believer’s life. She gave him instruction like Proverbs 14:12, which says, “there is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.” She gives him a helper like it states in John 14:26: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.” Obedience and honesty was required. John goes on to say, “when the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth.” We must determine to hold fast to God’s command to be strong and courageous, so we can fulfill His will and come out on top!
The Next day Gepetto sends Pinocchio to school. On the way he runs into Worthington Foulfellow, aka Honest John, and Gideon, two con men that tempt him to take the easy road to success and lure him to become part of Stromboli’s show. They hype up the fact he would be in bright lights and famous. Jiminy tries to tell him that is temptation, but can’t stop him. The scene ends with Foulfellow taking Pinocchio the opposite direction, singing “An Actors Life For Me.”
A new follower of Christ is like a new born baby, still lacking spiritual maturity. Like Foulfellow, Satan masquerades himself and is a deceiver. Here this crook, subtly deceives Pinocchio for his own gain. The enemy sometimes uses the pride of life to temp us, and Foulfellow is appealing to Pinocchio’s pride, fame, and success. 1 John 2:15-17 tells us that Satan used that tactic in the Garden of Eden and still does today with you and I.
Pinocchio starts to perform as the star in Stromboli’s marionette show. Stomboli is drinking, counting his money from the show and gives his naive new star a washer as payment. When his “little wooden gold mine,” tries to leave for home, Stomboli shows his true colors and locks him in a cage, tells him he belongs to him, threatens to smack him, and use him as firewood. Reality sets in, and Pinocchio begins to cry and call for Jiminy. He feels sorry for doing wrong. Meanwhile, Gepetto goes out to search for his boy. The Blue Fairy appears and Pinocchio lies multiple times to her with his nose growing larger each time. She still helps him get free.
Sometimes we don’t realize our bad choices till we feel the consequence. What a man sows, he will reap. We too can suddenly find ourselves going in the opposite direction, listening to bad company. John 10:10 states, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The Holy Spirit will convict us of our wrongdoings, but we truly must be repentant, and honest with ourselves and God. In spite of our failures, God is gracious and merciful to us. God saves us from the hand of our enemies even when we don’t deserve it.
Foulfellow and Gideon are laughing at how they conned Pinocchio and how gullible he was. Gloating about his money, Stromboli pays them. Now they are making a deal with an evil character called the Watchman who propositions them to get dumb, disobedient boys, who would in his mind would be easy prey. He tells them he takes them to Pleasure Island and assures them he will pay them well, and not to worry about the law because the boys never come back… as boys! Pinocchio goes and is on a coach to the island when he meets another boy Lampwick. They land on Pleasure Island and at first it appears to be fun. Jiminy follows and tries to look for Pinocchio to get him out, since he sees cigars, people passed out, and other destructive behavior. It now seems wrong. They destroy property and Pinocchio says, “Being bad is a lot of fun ain’t it?” The watchman traps the boys, locking the gate. The whole park is destroyed and Lampwick and Pinocchio are smoking and playing pool. Jiminy finds them and scolds him, saying,” he’ll never be a real boy if he continues in that behavior.” In frustration, Jiminy leaves and suddenly sees men leading a bunch of braying donkeys. He hears the Watchmen yell at the scared animals, “you boys have had your fun, now pay for it!” The cricket realizes the boys are turning into donkeys and runs to warn his friend. The boys begin to start changing into mules and Jiminy helps Pinocchio escape before it’s too late.
Romans 7:15 says, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate, I do.” We start out believing we are going to do right, but again don’t. Now the enemy uses the lust of the flesh and of the lust of the eye mentioned in John. The watchman is pure evil. He’s deceitful, a distorter, cruel, and murderous. John 10:10 says, “The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy.” Lampwick says, “A guy only lives once!” Isn’t that what is said now, YOLO? That’s what the world says. Go for the gusto, feed your flesh, do whatever feels good, forgetting the consequences. But Romans 6:23 explains the consequences by saying, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Jiminy and Pinocchio reach his house and no one is home. A dove flies in and brings them a message that Gepetto went looking for him and got swallowed by a whale. They immediately set their hearts to search for him. They reach the ocean, tie a rock around his tale and jump right in. Pinocchio discovers Gepetto and admits his failings and that he has the ears and a tail of a donkey. Gepetto loves him anyway. Pinocchio figures out how to get them all out of the whale at great risk. At one point, Gepetto says to Pinocchio, “swim to shore and save yourself.” After a battle with the whale they all wash up on shore. They weep as they discover Pinocchio is dead. The Blue fairy transforms him into a real boy because he was brave, truthful and unselfish. They rejoice! When Pinocchio receives the word that Gepetto was in the sea he takes a leap of faith into the unknown disregarding his own safety to save others. As he ties a rock to his tail, he’s taking on that burden and is willing to die to self. God gives us a free will to choose to follow him. This scene can also be a symbol of baptism.
He goes in the water the old self, and is washed clean and comes out the new creation. Pinocchio is the son, and like Jesus Christ, he risks his life to save others. His love for the father and others was his motivation. John 3:16 tell us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Through Jesus, we have life. Through this wooden boy, they lived. Lastly, he wasn’t the same boy. Like us, without a relationship with Jesus Christ, we are tempted and led astray, deceived, make bad decisions and face notable consequences. But once we humbly look to Jesus and repent, we have eternal life. Pinocchio’s character was born again.