12 May 2012

Disney Didactics

I'm thankful my kids still enjoy building sand castles and settlements out in the front yard, dressing up and snuggling on the bed to watch a movie. Even my big kids still seem to enjoy the fact that they are just that... still young people... and act that way instead of "too big for their britches." Well, most of the time... but that is a different story!
One of my high school friends recently posted a fb status about loving the fact that her teen girl and her daughter's friends thought it great fun to get together and watch Disney movies. I agree completely: I love it when that very thing goes on with my girl teens and tweens. It is wonderful that they haven't become too grown up, sophisticated or jaded to dream of princes and princesses, beautiful horses and castles, and fairy tale endings.
That doesn't mean I like everything or accept unequivically all that happens in a Disney movie. We do talk them over and discuss what parts come from worldly thinking and what parts corresponds to Biblical truth; we look at choices and consequences and often these movies become great teaching tools.
It shouldn't surprise me when God uses them to teach me...

Recently, I was hurt by something someone I know did not do.
That sounds kinda funny, typing it out, doesn't it?
I try not to place a ton of expectations on others, really! God has been working on me with that lesson over the past few years... yet this time, I expected someone to act/respond in a certain way. When the person didn't, I was confused, didn't understand why, wondered if I'd offended in somehow and, as I already said, I was hurt. I spent more than a few hours (more truthfully, more than a couple of days) mulling it over, my feelings ranging from overreacting anger ("Never wanna talk to that one again!") to prayers begging God to help me forgive because I knew my response was unbiblical. Then I grew frustrated with myself, because it had become such a big deal in my heart and I couldn't seem to let it go...
Then Mulan filtered into my picture... you know the story, don't you?
...the young Chinese girl who disguises herself as a young man to take the place of her elderly father who had been conscripted into military service to fight the Huns. Taking the name Ping, she learns to fight, earns the camraderie of her fellow soldiers, even wins the respect and trust of her (very handsome) commanding officer, Shang. After Mulan/Ping daringly saves Shangs life, he says to her:
"Ping, you are the craziest man I've ever met,
and for that I owe you my life.
From now on, you have my trust."

Right after Shang makes this statement, literally, Mulan/Ping collapses due to injuries sustained in battle... and of course the doctor uncovers the truth. Ping isn't such a manly man. What's worse? Her masquerade and deception is shameful, and punishable by death. Her friends, her commander, everyone -they all turn their back on her, some more vehemently than others.

Shang chooses not kill her, but he does abandon her in the snowy mountains to find her own way home, on her own and in disgrace. In the process, she sees the Huns recover from what looked like certain destruction and regroup... then head towards the capital to finish what they'd come to China to do. She makes her own mad dash to the capital, to warn Shang and his men that another battle was imminent... so that they would be prepared.

It was the following conversation, when Mulan finally catches up with Shang, that God used - just like He used Nathan's story to confront David with his sin, thousands of years ago.

Mulan: Shang!
Shang: Mulan?
Mulan: The Huns are alive! They're in the city!
Shang: You don't belong here, Mulan. Go home.
Mulan: Shang, I saw them in the mountains. You have to believe me!
Shang: Why should I?
Mulan: Why else would I come back? You said you'd trust Ping. Why is Mulan any different?

The particular person with whom I was so frustrated had never, to my knowledge, previously done anything intentionally to hurt, harm or discourage me. So why would I assume that about this particular situation? Why wouldn't I trust what I already had experienced as true with this individual, even though I didn't understand? Instead of assuming evil motivations, why not simply assume that the person hadn't done something I normally would have expected him/her to do... nothing more, nothing less... and instead remember all the reasons to trust... the many kind, friendly and generous ways said person had interacted with me and my family in the past?


I guess if God chose to speak through a donkey, I shouldn't be surprised that He'd decide to speak a needed message to me and through a Disney movie, eh? 

How about you? How did God last speak to your heart about something in a way that caught you completely by surprise?

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