It’s at the heart of all the good fairy tales. Take Sleeping Beauty, for instance, who lay under the curse of sleep until revived by the handsome prince. Ariel had to receive the “kiss of true love” from Eric in The Little Mermaid. Or the movie Enchanted, where Giselle ate the poison apple and could awaken only by a kiss from her true love. Add a host of other stories that, in some form or another, bring a spell of evil that must be broken by the power of love.
Why this fascination with evil spells and their blissful cure? As one might readily recognize, they are simply a retelling of the very first love story ever recorded: God created Adam and Eve to live with Him forever; sin cast the spell of evil; God’s love wins in the end. While seemingly just a fairy tale, these stories delve into our imagination to pull out what we know to be true in our heart.
The saga continues with the new Frozen movie. Born with the ability to turn everything cold, Elsa first finds joy in making snow for her little sister Anna to play in, until she realizes its curse when it harms those she loves. Bound by her fear of hurting others, she ends up turning her kingdom into eternal winter. While Elsa desperately tries to protect Anna from herself, because of her fear and anger, she ends up zapping her in the heart, which will eventually turn cold as ice. The only way to reverse the effects is by an act of true love — a sacrifice one person makes for another. Anna ultimately sacrifices her life for Elsa, breaking the curse and bringing her back to life.
What impacted me the most in the Frozen story was the depiction of fear as the antagonist. Elsa was, ironically, frozen by her fear. Her way of protecting others was to distance them from her. Fear controlled her. Fear kept her from loving others. Fear made her self-focused.
How are we bound by our fears? Fear of what others think. Fear that we are not good enough. Fear of letting others get too close because if they know the real me, they won’t like me. We fear hurting, or being hurt by, others. But God answers, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear . . .” (1 John 4:18a).
Jesus understands how we have been frozen by our fear. We buy into the lie of the Devil and his evil schemes, and the fear it brings paralyzes us, binding our heart in its horrible clutches. Jesus, the mighty prince, rides onto the scene. Yet He does not bedazzle us with His sword or with His mighty hand crushing the enemy. It is with “true love’s kiss,” an act of love so sacrificial, so giving, so loving, so gentle that it melts the heart of ice and returns the abundance of life.
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). With these words, Paul uncovers the truth of the price Jesus was willing to pay. I am the one frozen by fear. I am the one lashing back at those who love me. I am the one resisting Jesus. I am the sinner whose fear drove me away from the very One who offered freedom. And my sin cut Jesus to the heart. Yet Jesus knew that the only way to reverse the stronghold of the curse was an act of selfless sacrifice. My “true love’s kiss” came in the form of a cross, and with the power of love alone He bore my shame, willingly doing for me what I could not do on my own. A kiss so passionate and giving that He gave all He had — for me.
Some say Jesus Christ was just a great teacher. Some say He is just a fairy tale. Some say there is no such thing as a match made in heaven. But I know there is, for my heart has received the kiss of my true love, and with Him I will live happily ever after.
Scripture quotations are from the New International Version.