At The Movies: Maleficent

At The Movies

April 19, 2015

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Rosario Picardo

The pain of betrayal... 
On top of the world, you felt unstoppable until it happened: the spouse left, the co-worker lied, the child rebelled, the parent relapsed - and your world caved. Betrayal can cut deep with seemingly no navigable way out. 

Maleficent is the story of betrayal - and revenge. Don't miss Pastor Roz's message this weekend as he challenges us to move past betrayal with the same strength of forgiveness Jesus so powerfully demonstrated. 
AT THE MOVIES: Maleficent

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Today's Focus

John 13:21-27 / Rosario Picardo / April 18-19, 2015 

At the Movies: Maleficent







1. Praying for those who we have been a Judas to

2. The practice of writing a letter to someone you have betrayed or

        who has betrayed you

3. Apologize and seek the forgiveness of someone you’ve betrayed

       as long as it does no harm to you or others

Sermon Questions

At the Movies: Maleficent

In the movie Maleficent, the root of Maleficent’s evil is the betrayal she experienced over “True love’s first kiss.” This week we will work with the Holy Spirit to identify times of betrayal and thoughts of revenge that linger in our hearts in order to release them and be at peace.  Daily devotionals that accompany each day's reading are also available on Facebook. They are created by a great Ginghamsburg unpaid servant team. You do not have to be a Facebook user to access them. View here.
Day 1: Read Luke 6:12-16
Jesus and Judas had a relationship before Judas was called to follow Jesus. Does being a follower mean that Judas believed in Jesus? Why or why not? What may have been some of Judas’ expectations of Jesus upon meeting? What expectations do you put on Jesus? 
Day 2: Read John 13:1-11
Jesus knew the prompting of the betrayer, yet he washed his feet. Jesus also insinuated Judas was “not clean” and needed a “full bath.” Imagine Judas’ response to the foot washing versus Simon Peter’s. How was Judas unclean? What bath was needed? Is being prompted by the devil the same as doing it? How do you allow people to humbly serve you?
Day 3: Read Matthew 26:6-16 
Judas is mentally toying with the idea of betraying Jesus. How did Jesus’ anointing in Bethany motivate Judas to move from thought into active betrayal? How have you harbored thoughts of betrayal/revenge in your life? Are you actively harboring unhealthy thoughts? What was a final motivator for you to act against someone? Why? How can betrayal be stopped before it starts?
Day 4: Read John 13:18-30
Judas is identified as the one who will betray Jesus. How might Judas have felt to have his private sin publicly revealed? Do you think Judas ate the bread Jesus handed to him? Why? Did Judas complete his betrayal as a form of revenge for his public embarrassment? Have you?
Day 5: Read Mark 14:43-46
Jesus and Maleficent were betrayed with a kiss. How are betrayal and revenge personal in nature? When have you felt betrayed? What is the significance of being betrayed by a kiss?  How are Jesus’ and Maleficent’s responses to their betrayals different? How are they the same?
Day 6: Read Matthew 27:1-5; Exodus 29:15-18, 30:11-16
Out of remorse, Judas seeks forgiveness of his sin from the chief priests. Why was this culturally a normal response? Why did the priests’ response instill complete despair in Judas? Did Jesus condemn Judas at the betrayal? How did Jesus change the process of forgiveness?
Day 7: Read 2 Corinthians 2:1-7
Maleficent states, “This is done.” Jesus states, “It is finished.” We all experience betrayal just as Paul expresses in Corinthians. What actions did Paul take to resolve his sense of betrayal? Knowing Christ has finished the work of forgiveness for all believers, how could you resolve your unfinished senses of betrayal or thoughts of revenge today?
(Read daily reflections at   

Sermon Transcript

April 18-19, 2015    


Sermon Series: At The Movies: Maleficent

Pastor Rosario Picardo

John 13:21-27 

There’s something about fantasy, fairytales and fiction that draw us into a story where it catches are attention and we can see ourselves in it. It’s almost an escape from the complexity of our real life problems, and yet the themes we encounter are all too real, such as in our movie for the weekend, Maleficent.


Maleficent opens with the voice-over narrator stating that you may have heard the story about Sleeping Beauty before, but says you may remember it differently. It’s about a beautiful, pure-hearted, young woman—a fairy actually—whose name is Maleficent.  She was growing up in a peaceable forest kingdom, until one day, an invading army threatens the harmony of the land. Maleficent rises to be the land's fiercest protector, but she ultimately suffers a ruthless act by her old love, Stefan, who cuts off her wings in order to become the new king. This act begins to turn Maleficent’s pure heart to stone. Bent on revenge, Maleficent places a curse upon King Stefan’s newborn daughter, Aurora. As the child grows, Maleficent realizes that Aurora holds the key to peace in the kingdom—and perhaps to Maleficent’s true happiness, as well.


Maleficent’s character turns from a fairy into a witch for a very good reason—she had her wings not just clipped, but also cut off, so she would not be able to soar to the sky and fly anymore as we see in this clip.


(Show Movie Clip – Maleficent’s wings cut off)


Did you notice the pain in Maleficent’s eyes? Her wings are cut off at night while she is sleeping, which almost feels like her identity is taken away from her. The most horrifying thing about this is, it’s done by the person she loves the most, Stefan. This begs the question for us this morning, “Have you ever had your wings cut off?”


Having your wings cut off happens in different ways. Perhaps you have had your wings cut off by the person you love—if they have ever cheated on you or maybe lied to you and broke your heart. Unfortunately, this is all too common and if you think about it, country music wouldn’t exist either.


Have your wings ever been cut off by a parent who walked out on you or broke a promise? Have your wings ever been cut off by an employer who laid you off or promised you a promotion you didn’t get? Have your wings ever been cut off by a well-meaning Christian you confided in, but told others about what you shared with them at a life group. If you ever have experienced your wings being cut off, you know the feeling of being punched in the stomach, feeling like you can’t breathe, your heart is sliced open and everything you found your identity in is ripped from you. 


The feelings of having your wings cut off are very difficult to overcome, as it severs the foundations of relationships, which is trust. We understand the feelings that come with this all too well. It’s an emotional let down. We are hurt, depressed and angry. We wonder why this person has cut off our wings. We sometimes turn it back on ourselves thinking, “what’s wrong with me that this person did this to me?” This can make us feel insignificant and unimportant which lowers our self-esteem—or in the case of Maleficent, we want revenge. We want what happened to us in private to be made public on social media and Facebook for the world to see. We want to make sure the person who inflicted harm upon us gets what they deserve.


If you have ever had your wings cut off you are in a good company. Even Jesus had his wings cut off by one of the people he loved the most, Judas, as we see the sequence of events unfolding in John 13:21-27.


After he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” His disciples stared at one another, at a loss to know which of them he meant. One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him. Simon Peter motioned to this disciple and said, “Ask him which one he means.” Leaning back against Jesus, he asked him, “Lord, who is it?” Jesus answered, “It is the one to whom I will give this piece of bread when I have dipped it in the dish.” Then, dipping the piece of bread, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. As soon as Judas took the bread, Satan entered into him.


Whenever we have experienced having our wings cut off, it’s hard to understand why we feel the way we do. I think it’s because when we have experienced betrayal it takes us by surprise, and happens in close relationships.


An enemy cannot betray you. It comes with someone close. Author John Le Carre once said, “Betrayal can only happen if you love.”


When you give your heart to others, you put them in a position to break it. Maleficent loves Stefan the very person who betrayed her. Stefan was not a stranger but someone Maleficent trusted with her heart. Judas was not a random stranger to Jesus but made the cut from simply being a fan of Jesus—anytime you turn water into wine, feed 5,000 of your closets friends, and raise the dead, you will have a lot of fans—to moving into the friend category and then follower. Jesus prays all night long for a decision of who he will pick to be disciples, and Judas makes the final cut. The betrayal stung for Jesus because of the time he spent with Judas.


Last week, Pastor Mike talked about the power of forgiveness after we have been through betrayal. It’s easier to identify the folks who have played the role of Judas in our own lives and have cut off our own wings, but this week we want to focus on how we have cut off the wings of others.


When have I played the role of Judas in someone else’s life?


We’ve heard it said that hurt people end of hurting people, which is what Maleficent does in this clip.


(Show Movie Clip — Maleficent betrays Aurora)

Martin Luther had a helpful way of talking about Christians. He said, “We were at the same time saint and sinner.” Yes, we are Christians, made right with God through faith in Christ, but we are still sinners capable of great evil.

This may be hard for us to admit but when we carefully examine our lives, we can see our shortcomings as a Judas.

I have been Judas to a person… if I ever cheated on someone.

I have been Judas to a person… if I ever stole from someone.

I have been Judas to a person… if I ever gossiped about something a friend told me in confidence.

I have been Judas to a person… if people were slandering my friend in public, and I remained silent.

I have been Judas to a person… if I have cancelled on meeting a friend because I got a “better offer” to hang out with somebody cooler.


When I have been Judas?


Ask yourself the question, “Who is counting on me that I betrayed?”

When it comes down to it we have been betrayed and have done our own share of betraying whether we admit it or not. We have been hurt and we have hurt others.  However, the form of betrayal that is hard for us to admit is when have been a betrayer to God.

When have I been Judas to Jesus?

Maleficent’s act of revenge towards Stefan caused her to betray those around her who were innocent, like Aurora. Whenever we respond in revenge or clip the wings of someone else, we are not just sinning against them. The sins we commit against people are always sins against God first. We play the role of Judas when we betray others but especially when we betray God.


Often times when we think of betraying God, we think of breaking The Big 10, do not lie, steal, murder, cheat, commit adultery, etc. We associate betraying God with these sins of commission because they are acts we do that were not supposed to do. But what about the very thing God calls us to do that we purposely leave undone? We call these sins of omission. 


James 4:17, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”


I have been a Judas to Jesus when I…

stand back when I should step out in faith.
stay seated when I should stand up.
keep silent when I should speak up.


This past week, Major League Baseball celebrated the 62nd anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier and uniformed all personnel, coaches, players and umpires in his number 42. Robinson was the first the African American to play in the Major Leagues which ended racial segregation, however, he continued to go through heavy persecution. Robinson, like Martin Luther King, Jr. fought this with nonviolent resistance. Some of the folks he was facing against were well-intentioned Christian who were deriving their views of scripture, while other Christians stood back and did nothing even when they felt called to speak up. Friends, I believe this happens today, and we don’t come to the defense of others because we are scared, which is ultimately a betrayal against God.


We have all played the role as the betrayer but just like the victim, we don’t have to stay that way for the rest of our lives.


We need to examine ourselves. We need to get in touch with why we did it. Did you feel pressured by someone else? Was I angry and this was how I was going to get back at this person? We need to examine these things so we can understand what led to our willingness to betray.


We need to realize the consequences. The beauty of a fairy tale is you can make it end however you want. Maleficent gets to “undo” the betrayal. We may not have that opportunity the way we would like if we are the betrayer. Once the wings are cut, we may not be able to undo the pain. In some way, we can change the way we live in the future. We all have the opportunity to recognize the consequence of what we have done. Healing only comes in the power of love in Christ and forgiveness.


We need to repent. Metanoia, literally, is the Greek word meaning “change of mind.” Yet the full meaning is somewhat more. In the New Testament, the word metanoia is often translated as “repentance.” But this kind of repentance is not about regret or guilt or shame; it implies making a decision to turn around, to face a new direction. This is precisely what Maleficent does as she encounters Aurora in this final scene.


(Show Movie Clip – Final Scene)

Here we see not only Aurora’s willingness to forgive, but also Maleficent’s willingness to be the person she is meant to be.


If you are here today needing to forgive your Judas—the person who cut off your wings—to trust God to deal perfectly with your wounds and the one who wounded you. Then you can say with Jesus, “It is finished!” You can walk away from the bitterness of betrayal knowing that your Savior will handle it. Because the past is finished, you can focus on the journey ahead. As the betrayer, we know that there is forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and there is no condemnation in Christ. We have to work the steps of forgiving others, forgiving ourselves and asking for forgiveness from our act of betrayals.


Last week Pastor Mike gave us some homework to do.

1. Identify the person you are angry with

2. Honestly address your feelings

3. Do the work of forgiveness


Today we want to build on that.

 1. Pray for those you have been a Judas to

2. Write a letter to someone you have betrayed or who has betrayed you

3. Apologize and seek the forgiveness of someone you’ve betrayed, as long as it does no harm to you or others

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