I’ve read many posts through the last several months regarding the movie “Frozen”. Most of which applaud the freedom of Elsa as she embraces her feminine strength in shurking the restraints of oppressive sexism, or at least that’s where the blog posts end up in relation to today’s society. Other posts in the Christian realm are about the dangers of releasing oneself to absolute freedom, and thus becoming dangerous, especially sexually, and that the movie supports individualism and lack of moral or civil responsibility – to do what one desires to do regardless of how it affects others.
My response to both of these is to add a third view of the storyline. Both sides are missing a major perspective that I seem to have from viewing the movie multiple times, and as I talk about the movie with my 3yo daughter. That perspective is the gospel being displayed through Elsa’s transformation, or rather redemption.
Throughout Elsa’s journey I see the analogy of mankind’s journey with God. When they are young, both Anna & Elsa have a thriving friendship. They play, they laugh, they love each other. Then an accident happens, Elsa feels guilty for hurting Anna and you can see the love she has for her. Through the words and fear of her father, even if it from a place of protection and her own fear of hurting someone again, Elsa is thrown into isolation (legalism in a sense, a way of controlling her abilities and environment). He said she would learn to control her power but instead she is taught to conceal it. As they grow, you see Anna lose complete touch with her sister and there is a sense that Elsa’s isolation is suffocating everything around her. Then tragedy strikes and their parents die – the only people who know the real Elsa and who have taught her that she cannot be who she was created to be. As a parent, this instruction to Elsa pulls at my heart because she is basically being told that she was made wrong, that she should not use or share her gift or herself with other people.
At the coronation, Elsa emerges from isolation for a rare glimpse. You can see that she is fighting to control herself, especially as she and Anna talk about how great it is to have the palace open. Her fear and emotions drive her into isolation again, far from home. Anna dearly loves her misunderstood sister and chases her. Anna pursues Elsa, knowing how fearful she must be, and desires to walk this road with her, to prove to Elsa that she is accepted and loved for who she is and that she doesn’t have to hide anymore. Yet Elsa, in trying to maintain her own control, once again hurts Anna. Enter devious men who mean to harm and exploit Elsa, which again drive her farther into fear and a lack of control.
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. For fear has to do with punishment, and whoever fears has not been perfected in love. We love because he first loved us.” – 1 John 4:18-19
In the end, what seemed to be the cure for everyone was the need to understand what true love is actually about. It meant self-sacrifice. It meant that actions back up words. It meant that Elsa was freed from fear when she saw, through Anna’s sacrifice on her behalf, that she truly was loved and accepted – someone gave a life in order to save hers. Isn’t this the entire purpose of Jesus coming, bearing the image of man, so he could die in order to save us sinners? THIS IS THE GOSPEL! And this is the realization of how a person’s life can be changed when they really do understand that they are loved, apart from anything they do, but for who they are.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
“This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” – 1 John 4:10
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” – 1 Peter 2:24
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” – 2 Corinthians 5:21
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.” – 1 Peter 3:18
I truly enjoy this movie and I talk about this movie in this way to my daughter. I feel that sheltering kids too much from something that could be viewed as “worldly” or “un-Christian” is taking away their opportunity to understand the world that they live in. They need to be able to recognize gospel truths in the world around them. “Frozen” gave me a perfect opportunity to start having these types of talks with her, to frame her understanding and start thinking about things & people around her, all the while praying that God helps her understand her own need for this grace and love that God extends to her.
So, before Christians around the country take aim at the humanistic & cultural tendencies of Disney or what have you, let’s step back, hold our tongues, judgements and criticisms and see if we can perceive the redemption story that is happening and how we can talk to our kids & friends in that way. While we are not “of the world”, we do still live in the world.
I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” – John 17:14-19
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2