Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Fairest of Them All

Last night, Amber and I watched the new movie Mirror Mirror. Lily Collins is the lovely Snow White in a modern re-telling of the classic fairytale, and Julia Roberts plays the evil Queen whose sole desire is to be and eternally remain "the fairest of them all".

Lily Collins as Snow White in 'Mirror Mirror'
Lily Collins as Snow White in 'Mirror Mirror' © Relativity Media, LLC

This new film is very different from the Disney classic, but one central theme that remains the same is the focus on outer beauty. While Snow White doesn't intentionally make a spectacle of herself, her step-mother, the Queen is all-consumed with appearances. She wears the most elaborate gowns, forces herself into clothing that doesn't fit, and resorts to magic in efforts to maintain her glory. One interesting twist to the story is the explanation of the dwarfs' home in the forest: they have been banished from the village by the Queen along with all the other "uglies".

I'm reminded of a few Biblical principles. First, what truly matters is not outer beauty, but inner beauty - and no, that's not "just something fat people say" (to quote Jim Carrey's character in Liar Liar).

"But the LORD said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, 
for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. 
Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.' "
- 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV

Too many girls grow up believing that they need to live up to society's standards of outward beauty, and they gain or lose their self-confidence based on how well they match up. But what the Lord cares about is the inner person. Do we have love? Do we work hard and treat others fairly? Do we seek to live in peace?

"That all sounds good," you might think, "but all guys really want is the outer beauty." It's true that there are a lot of superficial guys out there, but girls need to know that there are still guys who look for something more than skin-deep. If you don't believe me, read this article. Never settle for superficial.

"Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised."
- Proverbs 31:30

The second great message in this film, as I think about the outcast dwarfs, is the importance of caring for those who are rejected by society. Just as Jesus associated with sinners and touched lepers, we are called to reach out to those who feel lonely and cut-off and who have been treated unjustly. Snow White never rejects the dwarfs, but instead befriends and defends them, giving them back their dignity and eventually restoring them to community. This is our mission.

"He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?"
- Micah 6:8

 Although the path in Mirror Mirror is new, we all know how the fairytale ends: the princess gets the prince, the dwarfs become heroes, and the evil Queen pays for her crimes. Good eventually triumphs over evil. While life is no fairytale, we do have hope for a brighter day when things will be made right. Evil will be dealt with, but those who trust in the Lord will receive eternal reward. No matter how hard life gets, God is good.

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away."
- Revelation 21:4

The legend of Snow White has certainly changed since the days of the Brothers Grimm, but she still serves as a good reminder of the importance of inward beauty and the virtues of love and caring. The person who follows her example and puts his/her trust in the Lord will not be disappointed. And in the end, we shall see that it is not us, but God who truly is "the fairest of them all".

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