(Photo by Selma Komisky)
Power Over the Present
A Lesson in Forgiveness from ‘Cinderella’
By Kyle Jane Heskett
Cinderella is a classic Disney tale of a girl living in squalor, then transitioning to a life of luxury when she marries her prince. But I don’t want to focus on the rags to riches part of the story, because we have all heard it before. I want to shed light on the story of a girl who showed true beauty when faced with difficult circumstances.
True beauty deals with our character. It is showing love, compassion, joy, and kindness. Cinderella is perhaps one of the best examples of showing kindness to those who are not kind in return. Her mother and then her father died when she was just a little girl, and she is forced to work for her evil stepmother and stepsisters. In the very first scene of the 1950 animated film, Cinderella wakes up to a full day of washing dishes, scrubbing the floor, and serving food to her family. She has no satisfying human interaction, because the only people she talks to are the ones who look down on her. This is her life, day after day. However, she wakes up with a joyous attitude, singing songs. Her family constantly belittles her, but she continues to treat them with kindness. She’s still open to love, even though she hasn’t really received it since her parents were alive.
How is this possible? Even though Cinderella does not attribute the main character’s positive attitude to God, it can still serve as an inspiration to us. This inner beauty is possible because of the transforming power of the Christ. We can show kindness and love in any circumstance. It is He who makes us beautiful because He is beautiful. It is not by anything we do on our own, but because of the Holy Spirit that works in us.
What struck me most about the story of Cinderella is actually found in the live action remake made in 2015. Cinderella’s most memorable words that her mother gave to her before she passed were “Have courage and be kind.” My favorite scene was the ending after the prince fits the glass slipper on her foot and begins to take her away; she turns to her cold and unloving stepmother and says “I forgive you.” Despite the loss she faced at a young age and the years of being mistreated, she can still come to a place of peace.
I love the tale of Cinderella because it shows biblical truths that we can hold on to: forgiveness, kindness, love, courage, hope, and peace. When we embrace these things, we are displaying the kind of beauty that God has called us to. Embracing your true beauty can only lead to power over the present and freedom of spirit in the midst of any situation.