Come with me to a “once upon a time” not so long ago. I’m sitting in a dark room. Flashes of color illuminate the faces nearby. Can you see them? They’re little girls. Imaginations are spell-bound and eyes are wide with wonder as the timeless fairy tale, Cinderella, unfolds before them.
Perhaps one of these girls is your own daughter, transported into this world where truth is as obvious as princes on stallions and step-mothers dressed in black. Or is it?
As the 2015 edition of Disney’s Cinderella begins, the heroine asks her mother if she believes in fairy godmothers. Unblushingly, her parent responds, “I believe in everything!”
Embracing her mother’s worldview, Cinderella joyfully reciprocates, “Then I believe in everything too!” And she skips off into her utopian world.
But utopias starve storylines, and Cinderella’s mother soon falls fatally ill. Before she dies however, this mother, who believes in everything, tenderly whispers one more word of advice to Cinderella, “I want to tell you a secret that will see you through all the trials that life can offer. Have courage and be kind.”
It’s a beautiful final word to give your child. But there’s a problem. The statement, I believe in everything, shimmers with imaginative luster and individual freedom. It rings with the sounds of modern tolerance and equality. But, in reality, it is as fragile as a glass slipper and no one actually “wears” it . . . because if we did, courage and kindness would be impossible. Why?
In A Grief Observed, the famous lover of fairy tales, C.S. Lewis, writes, “You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.”
We use the word “believe” loosely today, but Lewis reminds us that we don’t really believe in something until we’re willing to die for it. If we believe something is true, we profess everything else to be false, and as costly as this is, it is far more dangerous to believe in everything. Because if we believe that everything is true, we really believe that nothing is true.
If I believe in everything, then a human has the same value as a rock or a tree. If I believe in everything, then morality is just a matter of personal taste. And while we’re on the subject of morality, who is to say what happens when I die? How do I get to heaven, and how do I know it even exists? Because, as you remember, I believe in everything.
If I believe in everything, the order and wonder of my world begins to disappear like Cinderella’s ball gown because if everything is true and worthy of belief, then nothing is. And poor Cinderella can be neither kind nor courageous, because, if she really believes in everything, there is no cause for which she should courageously fight and she has no reason for kindness.
You never know how much you really believe anything until its truth or falsehood becomes a matter of life and death to you.” – C.S. Lewis
But there is reason for courage and kindness, and even your daughter, who hasn’t lived a decade, knows that not all things are worthy of the same cherishing belief. She knows that mama’s pearls can’t be tossed in the dress-up box and however “real” her baby doll may seem in play, she doesn’t compare with her baby sister.
Watching Cinderella, your daughter is delighted with the thought of animal friends, pretty dresses, and a prince charming. She wants to live in a world of truth, goodness, and wonder. She wants to believe. So give her something real and specific.
…this world desperately needs courageous and kind women who believe in Christ.
Point her heart and mind to the gospel. Tell her the story of deliverance from “the domain of darkness” into the kingdom of God’s Son (Col. 1:9-13). Direct her gaze to the dazzling hope of eternity and teach her to hunt the good and the beautiful (Phil. 4:8-9). Show her the character and promises of Christ, through whom we have all things “for life and godliness,” including courage and kindness (2 Pet. 1:3). Give your daughter a worldview she can run, dance, clean, cry, laugh, and love in . . . because this world desperately needs courageous and kind women who believe in Christ.