Cinderella: “Have Courage, and Be Kind”

I saw Disney’s new Cinderella movie this past weekend. (Did you?) I loved it! Not only was it a much-needed break from my never-ending work; it also gave me a picture of the unparalleled beauty of courage and kindness in the face of humiliation, suffering, and shame.

If God is your Father, and you are His adopted daughter, then you are a princess.

It was a surprising picture, and a jarring one, as the previews before the movie—and everything our world seems to celebrate—is not letting anyone so much as step on our toes.

But Ella (the main character in Cinderella) shows us a shockingly different way of life. A beautiful way of life.

For some reason, Ella’s mom waited until her deathbed to share with Ella “a great secret that will see you through all the trials life has to offer.” Ella promised. She would:

“Have courage and be kind.”

The movie doesn’t explain how Ella is able to perform this feat in the face of such mistreatment, but she does. After her dear mother dies, Ella is courageous and kind when her stepmother and stepsisters:

  • Relegate her to the attic to sleep
  • Banish her from the table at mealtimes
  • Change her name from Ella to Cinderella because she’s dirty from the cinder in the fireplace
  • Treat her like a servant instead of the sister and daughter that she is
  • Tear her dress and forbid her from attending the ball

But thanks to the fairy godmother, Cinderella is able to attend the ball after all, and the Prince makes a beeline for her.

Sure, Cinderella looks stunning. But it’s not her ball gown or glass slippers that first catch the Prince’s eye. Weeks before, she turns his head when he happens upon her on a hunting trip in the forest—when her hair is knotted and her clothes plain. It’s her inner beauty that captures his attention—her courage and her kindness.

Girls, this beauty isn’t just the stuff of fairy tales. It’s what you and I are to pursue as daughters of the King:

“Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses [or shimmering, blue ball gowns!] but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God” (1 Peter 3:3-4).

According to God’s standards for beauty . . .

Kindness isn’t weakness; it’s strength.

Submission isn’t pitiful; it’s beautiful and courageous.

First Peter has a lot to say on the subject. Here’s just a taste:

“To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing. . . .

“Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence . . .

“It is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong. For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:8–18).

But how can we have courage when others mistreat us?

Why should we be kind to those who are cruel?

Cinderella acted this way because she was a princess—not a princess by blood, but a true princess in heart.

And if God is your Father, and you are His adopted daughter, then you are a princess too. Not the kind with a ball gown and a tiara, but a true princess. A princess because God brought you into His family at the exorbitant cost of His Son’s life-blood. This honored position is not an excuse to act selfish but to be courageous and kind.

So when you encounter those bullies at school or at home or at work, remember this: You may not have a fairy godmother to rescue you, but you have the living God on your side. This God is pleased—not when you suffer for doing wrong—but for doing right. This same God suffered for you so you might become royalty:

“You have been called for this purpose [to patiently endure suffering for doing what is right], since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

“who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:21–24).

Are you acting like the princess you are? If you’re not sure you’ve ever surrendered your life to the King of kings, you can read more about that here.

Bow to the King, sweet girl.

Have courage, and be kind.

PS: For a chance to win a Bible study on how you can live like a “True Princess,” be sure to check out our Freebie Friday post tomorrow!

About Author

Paula Marsteller

Paula no longer tries to catch guys' attention by swallowing live goldfish, arm wrestling, and jumping down flights of stairs. (She's married to a wonderful man now!) She spends her days caring for her son, Iren, and writing for Revive Our Hearts. She's the author of Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl: On Her Journey from Neediness to Freedom, and she and her family live in New York. You can catch all her writing on

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  • Becca

    I can’t wait to see Cinderella!! I looks like such an awesome movie:) Thanks for this sweet message to act like a true princess:D I’m actually reading 1 Peter right now! Great post today Paula:)

    • Paula Hendricks

      Cool, Becca! I’m reading 1 Peter now too. If you couldn’t tell. 🙂

  • Madeline

    I have not seen Cinderella yet and I really want to. Thanks for this reminder that we are princesses and that true beauty will shine the brightest!

    • Paula Hendricks

      You bet, Madeline!

  • Jess

    What if you act kindhearted to people, but in exchange, they take advantage of your kindness, especially in business and legal dealings?

    • T

      I am wondering the same thing. I had a friend who took advantage of me because of my kindness.

    • Paula Hendricks

      Dear Jess and T,

      That’s exactly what happens in Cinderella. She gets taken advantage of. But in the end she wins.

      God tells us that we, too, will suffer for doing good (which also includes being kind). We can expect this–and we need to make sure we’re suffering not for doing wrong, but for doing what’s right.

      God knows and cares–in fact, He’s suffered more than we ever will for doing what was right. Check out these verses again:

      “You have been called for this purpose [to patiently endure suffering for doing what is right], since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps,

      “who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in his mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed” (1 Peter 2:21–24).

      We too, will win in the end, if we continue to follow Christ and live like Him, by His powerful Spirit in us.

      • Em

        If it’s okay…I’d like to add…we are also to have wisdom. We can be kind but also not allow people to take advantage of us. Jesus had much wisdom and knew he needed to lay down his life. We can suffer at the hands of others at times but it’s okay to say…I’m not a punching bag for you…that is not okay. There certainly more on this. Not easy in know in some situations what is a wise course of action is… so other godly wise people are important in our lives to help us through those kind of situations. I just wanted to add…that being kind doesn’t always mean we let people take advantage of that thinking we are suffering for Christ because we can be walking in gentleness and wisdom as well.

  • Rachel

    Oh my!!! I have never thought of myself as a Princess! My father will sometimes call me a princess but I never thought anything about it. Thank you for this I needed this pep talk to start my morning!

    • Paula Hendricks

      You bet, Rachel. No higher princess if the King of Kings if your Father!

  • Paula! I love this! I haven’t seen the movie yet, but from the trailers I have gotten the “have courage, and be kind” message. This post really encouraged me!

    • Paula Hendricks

      I’m so glad, Brooklyn!

  • Rebecca Brown

    Wow! My dad says that I’m his princess, but I never truly believed him. I think focusing on my inner princess is what I need to work on. I get so consumed with what people see on the outside, that I don’t take time for the inside. Thanks again for the post!

    • Paula Hendricks

      You bet, Rebecca. Even better than being your dad’s princess, if the King of Kings if your Father, you’re His princess-daughter too!

  • Kate

    Thanks so much for this. In a world that values you and praises you if you defy everything to get what you want and are basically a jerk, it’s tough… and having this reminder that I am to have a gentle and quiet spirit is an encouragement today. Being gentle is not weakness – it’s seeing and believing something that the “strong” refuse to.

  • Allyce

    I love the princess tales. Cinderella is one of the French fairy tales that has a wonderful ending. I just wish these princesses would not be shown with cleavage. Especially the Disney princesses.

    • Jesusfreak17

      Me too!!

    • Jesusfreak17

      Me too!!

  • Kyaunnee Richardson

    Thank you so much for this blog post. I am truly honored and blessed by reading this. I sometimes reminded about the things I have went through in my past through school such as name calling and being picked on but you are absolutely right. I may not have a fairy godmother but I do have the Creator of the Universe on my side. My Heavenly Father who has seen me through and is still seeing through and guiding my steps. We are all princesses!

  • Olivia Chambers

    Cinderella is a good example of Mathew 5:38-48.

    Eye for an Eye

    “38“You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth39But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. 41If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. 42Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.

    Love for Enemies

    43“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbori and hate your enemy.’ 44But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

  • Great post. Now I can’t wait to watch it.

  • Shawna

    I saw it this weekend with my 15 (almost 16!!!!lol year old daughter. LOVED IT! and loved seeing the message of kindness and courage….it showed a little more of the reality of the loss she faced and the I’ll treatment from her step family, and just what it “looks like” to have kindness and courage despite the circumstances……

  • Kathy Cassel

    Couldn’t agree more, even wrote a book for girls!

  • Loved the movie!

  • kayla

    Love this blog Post.

  • Bill Hearn

    I’m preparing a Sunday School lesson on the latest
    Cinderella movie. Thanks for your great scripture references. Her story is an inspiring comparisons to the Gospel… Cinderella was orphaned, she was treated like
    a slave but was not only redeemed, she reigned.

  • Laura van Baar

    Thank you for this post. I can relate to this so much. Since I’ve seen this movie that quote has become my new life motto. Actually it has always been but now that way of acting got words to it. Cause regardless of my own state of mind I always welcomed people with a warm smile also those who have hurt me in the past and I have absolutely no feeling of revenge or punishing those who have done wrong because I see where they are coming from and I know that in heart they mean well and they are good. I might only pity them for not knowing how to handle a situation better and I wish them all the best in bettering themselves. Though that is also the reason that no one really knows how bad I am doing and how sad I am and actually have been for quite a while and it was getting worse and worse because people always see me as a happy warm and loving person that can take on the world. And I recently broke down because I couldn’t take it anymore, like Cinderella at some point. Luckily her fairy godmother came to her rescue. Hopefully I will find mine. The people around me know now because I couldn’t keep it to myself anymore and now I just need to find my ‘fairy godmother’ figuratively speaking to find that happy person that I know I am inside and free her from the pain and sorrow that is locking her up

    • I’m thankful that the people around you know the pain you are carrying now, Laura! You are not alone! It would be so helpful to you to be able to talk this out so that you can find a healthy way to work through your pain.

      I’m praying that you are able to find a godly woman who can meet with you, pray for you, encourage you and hold you accountable so that you can find victory in this area. Will you join me in praying for that? We both know that there isn’t any “fairy godmother” but please remember that Jesus does have a way through this – a way that will ultimately be for your good and for His glory.

  • Julian Bolster

    Brilliant blog. As a godfather to a brilliant little girl, we saw this movie and its key theme and slogan was a great keystone for conversation. You’re blog is spot on. Thank you. This phrase guides my wife and I in our lives! Cheers – Julian Bolster

  • TimSingleton

    Thank you for writing this.

  • This is really late, but this is an amazing article.

    • GraceofGod

      I absolutely agree!

  • Nicole

    I love that about you are God’s princess. To be humble and kind is the nature of a true princess and not so much about all the adornment.

  • Macayla Bycroft

    I’m glad you did an article on this saying because I absolutely love it! It will probably be my senior quote I love it that much 🙂 Thanks!

  • Ruby Bartle

    I really liked that Disney movie the message was great! Much better then the others that say ” Follow your heart” or ” Live your dreams”.

  • Shaula

    I looked up reviews for Cinderella 2015 after watching Beauty and the Beast 2017, not just because I suddenly miss watching Ella and Kit. I did enjoy B&theB but Cinderella’s message resonates more in my heart being His little princess. God’s true design of us His little girls is not really about being feminists and such. It’s all about becoming His godly daughters; quiet but courageous, gentle but resilient. Youre so true about the real meaning of submission. Thanks so much for this. I took down notes, too. Take care always, sister in Christ 🙂

    • You’re welcome, Shaula! I haven’t watched B&theBeast yet, but I’m looking forward to it.



  • Emily Gontijo

    This movie is full of Christian values! The director is a Christian! ❤

  • Ashley Bowen

    Thanks for this post!!

  • Mary Tilden

    Love, love, love, love, LOVE this POST!! I loved this movie when I first saw it as well. And to see a woman of faith compare the movie motto to how Christian women ought to be…BEAUTIFUL!! Thank you for sharing!

  • Erika

    Hello Paula. Thank you for this post!
    I love the story of Cinderella!
    Is there still a place where I can get the “True Princess” Bible study? And where can I get your book “Confessions of a Boy-Crazy Girl”?
    Thank you!

  • Nola

    I don’t agree with this. Yes, we should be kind and selfless, but that has nothing to do with submission. Also, men should be kind and selfless too.

    • Anonymous Sister

      Nola, what do you consider submission to be? And Paula was referring specifically to girls (as this is a girls’ blog), so I don’t really see what that has to do with men. Of course they should also be selfless

  • Ange Amurao

    Hi paula I’m 15 but when I read this, I feel like I’m 19 or 20. just like true princess age haha I love this story and I love how God used you to other people to give them courage😊

    • Dear Ange,

      I’m so glad you left a comment on this, ’cause I needed to re-read it. Pray for me as I seek to put it into practice today.