** Spoiler **If you haven't yet seen the movie Maleficent and plan to, you might want to read this post after you view the movie. I'll be revealing some details that spoil the plot!
I saw Maleficent Friday night. And was blown away. I thought the previews looked a little dark for it to be a marketed "kid movie". But I quickly realized the reason why the darkness never suffocated or consumed.
Why? Because you were cheering for Maleficent the entire time. You were never afraid of her, rather, you were afraid FOR her. You hurt for her. You felt her wounds, understood them, related to them, and rooted for her to have exactly what she wanted. You "got it" and "got her"...because you've been there.
As an author, the characterization of this villain was phenomenal.
Because backstory is everything. In fiction, and in real life. Who we are and what we do, the choices we make, the way we view life, everything - is filtered through our backstory. Through not only what has happened to us, but how we chose to react to what happened to us.
Maleficent was burned - badly - by betrayal of the one she loved and who was supposed to love her.
I know that feeling. I know it well. My ex husband might not have cut the wings from my back but he cut the heart from my chest. It's the same.
The difference for me from Maleficent is that Jesus rescued me from the darkness of revenge that so easily consumed the fairy queen, and so easily - and even dare I say understandably - consumes all of us. All of us tend to get hurt and hide behind walls. For Maleficent, they were literal walls of thorns. For us, the walls might be less tangible but even more impenetrable. Walls of bitterness, envy, pride, lust, jealousy, revenge. Walls of "I don't need you" and "I'm better than you" and "You're going to pay" and the worst one yet - "I'm going to hurt you back".
It's a cycle shrouded in darkness, a dense fog of deceit and despair that never delivers its promise to fufill and Never. Ever. Lifts.
The saddest part of the movie came when Maleficent realized her heart had changed - because of the goodness of Aurora. So she tried to take back her curse.
And it was too late.
Sometimes, the consequences and side effects of our lashing out in our hurt can not be undone. Words that drip poison can't be retracted. We might not cast literal curses like a witch or a fairy, but the words we speak DO bring either life or death.
Proverbs 18: 21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.
What have you spoken over your past? Over your hurt? Over your situation? Poison, or healing? Blessing, or curse?
There was one powerful point of the movie that lingers still in me, the kind that sits in your stomach and twists and ties and tingles even days later. It happened at the climax of the movie, when Maleficent was fighting (in self defense) the man who had scorned her years before - Aurora's father. He had betrayed her once in the worst way. Hunted her for years. Tried to kill her and almost succeeded once she came to save Aurora. But now, finally, she has the upper hand. His throat is in her hand, he's backed against a crumbling wall, and she can destroy him with one action. Her long awaited revenge is literally in her grasp.
Yet she releases him, and with a loud cry, shouts "It's over!" And walks away.
Powerful. In many ways.
I'm going through a situation right now that has nothing to do (directly, anyway) with my divorce, but has caused me a lot of pain, a lot of confusion, and has required a fight of me that has exhausted me daily. Spiritual warfare like never before.
So in that particular moment of the movie, I burst into tears. Because I so, so, so wanted someone to grab the evil that's after me by it's horns and shout IT'S OVER. Grab the tornado cycle of lies and confusion and chaos that swirls in my heart and head daily, sling it like a lasso into an abyss and yell IT'S OVER. I wanted someone to save me from it.
To make it stop.
To. Just. End. It.
Needless to say, I left the theater a little heavy.
Until Sunday morning, sitting in church, our praise band sang a song they've sang before. Yet that morning, one of the lyrics assaulted me brand new like a physical punch. A Holy Spirit jab, one of those "hey, this one's for you." The lyrics talked about Jesus rising from the dead, and being our deliverer.
With a flash of understanding that can only come from Jesus, with a light that pierced the darkness as only the Sword of the Spirit can, He told me something I'll never forget.
You know how you wanted someone to fight for you and declare It Is Over?
I already did.
And I had my own Selah right there in the pew.
John 19:28-30 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.
He. Already. Did.
The fiercest warrior I could ever even imagine has ALREADY stared hell in the eyes and proclaimed "It's finished." He's ALREADY gripped death and sin and my demons by the throat and lassoed them back into the abyss. He's ALREADY declared the lies, confusion and chaos that has tormented me as finished.
What more could I want?
So I can sit on that crumbling castle wall, and watch my life fall apart unnecessarily around me...
Or I could get up and walk in the freedom that's already mine, already paid for.
And LIVE. Live as if I believe Jesus is actually enough. Live as if I believe He is a true warrior King that far exceeds any fictional character ever created. Live as if I believe it is actually finished.
And if I (we) don't believe that, then it's the equivalent of me (us) saying the empty tomb was in vain.
It is finished.