The next movie that was put on my heart for Christian Parallels in the movies is “Pinocchio.” Now let me start by saying, I had never seen this 1940s Disney classic until this movie was put on my heart. But as I watched it, I quickly saw why God directed me to this movie.
The movie opens as Jiminy Cricket is singing a song, “When You Wish Upon a star…” He then goes on to narrate the beginning of our story.
Geppetto is a skilled woodworker who makes beautiful toys along side of his cat, Figaro, and fish, Cleo. After finishing a beautiful puppet, Pinocchio, Geppetto and his pets go to bed. As the window is opened, Geppeto sees the beautiful wishing star and makes a wish for Pinocchio to be a real boy.
The Blue Ferry arrives and makes Geppetto’s wish come true. The puppet comes alive, but in order to be a real boy he must prove to be brave, truthful and unselfish. A brand new boy with so many questions and unsure of right from wrong, Pinocchio asks, “What’s a conscience?”
Jiminy responds, “A conscience is that still small voice that people won’t listen to. ”
Eventually, Jiminy takes on the task of being Pinocchio’s conscience. The Blue Ferry said, “I dub you Pinocchio’s conscience, Lord High Keeper of the Knowledge of Right and Wrong, Counselor in Moments of High Temptation, and Guide Along the Straight and Narrow Path. Arise, Sir Jiminy Cricket.”
When Geppetto awakes he finds Pinocchio to be alive. He is overjoyed and quickly learns the boy has a lot of questions involving the word- why?
So the next morning, Geppetto sends Pinocchio off to school. He has an apple, a book, and a mission to go to school. However, Jiminy overslept.
Without his conscience, he is easily led astray by Honest John and Gideon. The two selfish, money-motivated characters convince Pinocchio that he doesn’t really want to go to school, he wants to be an actor.
When Jiminy does finally arrive on the scene, Pinocchio has already given up the attempt to go to school and decides he does want to be an actor. Though he listens intently to what Jiminy says, he does not follow his consicence’s advice or recognize that temptation he is giving into.
He follows the two tempters to Stromboli’s puppet show. He’s a hit. He’s going to be famous. But the second he mentions going home, he is thrown into a cage. Jiminy tries to get him out, but he is unsuccessful.
Then the Blue Ferry arrives asking Pinocchio why he didn’t go to school. Pinocchio lies, and his nose grows. Each question the Blue Ferry asks is answered with another bigger lie, and Pincocchio’s nose continues to grow.
She then says, “A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.”
Despite the lie, the Blue Ferry rescues Pinocchio and reminds him of his task.
Meanwhile, Honest John is getting another task to bring naughty boys to “Pleasure Island.” And once again, Honest John is able to lead Pinocchio astray.
As these boys enter the island, they are told to have all the fun they want and it’s all free. It’s filled with nothing but temptation and the approval to be as bad as they want. But these boys quickly start to disappear. We see as they partake in the drinking and smoking, they begin to turn into donkeys. These boys are literally standing in a trap and do not notice until they begin to change.
With the help of Jiminy, Pinocchio is able to escape, but he has grown donkey ears and a tail.
Jiminy and Pinocchio run home to find the house empty. Geptto has gone out looking for him and ends up in the belly of a whale known as Monstro. So Jiminy and Pinocchio set out on a quest to the bottom of the ocean to find Monstro.
Eventually they do find Geppetto and escape the belly of the whale. But they make him very mad in the process. Their raft breaks and all are scurrying for their lives. Geppetto tells Pinocchio to save himself, but in a brave heroic act, he saves Geppetto.
As all the characters wash up on shore, we see everyone alive, except Pinocchio.
Then the Blue Ferry arrives and says that Pinocchio has proven himself to be brave, truthful, and unselfish by saving his father’s life. And Jiminy too is awarded a ribbon for being a certified conscience.
This movie is filled with Christian parallels. In order to be a real boy, Pinocchio must avoid temptation and stay on the straight and narrow path. The thing is, he is a brand new boy, he doesn’t even know what temptation is, let alone how to identify it or avoid it. For the purposes of my train of thoughts, I am going to look at our main characters.
Pinocchio is a brand new boy. He is given the task to go to school, but tempters come. And he easily falls into their traps. I see Pinocchio as a brand new Christian. He has good intentions. He knows what he is supposed to do. But he doesn’t know how to stand firm, walk the straight and narrow path. He has no idea that he is being led astray until it’s too late.
Now let’s look at “Honest John.” Honest John is anything but honest. He is self-motivated, greedy, and selfish. He purposely leads Pinocchio astray twice with very similar tactics- lies, half-truths, distractions. And both times he gains from this. Honest John could represent many people led by sin. They don’t really care about others unless there is something in it for them. These people are led by sinful motives and leave destruction everywhere they go.
Now let’s look at Honest John’s companion, Giddeon. He barely talks throughout the entire movie. But because Honest John is not alone, his presence is validation of “truth” to the schemes and lies. Pinocchio gives into Honest John partly because he sees others are doing it too. Gideon represents most people of the world. The people who are just going along with the sin, not confronting it, making it seem normal.
Honest John and Giddeon are examples of people not only don’t care about other people, but also want them to suffer. People who lie, gossip, cheat, steal, use others… the list goes on. They are everywhere. Temptation is everywhere.
That is why Pincocchio needed Jiminy. In the movie, Jiminy is named Pinocchio’s conscience, but I see him more as Pinocchio’s mentor. He is the one who is supposed to help him identify temptation. He is the one who is supposed to keep him on the straight and narrow path.
But the first time Pinocchio is tempted, Jiminy is nowhere to be seen. And when he does finally enter the picture, his advice falls on deaf ears because Pinocchio has already been swayed.
Then Jiminy is upset that he didn’t listen and he claims he won’t help him anymore. But of course he does. He ends up being the reason he gets off “Pleasure Island” and help him find his way back home. Jiminy is in every scene with Pinocchio and his emotions change regularly as he tries to help a young boy who just doesn’t know the truth.
Everytime he goes astray, he walks straight into a trap of slavery- to Stromboi, to the donkey’s master… Likewise, everytime a believer is led into temptation, he too is led into slavery of sin.
We must walk alongside of them and help them learn to identify temptation, learn to stand firm in their faith, and learn to stay on the straight and narrow path. Help them learn the freedom that comes from a life aligned with Christ! Because wide is the path that leads to destruction.
Friends, who are you?
Are you young Pincoochio who needs people to come alongside of him to know how to avoid temptation?
Are you Jiminy, the mentor, who tries to help your fellow brother or sister in Christ, but gets frustrated quickly when they don’t heed your advice? Yet, still find your way back to that friend time and time again because God knows that friend needs you.
Are you Honest John, who just doesn’t care about anyone but himself, so he uses people to gain?
Are you Giddeon who though he never bluntly does anything wrong, yet still condones and makes sin normal?
Are you Geppetto who never stops looking, never stops praying, for his lost child even though it almost cost him his own life?
Are you Figro or Cleo? They may not seem like big characters, but we all need those people in our lives who are there. People we can trust to be present and walk along side of us when the going gets tough.
Listen, temptation is everywhere. We have to do a better job of coming alongside of fellow Christians and helping them stay on the straight and narrow path! We have to! People like Honest John are everywhere. Temptations like fame and pleasure island are real. We must share the good news of Christ. Walk with new believers and show them how to avoid these traps. Will they mess up? Absolutely! You do too. But that does not mean we stop trying. Keep fighting for those who are not as strong as you are in the faith!
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7:13-14