I loved the recent Disney movie, Cinderella. In it, there is a scene where Cinderella’s mother is on her death bed giving some great advice to her daughter.
“I’ll have to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials life will have to offer. Have courage and be kind.”
I found this simple advice rather profound. Mostly because, it’s not in my nature to have courage or (to be completely honest) be genuinely kind. Yes, I can be nice, put on a happy face and be tolerant towards my enemies, but the idea of kindness coupled with courage? Brilliant.
And you know how the rest of the story goes, Cinderella’s father marries a terribly selfish and cruel woman bringing two very abusive step sisters into Cinderella’a life. It isn’t long until she is banished to sleep in the dirty attic and live as a servant in her own house. All the while she heeds her mother’s advice and is kind to her captors. It made me shout at the TV screen! “Come on, Cinderella! Don’t take that from them! Stand up for yourself! Tell them off! Spit in their food! They deserve it!”
This was my instinctual reaction to the injustice… Fight back! Be nasty! You’ve been wronged, so it’s alright, Cinderella! Just say something snarky and pop that ugly step sister in her fat crooked nose! But this is not how Jesus instructs us to act.
When you knock on a door, be courteous in your greeting. If they welcome you, be gentle in your conversation. If they don’t welcome you, quietly withdraw. Don’t make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and be on your way. You can be sure that on Judgment Day they’ll be mighty sorry—but it’s no concern of yours now. Stay alert. This is hazardous work I’m assigning you. You’re going to be like sheep running through a wolf pack, so don’t call attention to yourselves. Be as cunning as a snake, inoffensive as a dove. Don’t be naive. Some people will impugn your motives, others will smear your reputation—just because you believe in me. Don’t be upset when they haul you before the civil authorities. Without knowing it, they’ve done you—and me—a favor, given you a platform for preaching the kingdom news! And don’t worry about what you’ll say or how you’ll say it. The right words will be there; the Spirit of your Father will supply the words.
Matthew 10:12-20 (MSG)
I’m sure you know someone that is cruel. We see it everyday on talk shows or in posts on social media. Someone’s ranting about politics, hating on a candidate, calling out a cheating husband, mad about intolerance, criticizing parenting strategies or offended by somebody’s religious views. And each person feels they have been wronged, thus earning the right to be cruel in return.
As Christ followers we must stand for truth, but represent love at all costs. If we don’t, our world gets a distorted picture of who Christ is. Remember, He is love, and love is patient and kind. Unfortunately, in our selfishness, we do and say things on our own terms and in the heat of the moment, but Jesus said that we shouldn’t do that. He will provide the words for us at the right time. We need to let the Holy Spirit be our guide.
So, the next time you feel the urge to say something cutting or when passive aggressive words are about to leap from your tongue. Stop. Think it through. Hit delete. Then pray a Cinderella prayer.
“Lord, help me to have courage and be kind.”