My new favorite movie is Brave, the animated film by Disney Pixar. I have watched it a few times now and each time saw a new layer of truth. There is a complexity within the story that children don’t grasp in all their innocence. As an adult whose had to make difficult decisions and whose gotten to know the world we live in a little better, I see a beautifully illustrated picture of just how intricate relationships become. They are never black and white.
The father of Merida, the main character is great. He’s easy-going, helpful, loves his wife dearly, and is a wonderful provider and protector. The real interesting person in the story is the queen, Merida’s mother. A woman who has sacrificed her life for the good of the kingdom. She has been a loving, attentive mother, she has been generous and kind and giving to those in need. I know all this because she is teaching her daughter to be all these things as well. Well, Merida doesn’t want to be a princess. She wants to be a tomboy and she wants more freedom to be she is. She is rude to her mother and unappreciative, and maybe if she would only speak more kindly and rationally, she might have an audience with the queen.
In the mom-daughter relationship, mom has paid her dues. She has laid down what she wanted and did what was best for everyone. The daughter doesn’t believe she has the same fate as mom, but is acting out in some pretty wild ways. She turns mom into a bear, hehe. It was actually a witch who put the spell on mom, but Merida paid for a spell to change her mom. She wanted to change her own life, but paid for a spell to change her mom. How many times do I ask for change by asking God to change?
Instead of acting rationally, instead of working on herself, or simply dying to her own desires and doing what the kingdom asks of her, she buys a spell to change the one person who loves her most. And what does the spell do? It changes her mother into the one animal who is feared the most, a bear. When she sees her mother for the first time as a being and not just her mother, she begins to see how much she loves her mom dearly.
There’s more to the story. A man once asked for all the strength of ten bears and he was turned into a very mean and angry bear, by the same witch who turned mom. This bear who was once a man was one of the 4 leaders of the land and he wanted to be the “top” leader. He let selfishness, and greed for power take over his heart.
Spoiler alert. In the end, the true enemy is revealed and dealt with. Merida and her mother learn to listen to each other and even though the girl acted out in a stubborn and childish way. All things worked together for the greater good.
Jesus Christ asks for our hearts. Not much, just our lives. And it always takes hard work and sacrifice to lay down stubbornness and jealousy, what we think our fate is, and materialism, which is prevalent everywhere. When we fight with each other, even if it’s only in our hearts, we are missing the bigger purpose. So many times I have been confused or angry at the way a child of God has acted. I spent a long time being angry at women who only spoke to me when I believed what they believed, or when I lived the way they lived. I harbored feelings of pain and hurt when I was plucked out of their lives, by way of ignoring me. It took up many of my tears and my time. It pained me to see the bigger Christians be true to the things of satan in private. I rationalized the time spent unforgiving them as righteous anger I was “allowed” to feel. Many times I thought I was walking in the Spirit and I was not. The love I have is either real because it’s Christ’s love, or it’s only temporary love, the fleeting love that humans give and take when they ride the wave of untrustworthy feelings.
There’s a bigger Life to live. There’s a bigger enemy to hate, than our own friends and loved ones. We were purposed to live lives together with a powerful common alliance forged in Christ. I am selfish when I tear a great rift in the kingdom with my own pain. And it’s been so hard to admit guilt in my own life and relationships because I have pride. I don’t want to be seen as the only one whose done wrong. Everyone has done wrong. After all, there’s a reason I was angry, confused, hurt, and sickened to begin with. But by admitting that I have harbored un-Christ-like feelings for people, I am letting go of what others have done. I am releasing my religious little need to see others apologize or darkness brought to the light, and I am shaken to the core with Christ. And I don’t care if another ever admits wrong to those they love again. I’ve kept secrets, we all have. It’s not my job to hold onto my love until others change. The Christ in me loves others relentlessly. I will die to the sight of anything other than Christ in another. I will die to myself when I’ve done wrong by another, by Christ.
My life is a sacrifice. I live to love and mend the bonds I’ve destroyed with anger, jealousy, or other trivial traits. That’s where I see myself in Merida. I know how this fictional animated girl feels at the end of the movie. I, like she, am no longer concerned with what anyone else has done wrong, or hurtful, I am only concerned with areas in which I have caused harm. There is real darkness in the world to be angry with, should I ever feel the need to be angry, And it’s not with my neighbors.
This beautiful child’s movie has inspired me to do what’s right and see Christ in areas I was still blind to him. Actions define people to the one who only wants to see darkness, but actions don’t define anyone to Christ. When Christ is living His life in me, I see what he sees, which is one of the many benefits to having lived and died with His Majesty.
Thank you for reading!