Cinderella is one of my favorite movies. I love the line in it when she is talking to Kit in the woods (don't worry, if you haven't seen the movie yet I won't ruin it for you) "We must simply have courage and be kind". Out of everyone she had a right to be angry, to hate her stepfamily- but she didn't.
Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. Luke 6:27:31
She could have let life make her bitter, after all, she'd become a servant in her own home. Her father- the one supposed to protect her- was dead, her step mother and sisters abused her, the servants she grew up with, was friends with were sent away. The only friends she had in the world were an assortment of rodents and farm animals. She was forced to live in the attic, to watch everything she held dear be ripped away. She was powerless to stop it. Life hadn't been fair to her.
Yet she still chose to be kind, even though life wasn't fair, though her stepfamily trampled on the things she held dear. She chose to be happy. To not let life make her bitter or angry like her step-mother. To hold on to the hope that she would get her happy ending one day.
At the end of the movie, (ok so I take back the I won't ruin its sentence- but hey we all know how the story goes anyway) as she is walking out- she got her happy ending. She got the prince. Her step sisters were bowing and scraping for her forgiveness. Life was finally going her way. She turns one last time to look at her stepmother standing at the top of the stairs, staring down at her icily. Like a tower, haughty and cruel. Yet with three little words, the tower comes crashing to her knees and she shows you her heart.
"I forgive you."
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
They didn't deserve to be forgiven. But she forgave them anyway. We didn't deserve to be forgiven, but He died for us anyway. How can we do any less?
... While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8
At that point, Peter got up the nerve to ask, “Master, how many times do I forgive a brother or sister who hurts me? Seven?” Jesus replied, “Seven! Hardly. Try seventy times seven.
Matthew 18:21,22 (MSG)