Read Psalm 31:19-24
ALSO IN SCRIPTURE
“So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the LORD your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6 NLT)
Back in March, my family and I went to see Disney’s long awaited live-action film adaptation of Cinderella. As can be expected with anything Disney, it was simply magical. The film was very true to the spirit of their original animated classic; however, they updated it with more background and more context which led the audience to better understanding of who girl was and how she got the name “Cinderella”. Lily James was brilliant as this rags-to-riches princess and the entire cast added depth to their characters.
Since most people have seen the original Cinderella, I cannot really spoil the story since the film follows the same basic plot. This film centers on a girl named Ella. She was pretty well off and she lived in a home with her father and her mother. It was a happy life and she was a happy child but, as is always the case, happiness is fleeting and soon that happiness came to a bitter end. Ella’s mother fell ill and the first of many dark shadows was cast over her life. In her dying moments, her mother looked up at her and uttered these words, “Have courage and be kind.” With that, her mother breathed her last.
Those words inspire and define Ella throughout her life; however, they would become more and more challenging to live by. Her father ends up meeting another woman, one who is looking to be upwardly mobile, and this woman has two daughters of her own. They are cruel, prissy, and spiteful like their mother, and they treat Ella poorly. What’s worse, her father never returns home and dies while out on a business trip. Ella’s world comes crashing down around her and it seems like the darkness has finally won. Her wicked step-mother and step-sisters enslave her and make her live in the attic. They mock her and abuse her. It is because she looked dirty as a result of being made to literally do all of the dirty work, that she got named “Cinder” Ella…hence the name, Cinderella.
But this Cinderella does not give up hope…ever. Nor does she let her step-mother and her step-sisters change who she is. Rather, she keeps on remembering her mom’s last words, “Have courage and be kind.” While she does learn to stand up to her abusers, and she does eventually find away to leave them and their abuse (as the abused should never, ever, put up or stay with an abuser), she never stops having compassion on them. She loves them even though she doesn’t like them. She never let’s them control who she is. While she didn’t have control over anything else, she had control over who she was and who her mother (aka God) called her to be.
I would say that in her death, Ella’s mother parted the greatest gift to her child: LOVE. It is true that it takes courage to love and to be kind. Ella had that courage, and like Ella God is calling us to have the courage it takes to LOVE and to be kind. If you are abused or in an abusive relationship have the courage to do what it takes to get out of that relationship, seek help from anyone who will give it, even if that means going to the authorities if need be. Have courage and be kind and love yourself. God does not want you to be abused. Even for those of us who are not abused, we all have circumstances in our lives that can easily alter our call to have courage and be kind. Don’t let the dark days of life snuff the bright, bold and warm days of LIVING. God calls us all to have courage, to be kind, and to LOVE. Like Cinderella, we may have cinder and soot on the outside of us; however, within us are the princes and princesses of God’s glorious kingdom.
THOUGHT OF THE DAY
“Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.” – Leo Buscaglia
Lord, I want to utilize the courage you have given me in order to be kind and to love. Guide me in this, I pray. Amen.