please forgive me for such a late post. things have been a little crazy around my household, and when that happens writer’s block tends to creep in and clamp down on my mind. yet, in God’s beautiful fashion, He always redeems me, because when the writer’s block is removed, my inspiration sky rockets. i pray my readers reap the reward from what He has inspired in me.
i recently saw the motion picture maleficent, and while some disliked it, i found myself in awe of the storyline. for those who don’t know, maleficent is the “evil queen” in the books/disney movie sleeping beauty. she is the one who casts the curse on the baby, that on her 16th birthday she will prick her finger on a spindle and be in a deep sleep and the only cure is “true love’s kiss.”
sleeping beauty was one of my favorite movies growing up, second only to beauty and the beast, so you can imagine the joy my heart felt when i saw they were doing a prequel to one of my favorite childhood stories.
as the lights in the theater dimmed, the curtains opened, and the loud chatter of the many kids there hushed, i found myself drifting off into the world of maleficent. the imagery was stunning and reminiscent of the landscape of ireland or the countryside of england. i learned that the “evil queen” wasn’t an “evil queen” at all, but a beautiful fairy, loved and adored by all in the enchanted forest, but hated by a prideful king. it was this king’s desire to take over the enchanted forest, but she protected her land and injured him in the process. as a result, he told his people that whoever brings back her head will marry his daughter and become king of the land when he dies.
in walks a man who knew maleficent very well, and his childhood dream of becoming king took over his being. so, after years of being apart, he found his way back to the enchanted forest, found maleficent and played on her innocence and trust of a man whom she believed gave her “true loves kiss” at one point. he slipped something in her drink, she passed out, and as he raised the knife to cut off her head, he couldn’t bring himself to do it, and cut off her wings instead.
when maleficent awoke the next morning, she found herself alone and in pain. she’d discovered her wings gone, and her face proclaimed the devastation she was feeling. this man, whom she had trusted, took from her something that she never thought could be taken from her.
shortly after the film came out, people started talking about the “rape scene” in maleficent, and this article does a great job on the metaphors of rape culture we can see in this movie. not only this, but recently, angelina-jolie confirms the metaphor in this article. i strongly encourage you to take a look at these articles, if you have not already.
i’m going to switch gears a bit and talk about something else the Lord is putting on my heart about this topic.
as i mentioned earlier, my most favorite childhood movie was, and still is-if i’m being honest, beauty and the beast. i found that i could relate with belle more than any other “princess” out there. there wasn’t anything particularly special about her, other than her obsession for stories about princesses and princes, and being rescued by the prince. she was constantly harassed by the local men, who believed they earned the right to any woman they wanted. and despite her clear statement of “no” countless times, he, nor the community, cared to end the harassment.
she finds herself trapped in a not-so beautiful castle because of her love for her father, and while the beast is frightening at first, she soon discovers that he isn’t a beast at all. he is in fact a man cursed to appear on the outside how he was on the inside, ugly.
my favorite part of the movie is the ending, where belle lays on the ground and sheds a tear as the beast is dying. all of a sudden the light breaks through the cloudy sky and lifts him up, twirling him around and transforming his beastly figure into the prince he once was. not only this, but all his servants and staff where changed back into the people they once were too. all this was done with the shedding of a tear, with compassion. with eyes that saw with the heart.
the happily ever after here is more than a man and a woman finding love in the midst of darkness, but rather, what i propose is really a metaphor from a spiritual perspective. and the movie maleficent does a beautiful job describing how evil invades the world, creating the hatred we can feel for one another.
are you still with me?
for the longest time, i believed that in order to beat the enemy i needed to hate him. not just hate him, but despise him, or loathe him. i needed to pray for his demise. i needed to “strike his head with my heel” as genesis promises i will. yet, making myself loathe the one thing that has been constant in my darkest hours is a bit more challenging that i thought it would be, especially when you consider he is the one who is creating my darkest hours.
a few weeks ago my spirit had this overwhelming sense of wanting to come out of its shell. i began to see the hundreds of fellow christians in the worship hall of a church as empty, with “quenched spirits” if you will. the lord reminded me of the faith that shadrach, meshach, and abed-negro in daniel 3 had: a faith where even the threat of death didn’t shake their belief in god.
suddenly i longed to let my spirit out to roam the world as she so often begs to do. i could feel her punching at my insides, and i could hear the rattling of the chains i have clasped onto her, as the worldly view of christianity tells me i must do. you see, i’m not burdened by the unbelievers outside of my community, it is the unbelievers inside my community that i am burdened by most. it is those people who have been in the faith so long that is has become docile and watered down. a faith which encourages the younger generations to believe in the supernatural, only to suffocate the spirit with disbelief.
you see, i can’t tell you the amount of times i have encountered believers who don’t believe in the gifts of the holy spirit. i can’t tell you the amount of believers i have encountered who have let hatred, rage, bitterness, forgiveness, and other toxic emotions of the enemy live in them, whilst maintaining their “christdomhood” (not a real word, i know). i can’t tell you the amount of “believers” who, full of pride, take communion, wearing their crosses and doing the work of the enemy with their words.
i can’t tell you the amount of “believers” i have encountered who don’t know their identity, or the love of Christ.
i’ve been referred to as a newbie or a baby several times because i’m a born-again christian. and for the longest time i thought this was the normal process of things. that my desires, my insights, my spiritual longing and calling was simply due to the fact that i knew too little of who god really is, and what he really wants from us in this life.
however, more and more i am seeing my spirit rise up against what those around me long for me do. i am seeing my spirit rise up against what many “Christian” cohorts expect me to do once i “know God more.”
so, here is me stepping out and suggesting something i’ve never heard people speak about.
i don’t feel led to hate the enemy. i feel led to love him (the bible even says to do this…to love our enemies). i feel led to show compassion for him, because like maleficent, like the beast, he was once beautiful and good. but jealously was birthed out of him, and a deep seeded hatred for the one he believed abandoned him grew. as one of my close friends put it, “the enemy’s battle isn’t about us, it’s about hurting God.” and why would God’s secondhand “man” desire to hurt Him? i don’t believe it’s because satan felt God was “full of Himself” but rather because God had so much love to give that He created us, and only after creating us did God say, “it is good.”
can you imagine hearing that? can you imagine your parents loving you and enjoying your company and then creating another million or trillion other creatures and then saying, “finally, i’m complete.”? especially when you were the top of the top?
like maleficent, lucifer trusted God. God was lucifer’s, “true love’s kiss,” and he couldn’t deal with who God is. he couldn’t deal with the abandonment he felt. so, to get back at God, satan has “cursed” us. he tricks us into questioning God’s goodness, therefore, tempting us to abandon our identity.
let me be clear: i am in no way suggesting we worship the devil or that what he feels toward God is truth. i believe God is the one and only God. i believe Christ is my savior, and i desire to live a Christ-centered life.
i don’t believe that finding compassion for the enemy means we let him grab a foothold in our lives. in fact, i believe it does the opposite. i believe by knowing our enemy more, by understanding why he does the things he does, we can operate out of the spirit of God more. why? because when you see that satan is a bruised and hurt “man,” it takes the fear out of confronting him.
when we operate out of compassion, we can remember his battle isn’t about us, it’s about his hurt towards God. it’s about letting the full attributes of the spirit take over us, even in the face of evil.
it’s about finding compassion for our fellow men, on earth, who are wounded by the lives they’ve lived. it’s about finding forgiveness for those who’ve trespassed against us. it’s about finding patience for those who are still burdened by their fears and demons. it’s about knowing God and who He has called you to be, regardless of who the world tells you He wants you to be. it’s about discovering your identity in christ, and knowing no one can take that away.
my spirit longs to see the chains that so many of us have around our spirits gone. to see the afflictions that bind us into a slavery of hatred, entitlement, pride, fear, anxiety, and depression removed from us. how beautiful would it be to see our enemy lifted under the light of the sky, twirling in the air as his beastly features are removed, the ugliness spurred on by jealously and hurt wiped away, and all that would remain would be the beautiful creation god intended him to be all a long?
please don’t misconstrue my words, though i speak of satan in this post, i also mean the people of this world that satan afflicts. i also mean the murders, the thieves, the liars, the rapists, anyone afflicted with anything from evil. i long to see them free. i long to be free of my own afflictions of fear and anxiety. to do this, i believe we must let the spirit out.
it is my hope i’ve caused you to question some of the ways you have lived a “christian” life, and start asking how to live a “spiritual” life.
will you take that leap with me and “[not] quench your spirit” as1 thessalonians 5:19.