image courtesy of Disney’s Tangled
A New Kind of Villain for Disney
I took my girls to their first movie in the theaters yesterday. We went to see Disney’s Tangled, its Rapunzel story. The girls loved the movie and were well-behaved for our new venture making a perfect first experience.
Tangled was full of the elements you would expect from a Disney movie: fun, action, love story, evil villain, and a touch of magic. The thing that stood out to me on this movie, and the reason of wanted to post it, was how the villain’s method of evil was different. Mother Gothel did not wield physical strength, magical powers, or plain meanness. This villain used weapons of manipulation and emotional abuse disguised as love.
This to me is the most evil of villains. Her intentions and ways are no less powerful than other forms and yet for the victim they are hidden as love. Tangled does a good job showing some of the effects of this when Rapunzel leaves the tower. She goes back and forth from elation to despair as the joy of new found freedom is being attacked by the lies planted by years of manipulation.
How We Relate to Rapunzel
Too many of us struggle like Rapunzel carrying around lies told to us by those who we thought loved us. Or, more than likely we carry around lies from people who did love us but carried lies of their own. Those who have loved us have shamed us in order to get us to do what they wanted us to do. Mother Gothel wanted Rapunzel to stay in the tower because her hair was the source of her youth. She did not want to risk Rapunzel leaving and having to grow old. Therefore in order to get her to stay Mother Gothel made her fear the world and doubt her abilities to survive out there.
This looks like many things in our lives. In my family gifts and presents would be threatened to be returned if we did not behave. If I cried to much or was too fussy, the threats would come out. I would take on the lie that everything I would enjoy could be taken from me at any moment. Any love or enjoyment I was to receive was dependent on my behavior. Happiness is at best temporal. Therefore now as I follow Christ, I have a hard time trusting in His unconditional love because it does not feel like what I have been taught. I dare not enjoy His favor to much because He may decide I really don’t deserve it.
Shame is an Easy But Deadly Tool to Wield
I have no doubt that I was frustrating my parents with my behavior. I most definitely needed correction to help me know proper behavior and how to manage my emotions. In order to correct the behavior, a lie was formed and my heart died a bit. Shame is never a tool of our Heavenly Father.
I’ve seen other families use jokes that feed lies. They will laughingly call each others ugly, stupid, clumsy, messy, etc. If any in the family gets upset at the comment, they just say it was only a joke. This teaches their kids that their pain at someone else’s words doesn’t matter. They trust their family loves them, so the rationalize the pain away and kill more of the connection to their heart. Let us not forget that it is through the heart that we connect to God. It is the wellspring of live (Proverbs 4:23).
I Would Recommend Tangled
Ultimately I would recommend Tangled. It is fun, relatively clean, and a good love story. And, it exposes the power of our words, which have the power of life and death (Proverbs 18:21). Taming the tongue is difficult but extremely important (James 3:2) – not only for parenting but also for what we say about ourselves.
Go to Jesus and allow Him to expose areas of your heart that you have cut off because of the pain or reveal lies that are the foundations to what you really believe. His truth sets us free. Jesus always tells the truth and He wants to set you free (John 14:6 & John 8:32). There is so much more He wants to give you (John 16:12-15).
Kevin Shorter is the founder of this prayer-coach site and have served for several years in ministry and churches teaching on a variety of Biblical topics. Go to the contact page to request him to speak at your conferences and seminars.