If the Disney creative team had continued on their original course, Frozen would have been a completely different movie. In ”Unfreezing Frozen” (September’s Reader’s Digest *) I noticed some amazing concepts beginning to surface—they sounded like biblical concepts.
The team started with all the usual fairy tale elements—princesses, gowns, a handsome prince—but it felt stale, stilted, unexciting. They wanted to say something different. With a talented team of script and songwriters they began to explore new definitions of love and sacrifice.
The prince turns out to be the bad guy instead of the rescuer. And sisters, Elsa and Anna, learn to reach beyond their own fears to save each other. Team writer Jennifer Lee summed it up by saying, “Fear destroys us; love heals us…Love is a greater force than fear. Go with love.”
I would say amen to that.
In the middle of October, when fear is sought out, savored, and celebrated everywhere you turn, it’s refreshing to hear this proclamation. With ads for movies about cultic power and bloody zest leaping from every television, you would think fear is perfectly harmless entertainment for our children. However, Jesus’ beloved disciple said, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).
Later in the article on Frozen, Lee advocates another truth, Anna “has to learn that love is about sacrifice.” The message of the gospel, I believe. However it’s only Jesus’ perfect love that can wipe out our fear. His sacrificial gift on the cross rescues us from the destructive power in us that kills everything it touches.
I was delighted to hear the makers of the “top-grossing animated movie of all time” declaring these truths. However, couched between these noble words was a sentence that revealed an underlying belief system: “The core of this movie isn’t about good and evil, because that doesn’t happen in real life.”
That statement jolted me as it should every thinking person on this planet. Good and evil don’t happen in real life? If good and evil don’t exist, how do we know fear is bad and love is good? How do we recognize that sacrificing for another is worthy of praise, and selfishness destroys? Of course there is good and evil! That’s the eternal truth that needs to be told above all others. We instinctively know there is good and evil in this world; when we deny that fact we run into serious trouble.
What scares me is this is the daily food of children worldwide. These movies mold their beliefs with colorful images and catchy songs that defy moral absolutes. Teaching them there is no God, no right and wrong, only us and what we feel and think. They say we can determine destiny through our own efforts, that Christianity is outdated.
This is a far cry from the 1967 version of Jungle Book when Bagheera quotes John 15:13 after Baloo’s valiant sacrifice, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
Rather than ban all secular movies and label them evil, why not use them as discussion starters with our children. How does this story, this idea, this hero compare to scripture? Is this true, or just what makes us feel good? Our children need to know how to recognize partial truths (aka: lies) and humanistic teaching that depicts man as his own god.
What have you fed your kids today? As October marches on, the message of fear abounds. I invite you to nourish your children with books and movies of true heroism from Christian history. Challenge them to examine what they see in the world around them and compare it to God’s Word. The old cliché is true—all that glitters is not gold, sometimes you have to let it go to reach for what is of eternal value.
*Reader’s Digest, September, 2016, ”Unfreezing Frozen” by Charles Duhigg, from the book Smarter Faster Better.
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