I saw Disney’s new Cinderella movie this past weekend. (Did you?) I loved it! Not only was it a much-needed break from my never-ending work; it also gave me a picture of the unparalleled beauty of courage and kindness in the face of humiliation, suffering, and shame.
If God is your Father, and you are His adopted daughter, then you are a princess.
It was a surprising picture, and a jarring one, as the previews before the movie—and everything our world seems to celebrate—is not letting anyone so much as step on our toes.
But Ella (the main character in Cinderella) shows us a shockingly different way of life. A beautiful way of life.
For some reason, Ella’s mom waited until her deathbed to share with Ella “a great secret that will see you through all the trials life has to offer.” Ella promised. She would:
“Have courage and be kind.”
The movie doesn’t explain how Ella is able to perform this feat in the face of such mistreatment, but she does. After her dear mother dies, Ella is courageous and kind when her stepmother and stepsisters:
- Relegate her to the attic to sleep
- Banish her from the table at mealtimes
- Change her name from Ella to Cinderella because she’s dirty from the cinder in the fireplace
- Treat her like a servant instead of the sister and daughter that she is
- Tear her dress and forbid her from attending the ball
But thanks to the fairy godmother, Cinderella is able to attend the ball after all, and the Prince makes a beeline for her.
Sure, Cinderella looks stunning. But it’s not her ball gown or glass slippers that first catch the Prince’s eye. Weeks before, she turns his head when he happens upon her on a hunting trip in the forest—when her hair is knotted and her clothes plain. It’s her inner beauty that captures his attention—her courage and her kindness.
Girls, this beauty isn’t just the stuff of fairy tales. It’s what you and I are to pursue as daughters of the King:
“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses [or shimmering, blue ball gowns!] but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).
According to God’s standards for beauty . . .
Kindness isn’t weakness; it’s strength.
Submission isn’t pitiful; it’s beautiful and courageous.
First Peter has a lot to say on the subject. Here’s just a taste:
“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. . . .
“Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence . . .
“It is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:8–18).
But how can we have courage when others mistreat us?
Why should we be kind to those who are cruel?
Cinderella acted this way because she was a princess—not a princess by blood, but a true princess in heart.
And if God is your Father, and you are His adopted daughter, then you are a princess too. Not the kind with a ball gown and a tiara, but a true princess. A princess because God brought you into His family at the exorbitant cost of His Son’s life-blood. This honored position is not an excuse to act selfish but to be courageous and kind.
So when you encounter those bullies at school or at home or at work, remember this: You may not have a fairy godmother to rescue you, but you have the living God on your side. This God is pleased—not when you suffer for doing wrong—but for doing right. This same God suffered for you so you might become royalty:
“You have been called for this purpose [to patiently endure suffering for doing what is right], since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,
“who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:21–24).
Are you acting like the princess you are? If you’re not sure you’ve ever surrendered your life to the King of kings, you can read more about that here.
Bow to the King, sweet girl.
Have courage, and be kind.
Cinderella: “Have Courage, and Be Kind” was originally posted on LiesYoungWomenBelieve.com.