Earlier this year I took my granddaughter Anjela and her mother Adreza to see the movie Cinderella. I was delighted on our way home to hear my daughter-in-law ask, “Anjela, what did Cinderella’s mother teach her?”
Anjela promptly replied, “Always be kind and courageous“.
Adreza spent a few moments reinforcing the importance of kindness and courage. Then she asked, “What did Cinderella say to her step mother at the end of the movie?”
Anjela replied, “I forgive you.”
Adreza then emphasized the virtue of having a forgiving spirit.
I applauded my daughter-in-law for capitalizing on an opportunity to teach. What could have been just entrainment for Anjela, became a transformative experience. It also became a memory of her mother as a woman who values kindness, courage, and forgiveness.
As Christians we filter all the messages we hear through the filter of our Biblical World View. There is much we must throw out as incompatible with God’s truth. How refreshing when the message we hear agrees with the truth we build our lives on. Adreza was reiterating truths expressed in scripture:
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:12-13
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
As I reflected back on Cinderella and Adreza’s life lesson with Anjela, I remembered my mother and her lessons to me. She taught me to be kind and respectful. She role modeled those virtues and expected me to follow her example.
I used to complain about my broad shoulders. She firmly retorted, “Life will be hard, and you will need those broad shoulders.” Although she never directly told me to be strong, I certainly internalized that expectation and the belief that I was equipped for that challenge. My mother’s life was often hard; I observed her courage and her strength.
I don’t remember my mother talking about forgiveness, but I have memories of her extending forgiveness to others, as her Lord had commanded her.
Hebrews 12 tells us we have a great cloud of witnesses who kept the faith and have gone before us into heaven.
“Mother, if you are watching, and I am confidant you are, please know I am trying to be kind and courageous, and forgiving. I want to make you proud.”