8-27 (1)The bright spot in this insufferably cold winter has been the success of the movie, Frozen, considered one of the best Disney films in decades.

We took the family to see the film on Thanksgiving weekend, fully expecting the common, tired storyline of a princess being true to herself and finding salvation through romantic love. It is the Disney dogma, after all.

Suprisingly, the movie’s storyline takes us in the opposite direction. The princess who is “true to herself” wreaks havoc on the world and leaves shattered relationships in her wake. Her devoted sister pursues her, even at great personal cost. And when all seems to be lost and you hope a prince will save the day with romantic love, there is instead a stunning portrait of self-sacrifice, described as the only kind of love that can melt a frozen heart.

It’s not hard to see the redemptive sketches in this movie. If you believe that love is more than just a feeling, that true love is expressed in self-sacrifice (which flows ultimately from Christ’s willingness to give His life for the world), and that true change can only take place through redemption not self-discovery, then you will find this movie delightful. More importantly, you will find ways to connect this movie’s theme to the gospel. We loved it.

The Success of “Let It Go”

Four months later, we’re still talking about Frozen. It has earned close to a billion dollars at the box office, surpassing the studio’s all-time best moneymaker, The Lion King (in inflated dollars). For months, it has been in the top five, and the soundtrack has spent considerable time at the top of the Billboard charts.

“Let it Go” is the stand-out song on the soundtrack due to its beautiful melody and memorable lyric. The music video has been viewed more than 88 million times. But the success of this particular song leaves me scratching my head, especially when you consider its place in Frozen’s storyline.

If there ever was a song that summed up the Disney doctrine of “being true to yourself” and “following your feelings” no matter the consequences, it’s “Let it Go.” Take a look at some of the lyrics:

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside.
Couldn’t keep it in, Heaven knows I tried.
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see.
Be the good girl you always have to be.
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.
Well, now they know!

Let it go, let it go!
Can’t hold it back any more.
Let it go, let it go!
Turn away and slam the door.
I don’t care what they’re going to say.
Let the storm rage on.
The cold never bothered me anyway.

It’s funny how some distance,
makes everything seem small.
And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do,
to test the limits and break through.
No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
I’m free!

Thousands of little girls across the country are singing this song – a manifesto of sorts, a call to cast off restraint, rebel against unrealistic expectations and instead be true to whatever you feel most deeply inside. What’s ironic is that the movie’s storyline goes against the message of this song. When the princess decides to “let it go,” she brings terrible evil into the world. The fallout from her actions is devastating. “No right, no wrong, no rules for me” is the sin that isolates the princess and freezes her kingdom.

It’s only after sacrificial love saves her from the effects of the curse that the princess is free to redirect her passion and power – not in “turning away” and “slamming the door” and expressing herself – but in channeling her powers for the good of her people.

If there is a moral to Frozen, it’s that “letting it go” is self-centered and damaging. What’s needed is for our distinctive gifts to be stewarded and shaped by redemptive love.

Perhaps that’s why I’m flummoxed by the popularity of “Let It Go” (the song). Not from an artistic standpoint; it’s a gem. But I’m afraid its popularity drowns out the bigger and more beautiful point of the film.

Rebellion vs. Rule-keeping

A popular idea in our culture is that there are only two ways to live:

  1. Through authenticity, expressed in rebellion against cultural constraints
  2. Through an ordered life, expressed in rule-keeping

Many people see these as the only options. And sometimes, Christians are assumed to be lumped in with the second group – the rule-keepers of religion. To the stodgy, religious types, “Let It Go” is an anthem to the beauty of spontaneity and freedom.

But Christianity doesn’t see morality in either of these ways.

We don’t believe we are most true to ourselves when we embrace our deepest desires. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. We need deliverance from our deepest instincts, not celebration of them.

Neither does Christianity say we are most true to ourselves when we conceal our sin – as if by willpower, we can control our terrible tendencies. Some religious people may put forward the image of a rule-keeping, behavioral checklist. But that’s not true Christianity. The gospel frees us from the curse of the law.

The Glory of Self-Sacrifice

Christianity teaches explicitly what Frozen only hints at: salvation comes not through self-discovery or self-restraint, but through self-sacrifice.

All across the country, little girls are singing about self-discovery. Let’s make sure that after they see this wonderful film, they are given songs about self-sacrifice.

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Comments:


121 thoughts on “Are We Missing the Point of Frozen’s ‘Let It Go’?”

  1. Wesley says:

    Couldn’t agree more Trev. My takeaway – and what i tried to highlight to my own daughters who are equally taken by the film – is that, while championing the worldview of many in today’s society, “Let it go” fits well into the storyline only b/c it highlights how – in the moment at least – the freedom from rules and constraints can *feel* like the right thing, but that – as we see – in the end that way of living out your life only brings destruction to yourself and others. So, to me, the song highlights a perceived moment of victory, only to (for once) show us the after-story of living out such a worldview.

  2. “salvation comes … but through self-sacrifice”

    Really?

    Can we at least get the theology straight here so that, when correcting one serious error, another egregious is not committed?

    1. Rachael Starke says:

      He’s writing about a major plot point without spoiling it. Trust me. It’s one of the best scenes in the movie, precisely because it gets the gospel so right. Go see the movie. :)

      1. Rachael Starke says: it gets the gospel so right.
        Without Jesus. We have a Gospel that’s “so right” without Jesus now? Can somebody please demonstrate from the bible, either by precept or example, where God tells his people to learn lessons in “redemption” minus His son from unbelievers? I’ve been a Christian for almost 30 years and must humbly assert that I find it tough to believe that in all the time I’ve spent in the scriptures that I missed that. Maybe I did though. I’m honestly asking somebody to show me.

        God teaches His church His theological or moral truths through unbelievers. Where? Just one example that’s not a bad one will do. There’s plenty of bad sinful examples in the bible that God teaches us through, but where do we find what is being espoused in this article and in these comments? Chapter and verse/s please. I’m not interested in lots of words with no scripture.

        In the meantime, why can’t we just enjoy a clean fun movie full of unchristian supernatural elements and redemption without Jesus? That may sound sarcastic, but I’m being serious. I can think of a half dozen excellent lessons off the top of my head for children taken from how very wrong this movie is.

        Not the least of which would be that a person even sacrificing their very life for another, has performed an unrighteous work of condemnation unto themselves be it not in conscious worship to the glory of the only true and living God in Christ.
        =====================================================
        See now THAT would be a biblical lesson:

        Did ya have fun kiddies?
        Yeah, yay, yippee wadda blast!!!
        See how that girl gave her life to save her sister? Isn’t that wonderful?
        Yes, Daddy, how nice of her.
        =======================================================
        Out comes Romans 3 for instance and a powerful lesson on no matter how touched or moved we were in there, or how great it made us feel, there is NO sacrifice of any kind we can do ourselves that pleases the Lord without Jesus. The people who made that movie are enemies of our God according to His word and they would trick us into believing that God is happy with people because of what they do. This is a lie of the devil who constantly seeks to turn us away from the only sacrifice that matters to God which is when He sacrificed His own Son to save us from our sin which the movie told us nothing about.

        What would you think if you sacrificed YOUR son for somebody and they said “no thank you I’ll do my own sacrifice”. That’s what God thinks. “I send my only Son and these sinful people are trying to tell you that this ice girl, who doesn’t really exist and has no sin that we’re told about, has done the same thing Jesus did. I’m glad the movie was fun. There’s a great lesson to be learned. That’s how God’s enemies fool us into believing their lies. If it was no fun we wouldn’t pay any attention.

        That’s just one. I can think of several more.

        1. park says:

          God teaches His church His theological or moral truths through unbelievers. Where?

          Luke 10: 33-37

          1. Park Says: “Luke 10: 33-37″
            No sir. A few quick points.

            Jesus is doing the teaching there. NOT unbelievers.

            Samaritans were on the whole no less “believers” than were full blooded Jews, being mixed descendants of the northern 10 tribes from during the time of the divided kingdom. They also unevenly worshiped the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob as did the Jews.

            This self righteous man of the law, after lying (self deceived actually) and saying that he had kept the commandments from his youth, then attempts to justify himself in his attitude of ethnic superiority toward others by asking who these neighbors were that he was supposed to be loving. Jesus perceiving that he was being tested chooses his subject very wisely.
            No people on the face of this planet were held in more loathsome disdain than the Samaritans. Not even the Romans. Jesus point to this hypocrite, was that he had NOT kept the commandments as he was falsely professing because even a lowlife Samaritan performing simple acts of common compassion was more loving than this papered pedigreed pharisee was.

            Nowhere does He (or any biblical author) say, “Go to the Greeks so they can teach you”. In fact Paul in 1 Cor 1 says exactly the opposite. Please don’t push Luke 10: 33-3 here. Trevin is gonna be unhappy with me already. (no sarcasm there either)

            Jesus entire ministry took place under the old covenant. The point of everything He said was to drive home the truth that despite their best efforts, there is none righteous, not even one. As the apostle says in the 3rd of Romans.

            Where in the bible do we find God sending us to be taught His truth by the pagans? In word, song, or picture? THAT is the question.

        2. Meredith says:

          So, Greg, I’m guessing you don’t like Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and their stunning and beautiful parallels of our redemption in Christ either?

          The beautiful thing about the story of redemption that God, the master author, is writing, is that it is so woven into everything that echoes of its glory resound in stories throughout history, stories written by Christians and non-Christians alike. When non-Christian moviemakers produce a film which has overtones of the Gospel I think that is a cause for giving glory to God, that His story can be seen everywhere. I find it a matter of great rejoicing that our God can use anyone, even those who do not acknowledge Him, to create art and stories that reflect His great story.

          1. Meredith says: “So, Greg, I’m guessing you don’t like Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia or Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and their stunning and beautiful parallels of our redemption in Christ either?
            You guess correctly. I don’t see any actually biblical gospel parallels there and I do not hold either man in high regard generally. (another topic)

            Meredith says: “The beautiful thing about the story of redemption that God, the master author, is writing, is that it is so woven into everything that echoes of its glory resound in stories throughout history, stories written by Christians and non-Christians alike. When non-Christian moviemakers produce a film which has overtones of the Gospel I think that is a cause for giving glory to God, that His story can be seen everywhere. I find it a matter of great rejoicing that our God can use anyone, even those who do not acknowledge Him, to create art and stories that reflect His great story.
            That’s fabulous, but I specifically asked above:
            ” Chapter and verse/s please. I’m not interested in lots of words with no scripture.”

            No offense, but I’m not interested in what you think any more than I am in what I think. I wanna know what saith the Lord and we know what the Lord saith from the scriptures. Can I have some of that please?

          2. Meredith says:

            Try reading Francis Schaeffer’s “Art and the Bible”. He does a wonderful job at showing Scripturally that Jesus is Lord of everything including Art of all kinds, and that a work of art (in this case a film) needn’t be explicitly “biblical” or “churchy” to be God-glorifying.

            It makes me sad to think that you live in such fear and dislike of beautiful stories. Jesus’ redemption is ultimately for ALL creation- including art and story! We are made in His image, and that means we reflect His creativity as well. Beauty in storytelling may be rejoiced in whether the stories are fiction or history because ultimately all beauty reflects the beauty of God- not just “churchy” beauty.

            Also, I will point out that Jesus spoke in parables- which are fictional stories.

        3. Amy says:

          “Greater Love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for his friends.” John 15:13. There is no qualification here of saved or unsaved. Beyond that, there are a number of situations where Jesus is shown to be pleased or impressed by the choices and behavior of “non-believers” and where he uses them as an example of how his disciples ought to behave. Matthew 8:5-18 I’m remembering a few others but I need to leave, so I don’t have the time to look them up.

  3. Daniel says:

    I don’t think the makers of the movie intended your interpretation, much as I like it. She doesn’t freeze the kingdom by “letting go” but while still trying to “hold it in”. I think the writers intended learning to “let it go” to be a great step in the right direction for Elsa, but she still needed an act of true love to really learn to control her powers. Or something.

    1. Andrew says:

      Daniel…I totally agree. Actually think that repressing our true selves and fear of our true selves are presented as the problem in this movie. Such things lead to isolation, anxiety, anger, and a frozen heart.

      Seems the parents and townspeople are presented as the problem in judging and fearing what was traditionally seen as immoral (magic).

      Anna’s love leads to everyone accepting Elsa’s true self and to see that she is not immoral or worthy of fear at all. After everyone stops judging and fearing her and accepts her all is well.

  4. ChrisM says:

    The song fits perfectly with the story of the movie when you place it in context. Sure, this can easily be lost when isolated, but so can passages of the Bible. It’s a great opportunity to discuss these themes with your kids.

  5. Nathan W. says:

    My daughter loves this movie – and that song. I just try to help her make the connection between “freedom” and “cursed existence” like the movie does. In fact it could be said Anna saves Elsa from “freedom” and self-glory. That’ll preach.

  6. Peter Krol says:

    I appreciate your reflections on rebellion vs. rule-keeping and self-sacrifice. Spot on.

    However, perhaps there’s another possible conclusion to draw about the song “Let It Go.” Rather than being flummoxed by the song’s popularity, perhaps we could see its popularity as a tremendous opportunity.

    Of course the song has terrible theology. But, in the context of the movie, the theology is clearly shown to be terrible. On that front, Frozen is similar to The Lion King in more ways than just the box office numbers. One of The Lion King’s catchiest tunes was “Hakuna Matata” – another song with an incredibly selfish message. But that message was shown to be pathetic and unsatisfying by the end of the film.

    “Let It Go” is the diseased cry of Queen Elsa’s heart. That disease will only worsen if it doesn’t come out for air. I imagine the same is true for many in our day, who share the Elsa’s desperation regarding their own weaknesses and boundaries. I hope more little girls across the country sing this song of self-discovery. It will give the songs of self-sacrifice far more power and beauty.

    Because when the disease comes out, redemption is possible. The salve of the Gospel won’t provide much healing unless there’s an open wound and a self-consciously sick person in need of a doctor. So, I say, bring it on. Or better yet, let it go.

    1. W. C. White says:

      Very nicely said. Use worldly examples to reach/teach the ultimate truths as stated in The Word.

  7. Mike Sproul says:

    So the gospel removes us from the “curse of the law,” but is the primary interpretation of that “curse” pre-salvation or post-salvation? Is it rule-keeping to gain entrance to heaven or rule-keeping for holiness as a Christian? Obviously, rule keeping will not achieve, either, in and of itself, but the “curse of the law” (Gal 3:10-14) is much more a context of justification, than sanctification. The curse of separation from God for eternity for anyone who fails in one point to keep the law of God is a far cry from the gospel abrogating “rules” of the Moral Law of God for us to obey as believers in Christ. (Matthew 5; Phil 4:8, etc.)I think we need to be very clear for misunderstandings are very easy, just as they were in Gal 2.

  8. Candice says:

    I think we need to consider this song in the context of the story in which it is written. It is a moment in time, and part of the development of the character. It’s good to discuss the meaning of the song and what happens to Elsa, but I think that this post may be a bit of an overanalysis. A good story will show the development of a flawed character (whether that flaw is internal or external to the character) to one who has overcome or succeeded in negating that flaw. Because Elsa isn’t a static character, to analyze her behavior/words as if they are a permanent state is flawed in and of itself.

    The song, as you said, is artistically excellent and very catchy. The chorus is easy to remember, and THIS is why kids are singing it. I am sure I am not the only child who sang along with “Jeremiah was a Bullfrog” or “Like a Virgin” – and then looked back with understanding as an adult and was shocked by what words I said in ignorance!

    That said, I guess as a parent a decision would need to be made whether or not “Let it go” is something they want their child to sing…

  9. Andrew Garfield says:

    I appreciate your perspective on this. It also reminds me of people’s perception of “Hakuna Matata” from The Lion King. I’ve heard many people espouse the message of the song as being a great personal philosophy without examining it’s point in the grand scheme of the movie. The point is that Timon and Pumba were wrong in thinking that you should live your life as if nothing in the world mattered. Simba realized that he had real responsibility in serving the kingdom that he rightfully should have inherited and went back to right the wrong and live as the king. “No worries” was wrong.

  10. Deborah says:

    Let me give you another perspective on the song, Let it go. After my daughter saw the movie with her children, she talked about what an awesome movie it was. So, when we took our youngest daughter, I was looking for whatever it was that made my 33 yr old daughter love it so much. As soon as I heard the song, I knew that was it, and I cried as I listened. My daughter had just a few months before left her husband, after enduring over 5 years of terrible abuse. He had kept her and their children isolated, she was terrified and she felt trapped. She hid it from everyone around her. She finally found the courage to leave. Listen to the lyrics from this perspective, and realize how many other women have been through this same ordeal, I think you might see the appeal of this anthem.

  11. Erin says:

    I think to truly understand the message of “Let it Go” you have to consider what provoked the song.

    The story begins with this young girl with a beautiful gift. When she has an accident with this gift, her parents overreact and teach her incorrectly to “hide/stuff” which we can understand as VERY psychologically damaging. Therefore, the eldest daughter develops a critical anxiety easily seen as clinical, while she hides herself completely away. She lives her life in severe fear, and inevitably has another mistake because the way she’s handling her gift makes it toxic. This mistake propels her into her anxiety, and to run away from people/to hide (as her parents have taught her). Then, the princess has this epiphany that you shouldn’t stuff emotions, and gains this energy to break free from the lies her parents taught her. In the search of balance and freedom she errs on the extreme side which continuously pursued could result in selfishness etc…but at the time it proved the energy she needed to begin the journey in balance.

    1. Chelsea Dupuy says:

      Yes Erin!! I completely agree.. I thought it was beautiful!! The idea that when fear No longer ruled, her gift.. how she was made.. was able to be used to make beautiful things. The bad happened when she embraced fear.. At the beginning of the movie with the trolls.. she was told that fear was her worst enemy. I thought it was a beautiful picture of freedom from fear, and slavery of fear! She was for the FIRST TIME discovering the greatness of freedom. We, as Christians, can all relate to the difference in our own lives when we discover to not be afraid of our past and even our gifting, but instead live in the freedom of Christ’s forgiveness and guidance!

  12. sbgob82 says:

    Here’s why the song was awesome… Idena Menzel. That woman could sing the worst song in the history of mankind and make it sound wonderful. I have never seen the move, and I doubt I ever will. I think her voice is amazing, so I have listened to the song over and over.

    On a more real note though, I have the phrase “let go” tattooed on my arm because letting go is (for me) an essential step toward a stronger faith. It’s only in letting go of of my own attempts to control that I’m able to let God really take over my life. So, from an independent stand point (not based on the Frozen film), the song can be very good.

    “No right, no wrong, no rules for me.”
    Translates to me as not allowing norms/expectations (“rules” = norms) of society hold me back…example: I’m a female who’s rising to success in a male-dominated field

    “Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know.”
    Just a standard commentary on the fact that we often feel as if we’re always expected to have it together, even when we don’t. Learning to “let it go” allows a type of spiritual freedom.

    My take: this song is a success, apart from the movie.

    1. Dee says:

      For someone who didn’t see the movie, you interpreted the song – specially those controversial words – quite accurately within the context of the story. I love your comment!

  13. Rodney says:

    Thanks so much for your article.

    Frozen was the first theatrical experience for our little 3yr old. My wife and I noticed your observations when we watched the movie in the theater in December. We’ve watched the Let It Go musical video clips on YouTube since then, and we both agree. The lyrics are definitely well-crafted with strong hooks filled with a melody that hums within our minds days after we watch a clip.

    For us, we are actually deciding whether we even want to purchase the DVD when it releases in March since we do not want our little one singing the song.

  14. Joshua Richards says:

    Talk about over-analysis!

    From my experience people aren’t necessarily influenced much by catchy ditties whether the lyrics fit into a Christian worldview or not.

  15. Dan Colwin says:

    I think your article is well thought out and I agree with what you say regarding the song. And if the movie Frozen stopped right after the song ended, then yes, it would have been a letdown and a failure. But it didn’t. In fact you even mention it in your article.
    “Suprisingly, the movie’s storyline takes us in the opposite direction. The princess who is “true to herself” wreaks havoc on the world and leaves shattered relationships in her wake. Her devoted sister pursues her, even at great personal cost. And when all seems to be lost and you hope a prince will save the day with romantic love, there is instead a stunning portrait of self-sacrifice, described as the only kind of love that can melt a frozen heart.”

    But the movie doesn’t even stop there. The two ways of living you describe, “1.Through authenticity, expressed in rebellion against cultural constraints 2. Through an ordered life, expressed in rule-keeping” are both present in the film, but the ending of the movie points us to a third way of living: authentically living in our gifts and serving others while being in genuine relationships with each other. That’s the end of the movie. To take the song alone is to take it out of context. We need to be in active pursuit of finding teachable moments like this for our children, not filtering them out.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Yes, yes, yes! That is my whole point. The movie’s message is great. It’s taking “Let it Go” out of context that bothers me.

      1. Dan Colwin says:

        Well then, cancel my entire response, other than, I agree with you completely.

        1. Trevin Wax says:

          LOL!

      2. Rachael Starke says:

        I agree, Trevin. But I think that’s one of the many reasons this movie is so, so, well done. You have to think critically and carefully as the plot twists and turns. You have to ask questions, and consider the answers. If people are in fact missing the point, it’s because they’re not doing that. And that can teach us a few things about how we interact with both the world’s culture, and even Scripture.

        And don’t get me started on the love theme, comparing and contrasting the prince and Sven, and how Anna gets to know each one and what she learns along the way. I’m making this film mandatory viewing for all three of my daughters the minute we decide they’re ready for marriage. :)

        1. Trevin Wax says:

          My kids loved the film, and I’m glad they did. There’s SO much good in it.

          It’s just that I want my five-year-old daughter singing along with Anna more than Elsa. :)

          1. Leslie says:

            But isn’t the point that Elsa can change. Can still receive redemption? I may want my kids to sing along with Elsa, but I want the Anna’s of the world to be heard and given the chance to be redeemed, not told that they aren’t allowed to express their feelings and work towards healing. You may Anna seem all bad. She initially asks selfish because she has been isolated and alone for years and told that she is “bad”. Her intent wasn’t to hurt other people and ask soon as she discovers that she has hurt them, she is remorseful. She was told that she her “gifts” were only useful for evil. I saw this as an illustration of how powerful our words & actions as parents are for equipping our kids to deal with what life gives them.

            1. Trevin Wax says:

              Absolutely.

              But the point is that redemption in the film (as well as in reality) does not come in “letting it go.” Neither does it come through her trying to “hold it all in” and conceal her powers. It only comes when self-sacrifice takes place.

              My point is that the bigger, better point of the film (‘salvation through sacrifice’) gets muted when “Let it Go” is taken out of context.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Thanks for sharing this, Erin.

      Like I said above, I agree that too many Christians see self-restraint “conceal don’t feel” as the essence of Christianity.

  16. bryan bywater says:

    It was a bit louder to me than a hint (not be be argumentative). It stopped the raging storm and chaos and I was left stunned and sobbing, literally. Perhaps serving as an evangelist and pastor for the past 20 years I see the love-act of the Cross so easily but dang it, this was amazing.

  17. I saw the movie with my oldest (6 years old) grandson. I was thrilled at the potency of the message throughout. Excellent script writing kept us laughing and on our toes, while evidencing that there was more, more, more right up until the sacrificial act that put this granddad in tears, recognizing the power of Gospel truth, the providential opportunity such a film provided to address gospel themes with a six-year-old, and the recovery from the self-absorbed themes you have mentioned in your article. The popularity of the song, “Let It Go” seems to me, as you mentioned, evidence of effective songwriting, and expression given for interpretation by listener/singer/player. Get ready, you are going to hear this puppy in every other high school band halftime show, open-mike night, and talent show for some time to come. All opportunity to address sentiments antithetical to the true Gospel of Jesus, or else to just leave it as, good song with a solid hook. In the latter case, in other words, just “let it go.” (sorry, I could not resist)

  18. H says:

    Compare this to The Lion King, one of the best Disney movies ever. Simba also ran away, sang the memorable and upbeat “Hakuna Matata”, and later discovered that running away from his troubles didn’t work, he ultimately went back. Just because the song is fun and catchy doesn’t mean it has to define the entire storyline.

    1. sally says:

      totally. this is the same reaction i have.

  19. John Modra says:

    Stimulating reflection I now wanna see it. If a movie takes us from where we are ( kids esp -in the song”letting go” ) to where we wanna be ( free, not so many rules and yet still fully part of “family”- a good ambition ) and shows us that you can’t do it by just “giving in ” maybe the film is doing a good job ? The Lords prayer ends with the request that God help us to resist what we know is not ultimately good for us but starts with the agnowledgement that God indeed knows what’s best for us.

  20. Kate says:

    I’m admittedly a bit frustrated by this article as I feel a lot of TGC articles recently are more looking for something to critique or criticize, more than encouraging and building up. It’s easy enough to be critical in this world, lets take a look at the positive.

    For one, Disney made a movie not about romance and love as the redemptive element, but about sacrificial love. WIN.

    Second, Let It Go isn’t about self-discovery, IMO. It’s about a girl who was living a legalistic lifestyle and always trying to be good and do what was right so no one got hurt. Then people found out who she really was from one slip up…not good…just like none of us can be, and Let It Go is about that, letting go of needing to be good and perfect and accepting who you are….which is the first step in salvation. We have to know how jacked up we are to know we need a savior.

    Then at the end of the movie she realizes, even though she was free from the rules, that wasn’t enough. She needed love to conquer her fear and issues, and someone gave up their life to help her do that.

    How does this not scream JESUS?!?!?! I love that my daughter has this movie to look to, and sing. It’s all about sacrificial love, and letting go of perfection, exactly what this modern day version of (hopeful) Christians need after a legalistic perfectionism driven group of believers before us.

    Let It Go. Exactly TGC might need to do with criticism.

  21. Daniel says:

    Right: allowing just the two (“rebellion” and “rules”) is–whether they do so knowingly or not–a “false dilemma”.

  22. Ty Walsworth says:

    Wow, Trevin. This is so interesting. In reading today’s post it saddened me. Really? I saw the movie with my little girl and she is certainly one of those that is going around singing this song. You and I walked away with completely different interpretations. I am sure the essence of the film is inspired by (and lives comfortable in) today’s all-about-what-makes-me-feel-good culture, but I thought Disney did a good job (for once) of respecting both sides of the issue. Yes. She did break rules, but it was after she came to understand that she would never be able to control her ‘gift’. She realized she was hurting others and herself in playing against how (you could argue) she was made. I’d steer clear of giving Disney too much credit… considering today’s gay agenda… but fortunately, Disney never went there.

    Regardless of how much, as an intentional parent,I loath dealing with the Disney land mines, I thought this one was a keeper. I think there is a great lesson in that rules are good, but sometimes rules can be wrong. Rahab… Luthor’s 95-Thesis and… wait for it… wait for it… the reasons behind the founding of America are great examples of times when rule-breaking is not only okay… it can be argues that it is a sin not to break the rules.

    I am reluctant to really make Christ-like parallels with any Disney movie, but in this one case I can see how her decision to break the rules was one that needed to break. Like most of us in real life, her hurt came out, but in the end… as in true Disney fashion… love won in the end.

    If anything my argument is that it was the love of her sister and not the true love we know of Christ that saved the day… but then… when Disney publishes a movie with that twist… it’ll be a movie about talking pigs that fly.

    1. Trevin Wax says:

      Ty,

      I really don’t know how to be clearer in saying how much I loved this movie. It’s a keeper – one we’ll get when it comes out on video. From top to bottom, it was excellent and the gospel parallels are incredible.

      My post is about the popularity of “Let it Go” by itself – out of context, so that it becomes an anthem to casting off restraint, rather than seeing it within Frozen’s overall storyline, in which “letting it go” leads to despair.

      1. Ty Walsworth says:

        Well, just so you know my wife agrees with you… so it should be a fun night of discussion. AND… I am in trouble for disagreeing with you. Thanks, Trevin.

        I still LVOE your blog. Keep us talking and thinking my brother.

      2. Trevin says: “the gospel parallels are incredible.”
        There’s no such thing as “gospel parallels” Trevin. There’s THE gospel and lies. Can you show me in the Word where we find a precedent for these “gospel parallels” from God’s enemies?

        If you can you will have made a convert to your view. If not then you have some prayer and thinking to do. SOME kind of answer would be greatly appreciated. I love ya brother. I do. But you just will NOT give me answers when I ask absolutely legitimate substantive questions like this. You are gonna get this. I just have to believe that you ARE gonna get this. Silence is not helping you.

        1. C says:

          Greg-Tiribulus says: If you can you will have made a convert to your view. If not then you have some prayer and thinking to do.

          Asserting that if Trevin fails to convince you of his perspective then he has a lot of praying and thinking to do is a little haughty, my brother – as if you possess the world’s purest hermeneutical lens ever crafted.

          So, the point of this whole discussion is to prove these things as true to Greg-Tiribulus? Why you have to go around trollin’ on everybody? One post is sufficient to communicate your distaste for all of this “paganism”.

          1. C quotes me as saying: “If you can you will have made a convert to your view. If not then you have some prayer and thinking to do.”
            And then responds with:
            Asserting that if Trevin fails to convince you of his perspective then he has a lot of praying and thinking to do is a little haughty, my brother – as if you possess the world’s purest hermeneutical lens ever crafted.
            My hermeneutical lens is well represented in church history friend. Your mushy, blurry, uncertain, conclusion free worldview is a product of the last 100 years of dialectic dilution of the faith once for all delivered to the saints. The notion of learning the gospel from the worldly amusements of the unregenerate is, I promise you, brand new in the overall scope of the church’s life from Genesis 12 to the present. I stand firmly on the shuolders of centuries of giants. The burden is on YOU. And dear brother Trevin.
            C says: “So, the point of this whole discussion is to prove these things as true to Greg-Tiribulus?”
            No. The point of the discussion is what kind of gospel significance to give to an anti Christian song that closes an anti Christian movie preaching another gospel, not with ANOTHER Jesus, but with NO Jesus at all. Unless somebody can find merely human Christ figures in the bible that were invented by unbelievers so God could teach His church with them?

            C says: “One post is sufficient to communicate your distaste for all of this “paganism”
            This has nothing to do with MY tastes. I say again. Until somebody demonstrates otherwise, I am declaring the eternal word of almighty God as understood by hundreds of previous generations who would have been aghast at the very suggestion that we allow the unregenerate and their productions of anti Christian occultic magical mystical visual art inform their congregations on the things of God. One’s conversion would have been brought instantly into question if it were proposed that the CHILDREN learn these lessons from the world this way. Your beef is not with me. It’s with a vast multitude who have gone before me whose faithfulness I seek to uphold. Yes, I fully understand how in today’s world such actual conviction could be mistaken for arrogance.

      3. Dee says:

        I’ve been really thinking of your post, Mr. Wax, and as a singer, I’ve come to realize why I’ve come to disagree with your analysis of the song.

        First, I wanna say that I reacted the same way. But I am a singer, and I began to look at how I was reacting to the song, and I realized that the real problem was that I (and it seems, you and a lot more people) have taken the line “no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free!” out of the context of the verse of the SONG itself, and not just the movie.

        I’m coming from the opposite process: I heard the song first, reacted to that single line, but then decided to learn more about the SONG – it was seeing the video that got me interested in the movie, and eventually, my family went to watch it – and realized there was no need for panic that if I teach the song to my young voice students, I am NOT teaching them to rebel against their parents’ rules.

        Even without seeing the movie, a careful analysis of the words of the song will reveal the proper context of that line: Elsa – or any singer, for that matter, is referring to the “right, wrong, and rules” of “the fear that once controlled me.”

        This is why, in spite of how the song is becoming popular, we don’t see a growth in rebellious attitudes, because the singers’ brains, hearts, and spirits are aware of the correct context of the words. It’s only listeners who only catch a potentially dangerous line of the song without singing or at least learning all the words who react the way you wrote – and, as I have said, I did the same in the beginning.

        Which is why I am surprised that even after you wrote down all the words of the song, you seem to have still missed the point and are still taking the line out of the whole song. That’s not how singing works, sir. And that’s not how music affects our spirits.

        But if leaders and authority figures like you and I say that kids who sing Let It Go are singing an anthem to casting off restraint, guess what will happen to the young singers that we declare those words to? Life and death are in the power of the tongue – and our children will only live up to the expectations we declare over them.

        I’m teaching my students the song, and one of them, a 7-year old girl with a hearing problem, is working on it for the recital. I’ll also be performing it myself at a Christian show. I’m grateful that thinking through your post has helped me articulate my thoughts better.

        I learned different lessons from the movie, and my husband says I should share the link to the post here. It’s on my blog, eyes2cross.wordpress.com

        1. Joe M says:

          “…a careful analysis of the words of the song will reveal the proper context of that line: Elsa – or any singer, for that matter, is referring to the “right, wrong, and rules” of “the fear that once controlled me.”

          Yes, but who loves, sings, and is imprinted by lyrics from songs from cartoons/ Little kids. And the take away will be the larger Disney gospel, “To Thine Own Self Be True” mixed with better messages. Probably a bit of a tempest in a teapot, but in today’s culture wars the upshot will be this song being used as an anthem for the progressive message. Given Disney’s extremely overt allegiances, no surprise. Fun film, a cartoon so rather harmless, but a gospel vehicle? Yes, like Harry Potter. The Spirit can use anything. But given the medium is the message, if it requires such close analysis, the more technical message is moot.

      4. Ty Walsworth says:

        Trevin, I retract. I agree with you… I love that you make us think. Keep up the good work!!! I realized something yesterday as I heard my daughter singing this fro the back of the house… I realized I loved to hear her sing and I loved that she loved the song… and then it hit me. I WANTED to like the song. The slow fade got to me. When I realized it I immediately took myself out of that frame of mind and forced myself to think logically. I removed all emotion and lined out the facts in front of me. And, this is how it happens… Do we want to like something that is so likable and charming that we refuse to see the truth?

        1. Stephen Moss says:

          May I ask where the idea comes from that the only way to discover truth is to remove all emotion and think logically? Seems more like a product of the Enlightenment than a product of Scripture. God never asks us to remove all emotion. There are a lot of conclusions or decisions you can arrive at using logic and removing all emotion that are completely antithetical to the gospel.

          And interestingly enough, it’s trying to remove emotion (“conceal, don’t feel”) that had Elsa isolated in the first place, eventually causing her to run away.

          Just some thoughts. Emotions aren’t bad. Logic isn’t perfect. God created persons in his image with minds and emotions…he didn’t create us to be data-processing computers.

  23. Barry Unwin says:

    It wouldn’t be the first film to have a song that isn’t in keeping with the theme. Anyone remember The Killing Fields – that rather wonderful (but disturbing) film about those lovely atheists the Kh’mer Rouge in Cambodia? The film’s emotional climax – as its hero escapes from Cambodia – has Lennon’s Imagine playing in the background.

  24. Karen Yingling says:

    My three girls are internationally adopted – and they all come from very traumatic backgrounds. They love this song – and in some ways some parts of this song have become their anthem.

    And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all
    It’s time to see what I can do,
    to test the limits and break through.

    Kids from institutions spend a life time “concealing – not feeling”. The fears control them. It keeps them from who they are. The redemptive love of Christ- the ability to “let it go” and be healed is what saves them. To see who they really are – just like had to happen with Elsa.

    I agree that unleasing the power can be evil – but Elsa had to let it all go before Anna was able to help her heal. Just as our kids have to let their stuff go before there is room for Jesus to come in and heal their hurts.

  25. sally says:

    This is revolting. The song isn’t the summary of the movie. Have another go of the movie. Realize what point in life Elsa was in when she was singing Let It Go. She made a castle for herself, a sanctuary where she can freely express herself.

    Haven’t you, in some point in your life, had a sanctuary of your own? Say, your day at the church where you can commune with god? That’s how it was for Elsa. Her castle, her sanctuary. She’s been trying to suppress herself for the longest time, trying to “limit” herself due to the fear of hurting someone else. When she realized that that part of herself is essential, she decided to let go of her fear. And thus, she saw what good she can do with her strengths.

    “If you believe that love is more than just a feeling, that true love is expressed in self-sacrifice (which flows ultimately from Christ’s willingness to give His life for the world), and that true change can only take place through redemption not self-discovery, then you will find this movie delightful. More importantly, you will find ways to connect this movie’s theme to the gospel. We loved it.” — Seriously though, I don’t think Disney wants to teach gospel in the movie. It is a universal truth that a person needs self-actualization to know herself better.

    Please don’t tailor fit the movie to a religion, and say that self-discovery is self-centered and damaging.

  26. Jordyn says:

    I disagree. My sister has been singing this song from the moment she heard it. This song is about doing what you need to do. Elsa does not want to be by herself but she feels as if she has to be because she does not want to hurt anyone. Elsa has a Disney version of depression. My sister has a disorder that causes her to push away relationship. I remember a couple of days after the movie she was talking to me about how alike her and Elsa were and how when she needed strength she was going to sing Let It Go to herself. That may be your interpretation but I completely disagree. My sister has taken a complete 180 with her behavior since this song.

  27. Lily says:

    I think the writer of the article raises an interesting question, but misses the actual point of the song. As a Christian, I love it because it shows Elsa breaking free of the fears that controlled her whole life and finally being able to relish her gifts. It wasn’t “letting go” that caused her to bring “evil” into the world; it was those very fears imposed on her that caused that “evil,” and she was just trying to find her way forward, alone, as many of us do. I think the author has probably never experienced that kind of crippling constraint – otherwise, he’d understand the exhilaration that accompanies experiencing freedom from them for the first time. And if you want to go Biblical, I also find a reflection of the Gospel in her song, as it captures the tumult of emotions I know I experienced when I first realized that through Christ I was set free (“the fears that controlled me can’t get to me at all” particularly resonated with me). Whether it represent freedom from fear, or from sin, or from the Law (which could offer a different interpretation of the lyric “no rules for me”), I know I’ll continue to sing Let It Go with no regrets.

  28. Meredith says: “Try reading Francis Schaeffer’s “Art and the Bible”. He does a wonderful job at showing Scripturally that Jesus is Lord of everything including Art of all kinds, and that a work of art (in this case a film) needn’t be explicitly “biblical” or “churchy” to be God-glorifying.
    I’ve read Schaefer and Rookmaaker and all the rest thank you very much and they do no such thing. Wisdom of men Just like everybody else. You’re welcome to try though.

    Meredith says: “It makes me sad to think that you live in such fear and dislike of beautiful stories.”
    Madaam, you do NOT know me. LOL! I am seated in heavenly places in Christ Jesus and am afraid of absolutely NOthing and NObody. EVER. I promise :D I simply do NOT let my personal worldly likes warp the Word of God in my hands like Schaefer and Rookmaaker and the rest of those guys do.

    Meredith says: “Jesus’ redemption is ultimately for ALL creation- including art and story!”
    Tremendous. I’ll ask again. The church being taught BY pagans. ”Chapter and verse/s please. I’m not interested in lots of words with no scripture.”

    Meredith says: “We are made in His image, and that means we reflect His creativity as well.”
    Absolutely true.

    Meredith says: “Beauty in storytelling may be rejoiced in whether the stories are fiction or history because ultimately all beauty reflects the beauty of God- not just “churchy” beauty.”
    Yet again dear lady. The church being taught theology philosophy or ethics BY pagans. ”Chapter and verse/s please. I’m not interested in lots of words with no scripture.” I’ve been waiting for months now for an answer from somebody.. ANYbody, but still nothing. I can wait for you too.

    Meredith says: “Also, I will point out that Jesus spoke in parables- which are fictional stories”
    Very good. That is JESUS teaching See? One more time. The church being taught Christless redemption BY pagans like is done in this movie. ”Chapter and verse/s please. I’m not interested in lots of words with no scripture.”
    I sincerely mean no offense still, but if the next keystrokes from your computer are not scripture I’m ignoring you. I could buy a car if I had a penny for every character I’ve read of people telling me what THEY think about this.

    1. Jon says:

      Greg- I have a parable for you. Who is your neighbor? Let’s take the story of the Good Samaritan. It’s a nice story, but it wasn’t intended to be an intellectual study of chapter and verse. You see, the problem was that this religiously righteous guy was convinced he was right about everything, and could argue chapter and verse about everything, but he lacked application. He lacked compassion. So Jesus told him a story to show him how much he lacked love. Love isn’t about loving those who are easy to love, but loving those who are unloveable (“love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them who hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you”–Matt 5:44, so you can have chapter and verse). If you don’t love them, then you don’t have love.

      But all of that is nothing more than an intellectual exercise and meaningless without application and context. So, let’s inject a modern twist into our parable. Rather than the man being a Samaritan, how about a homosexual? How about a Muslim? How about a rank liberal. What if such people showed more compassion than the preacher or the guy who knows every chapter and verse, and can quote them all, but doesn’t live it? Where does it leave him? What it means is that the NObodies, the NOthings mean NOthing without reflecting compassion, and understanding who one’s brother is, and what one’s brother needs. He doesn’t need a chapter and verse. He needs a CHRISTian who reflects the compassion of Christ. You see, it’s easier to accept the Samaritan as being the good neighbor, but not homosexuals or muslims or liberals, etc. Why is that? Because the Samaritan lives only in the Bible. These other people are in our world–they are all around us. They attack us, they don’t like us. They make us uncomfortable. They are our neighbors, not the Samaritan.

      As I said in an earlier post. We don’t live in the Bible. We live in this world as it exists. We are not of the world, but we live here. Our children, our church folk live here. Our sermons ought to deal with that, and art, for better or for worse, reflects that world in which we live. Remember, Pharaoh, the unbelieving king, did God’s will. Caiaphas, the man most responsible for Jesus’ death, prophesied. If something is true, it’s true.

      Art is a valuable tool to take the truth that is in Scripture, and see it applied in a way that has immediate impact. This does not mean, as you seem to think, that we blindingly accept it as truth itself, but that it reflects biblical truth, either as a good example or a bad example. From it, we can learn, vicariously, how to respond, and to believe and how to think ourselves. As a parent, movies such as this provide a fantastic laboratory to apply the teachings of Scripture. You see, I believe that sheltering our kids entirely in a Bible-only world does them a great disservice. On the the other hand, just letting them loose in the wild also doesn’t help them. The world does that, and we see the results. In fact, that is the point… use the world’s failures to point the right direction.

      This movie may, for a worldly person, not help (and that’s not my problem), but for me, in my family, it is a fantastic parable and a teaching tool, or, as I said, a laboratory in which we perform experiments, so that when my kids must face this world on their own, they are equipped to deal with the real emotions, fears–the onslaught of life, and come out the other end stronger.

      Let me put it this way. My kids are going to go through this process Elsa does in this film. They are going to feel what she’s feeling, they are going to “sing this song” in their hearts at some point. All of us did, and all of us will. But why should I leave them defenseless for when that time comes? Their vicarious experience via this film, together with the truth of Scripture applied now, gives them the inner resources so that when they _do_ feel the sentiments this song expresses, they will be equipped to deal with it. I don’t know how many people I have known through the years who, when suddenly faced with this postmodern world, were ill equipped to deal with the force of the emotions and the arguments that the world threw at them. It turns out that all those chapters and verses they memorized as children in AWANA and Sunday School really didn’t seem to mean anything or offer them answers where they were being hit. Suddenly, the Bible seemed outdated, insufficient and imperfect–just like this world in which we live–and they fell. I’m speaking from very specific instances, even from within my own family. I saw this, and I realized that the problem was not that the Bible is insufficient or imperfect, or not speaking to us today, but that what they had learned from the Bible had never been stress-tested. They were taught what to say, what to believe, but never the why and never how to apply it to life’s deepest needs. The problem was not the Bible, but those who taught them nothing more than chapter and verse, and acted like the real world didn’t exist or didn’t matter.

      1. Jon says: “What if such people showed more compassion than the preacher or the guy who knows every chapter and verse, and can quote them all, but doesn’t live it? Where does it leave him? What it means is that the NObodies, the NOthings mean NOthing without reflecting compassion, and understanding who one’s brother is, and what one’s brother needs. He doesn’t need a chapter and verse. He needs a CHRISTian who reflects the compassion of Christ”
        I just skimmed when I got past this part because not seeing any scripture I didn’t wanna waste my time and clearly you ARE a rank liberal. THIS is from two Saturdays ago. We do this all the time. I wrote it to somebody else in a loooong parade of people who have no scriptural support for their worldly views on media entertainment. Before you go spouting big long meaningless emergent diatribes at somebody, you may wanna learn something about the person you’re talking to. I’ll compare resumes on compassion with anybody here any day of the week.

        To be clear. Trevin’s a fine young man with a real breathing Christian conscience. He is one million times better than most on this nowadays. I’m not attacking him, but I still believe he is dangerously wrong to embrace christless “redemption” from magic cartoon characters created by enemies of the kingdom.

        1. Jon says:

          <>
          and:

          <>

          I think you need to practice what you preach. You have presumed an awful lot about me, and every last bit of it is wrong. What’s really sad is that by your own admission, you didn’t read my post, so, you judged me based, not on knowledge but presumption. Or worse, you _did_ read it, but utterly failed to understand because of your own prejudices. I’m not sure which is worse, your failing to read, or your failing to understand. At the top of the heap, though is the irony that you preach to me not to do what you clearly did–judging somebody without knowledge.

          If you will reread my post, I did not write a diatribe accusing you of lacking compassion. My point was to illustrate the emotional impact that the parable had when first told by transporting that same emotional impact to our current day, using contemporary types that frequently evoke a comparable discomfort that the Samaritan did for the Pharisee (who was quite sure in his religious beliefs). The presumption of an attack on you for your lack of compassion is entirely on your part, and any comparison was entirely unintentional on my part.

          <>

          Oh, I’m quite sure you would win. I can’t possibly imagine myself being more compassionate than you.

          But since you want chapter and verse, I’ll end with a few. I seriously and kindly request you read them with a humble heart and mind, and ask yourself if you find yourself somewhere in these verses.

          Luke 18:11
          Matt 6:1-6
          Mark 7:6-13
          Matt 23:2-12

          1. Jon says:

            Rewrite with re-inserted quotes… didn’t think about html code being able to be inserted… Sorry

            ::
            I just skimmed when I got past this part because not seeing any scripture I didn’t wanna waste my time and clearly you ARE a rank liberal.
            and
            Before you go spouting big long meaningless emergent diatribes at somebody, you may wanna learn something about the person you’re talking to.
            ::

            I think you need to practice what you preach. You have presumed an awful lot about me, and every last bit of it is wrong. What’s really sad is that by your own admission, you didn’t read my post, so, you judged me based, not on knowledge but presumption. Or worse, you _did_ read it, but utterly failed to understand because of your own prejudices. I’m not sure which is worse, your failing to read, or your failing to understand. At the top of the heap, though is the irony that you preach to me not to do what you clearly did–judging somebody without knowledge.

            If you will reread my post, I did not write a diatribe accusing you of lacking compassion. My point was to illustrate the emotional impact that the parable had when first told by transporting that same emotional impact to our current day, using contemporary types that frequently evoke a comparable discomfort that the Samaritan did for the Pharisee (who was quite sure in his religious beliefs). The presumption of an attack on you for your lack of compassion is entirely on your part, and any comparison was entirely unintentional on my part.

            ::
            I’ll compare resumes on compassion with anybody here any day of the week.
            ::

            Oh, I’m quite sure you would win. I can’t possibly imagine myself being more compassionate than you.

            But since you want chapter and verse, I’ll end with a few. I seriously and kindly request you read them with a humble heart and mind, and ask yourself if you find yourself somewhere in these verses.

            Luke 18:11
            Matt 6:1-6
            Mark 7:6-13
            Matt 23:2-12

          2. Meredith says:

            Jon, I would just let it go (pun intended, given the title of this post!) There’s no point in trying to have a civil, brotherly argument with Greg, especially on the internet. He comes across as too convinced of his own rightness– no matter how many Bible verses you give him, he will always have a reason why you are wrong. And when people delve into personal attacks, there’s no point in continuing the discussion.

            I liked the point you made about art being a valuable tool “to take the truth that is in Scripture and see it applied in a way that has immediate impact.” It saddens me when Christians remain blind to the powerful role that Art plays in our lives as human beings and that fact that God can and does use Art to further His kingdom, teach His people, and shine the light of truth into a dark world. Our Savior is Lord of all creation, and that doesn’t exclude anything– not literature, not music, not movies, not novels, not sculpture, not painting, no realm is excluded from His Lordship!

  29. Emily says:

    While I agree with you on the connection between Frozen’s depiction of self-sacrifice and the tenants of Christianity, I do not agree with your interpretation of the song “Let it Go.” You said “When the princess decides to “let it go,” she brings terrible evil into the world.” This is not the case. Elsa freezes her kingdom before she sings the song. She commits this evil because she is breaks under the unrealistic expectations her parents put on her to keep her powers a secret and not learn how to control them properly. While she is singing “Let it Go” and being true to herself and using her powers, she creates a beautiful ice castle. She finally allows herself to use her powers and creates something beautiful. However, when she is fearful of her potential to hurt others, she does just that. When she lets go of this fear, and instead acts out of love, she does good. Elsa is not letting go of rules and rebelling, instead she is letting go of the fear that once controled her. This song is a message that when one acts out of love and an appropriate amount of self-confidence, one does good, whereas acting out of fear and self-hate causes evil and destruction.

  30. Gian says:

    Yeah. No. Girl, let me stop you right there.

    Here is a perfect example on why sane people just start hating on you Christians – it’s not just cause of your profound sense of persecution and assuming the role of the victim every time someone calls out your very obvious faults, but also because you just love taking things out of context. (How you interpret, and use, “love” to justify condemning groups of people with the use of passages from your beloved holy book, without even looking at the context at which those words were written. That’s a discussion for another day though).

    “When the princess decides to “let it go,” she brings terrible evil into the world. The fallout from her actions is devastating.”

    That little line in there slayed me. Because if you could remember, she let go under duress – her mindset was not in the right the slightest – she was panicked and afraid. She spent years in isolation, her parents (good minded as they were) telling her to hide and disregard that part of her. She made a disaster, sure, but only ‘cause she was scared of what she can do. Instead of controlling and embracing what made her special, she was afraid.

    It was fear that caused a disaster. Not Elsa’s act of letting go.

    Proof? The “Let It Go” sequence. When she finally embraced who she was, what she can do, when she put her fears behind her, she’s created magnificent things. Olaf. Marshmallow. The Ice Castle. Anna even mentioned, in the few minutes before they met Olaf, that she did not expect winter to look so good.

    It was by embracing who she was, by letting go of all the inhibitions and fears that controlled her, she created beauty.

    You Christians boast of your rules of morality. How they guide your very being and make you feel so accomplished about yourselves. But you fail to see that not everyone is like you. These rules are not for everyone. Sometimes, these very rules that served to bring you to your best, hinder others and make them miserable.

    I can attest to that personally. As I was a kid who grew up in Church. My parents were deacons. Every one of my childhood friends were kids of important people in church. But I felt constrained. That I wasn’t living.

    But this isn’t about me.

    This is about you putting down what is great about this movie – something that tells these kids, these kids who are fed with various stimuli about how they should act and how they should first be comfortable with who they are before they decide if these rules are for them or not, or that they shouldn’t let these rules prevent them from reaching their full potential – and dismissing it as something that is inherently wrong.

    You sir is what makes Christians look so bad in the world. Your backwards thinking serves no one.

    So please, grow some balls and keep up with the times. You’re in the twenty-first century. Deal with it.

    And yes, in the end, you’re the one who missed the point of the song.

    Lovely.

  31. KLynn says:

    I have to say, I like your take on it. However, it is just one take on it. When I saw the movie, this is what I got from it, and I am quoting from my blog:
    “What I got from this song is that we can’t conceal ourselves from those around us. We need to let it go, open up, be free to be who we are. I love when she first sing’s “Let it go…” when she begins to use her magic; her face just lights up!! She is finally not afraid to be who she is because everyone now knows, so what does she have to fear now?

    She was finally able to let go of that fear. She still had insecurities, just like we all do, but when she allowed herself to accept who she was, she was able to control her power.

    When we accept who we are and let ourselves be free to be ourselves, we give ourselves the power to control our fears. To break free from those insecurities. No matter what other people may think.

    I definitely need to learn how to “let it go” and allow myself to break free of my insecurities.”

    The song can also be about sin, and not letting it get to us and keeping us back from who it is God made us to be. It’s something I deal with a lot, being able to just let myself be myself. This song shows me that it’s ok to be me. Will I make mistakes? Heck yes!! Will I learn from those mistakes? I can only pray I do! But as long as I am me, slamming the door behind me turning AWAY from sin, then I’d say letting it go is a great thing. To me, letting it go is not only being forgiven by Christ, but forgiving myself for the things I have done wrong in my life, both to my life and to others.
    If I hold back in fear, then what am I living for? Definitely not Christ!
    SO, in one sense, yes I see how letting it go can be destructive, but also NOT letting it go can be destructive and the way to truely be free in Christ IS TO LET IT GO AND SLAM THE DOOR ON OUR PAST and to move forward.

  32. Eric says:

    Good and helpful analysis. I am not flummoxed by the song’s success, because taking it out of the context of the overall story arc is precisely what makes it appealing to so many. It is an excellent expression of the natural heart’s desire.

    I think there are two parties to blame for it’s being so easily taken out of context.

    The audience member is to blame, because to exult in the themes of “Let It Go” is to miss the point of the story as a whole.

    But the film-makers are also partially to blame. Even though the consequences of Elsa’s choices are clearly played out, there are two factors that encourage us to forget that and take the song out of context: 1) They chose to make this song arguably the most musically and dramatically compelling, thus creating the strongest emotional connection. 2) By using the song as the end credits anthem, we are told to leave the theater defiantly singing along with Elsa and thus completely forgetting all the trouble it caused. After loving the movie, those credits were the moment I was suddenly flummoxed: “Really? Do you not know the theme of your own movie?” Disappointing, but not surprising.

  33. Joshua Lim says:

    Personally I feel that “Let it Go” is closer to the gospel than most people realise. The rules and fear that ruled Elsa in the film are so alike to the Law that Jesus fulfilled for us and and the Sin He overcame for us. The difference between regular ol’ freedom and Salvation is that we are freed INTO righteousness and not into our “deep dark desires”. Sin is wiped out and we are free to live in relationship with God. “Letting go” isn’t the way to salvation, but it certainly points a lot of people in the right direction (towards desiring freedom). After all, even in the movie, Elsa didn’t truly become free until Anna sacrificially loved her. Now that’s the real message. Fear control, but Perfect Love makes you free indeed.

  34. Jon says:

    There’s a side to this movie that seems to get lost in the shuffle. This movie (and the song) aren’t really about redemption, love, and all that. This is a coming of age movie. It is about a young girl, raised by good, well-meaning parents, who struggled with being herself. In the movie, it’s some weird power that hurt her sister. In real life, and from a Christian perspective, it would be our sin nature. In her case, she was orphaned far too young, so her parents were not able to finish the training, and besides that, like all parents, they are only human. But what happened to her happens to every teen when he or she comes of age. I’ve seen two through this process, and have two more to go, so to me, it’s something I am living through. As a parent, I’ve worked hard to instill into our children our values. I hope and pray that they are good, biblical values, and that our children will make them their own. But that’s the thing, isn’t it. They have to make their values their values. If they just grow up and parrot ours, then they haven’t really learned what we taught them. They will never truly grow up. Worse, at some point, they will likely hit a rough spot in the road, and since they don’t have their own values, they will be shaken, and they may fall–reject everything they thought they believed. They need to go through the process that Elsa does in this movie. At some point, yes, they do need to let it go. They need to make their own choices, draw their own conclusions, MAKE THEIR OWN MISTAKES. Yes, those mistakes will hurt–sometimes other people, but they are a vital part of coming of age. In any case, that is what I see the most in this movie. The sister sacrificing her life, and all the other stuff are merely side plots to the central one, and underscore the fact that mistakes and pain and hurting others are a part of growing up, finding your way and being human.

    As a parent, though, I am tasked with giving my children the tools they need so that when they go through this process, they can make the right choices, minimize the mistakes they make, and the resulting damage, and they will go in the right direction. My job is not to shelter them and protect them from making mistakes, or to shelter them from the evil in the world, but to show them how to discern and how to respond. Films like this one are an excellent tool for us. I feel sorry for the people who disrespect films like this, or the masters like Tolkien and Lewis, and all the great literature and art that builds on the message of the Gospel and Scripture, and allows us a modern context into which we can inject the Gospel message in a way that our children both relate to, and, as a laboratory, can vicariously experience the mistakes and pain, and thus learn. Yes, the Bible is our foundation, it is the only source for truth, but we don’t live in the Bible, nor do we live in biblical times. We live in this time, in this culture, and this world. Ignore it, push it out, reject it entirely at your and your children’s peril. Far too many Christian families are setting themselves up for a fall, either by uncritically accepting this world or by completely rejecting it, sheltering from it. Let’s use the mammon of this world wisely with our children so they can be equipped and more than survive–thrive in it…

    1. Jon says: “My job is …to show them how to discern and how to respond. Films like this one are an excellent tool for us.”
      I agree. I said so above. The devil’s lies in slick packaging ARE an excellent tool for teaching excellent lessons. Even the adult’s are fooled by his cartoons for Pete’s sake. There is NO gospel here. You people can’t even make up your minds or agree on what it OR the song was about LOL!! :)
      God is not the author of all this of confusion. (1 Corinthians 14:33) Biblically it’s always been simple. Unbelievers create unbelief. See how easy that is? Just like “all these trees with all there fruit are yours. Just don’t eat from THAT one.” That was easy too. Until guess who shows up? THEN suddenly there’s all this uncertainly and “nuanced” complexity. Today uncertainly and “nuance” and complexity are sold as Christian epistemology and here we are.

      1st Corinthians 2:14: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”

      It is not even possible from a biblical standpoint that sound gospel COULD be in this, or any other work of any kind, spawned in the mind of the unregenerate. Watch it, have fun and teach the kids how pagan it was. You MIGHT be able to make a case for that. But seeing THE gospel here? Without God, sin or Jesus? Really? That is NOT good news and if true we are still in our sins and our faith is in vain. What DID the church do for all those centuries without even electricity? To say nothing of the sensory onslaught of all this media entertainment from THE WORLD. Nobody gets this?

  35. Mary says:

    Missing the point indeed…

    Elsa was put away in a room, isolated, told that her inner power wasn’t to be shown or shared, that it was “dangerous”… And when she finally “let it go”, she did cause damage and destruction. It wasn’t until she allowed herself expression and an outlet that she learned to control it… and eventually redeem the damage she initially caused.

    In some traditions, women are taught to be “ladylike” and that their ONLY place is as a wife and mother, keeping a home… Is this Biblical? Or is it an unreasonable cultural standard?

    Maybe the real message here is for parents- that we need to teach our children to celebrate their strengths, and to give them the training they need to use them for the glory of God, rather than being afraid when our daughters are strong-minded, or our sons are creative, and trying to get them to hide the God-given gifts that make them special and unique.

    I loved Frozen. It’s not the Gospel, and expecting it to teach perfect truth would be unreasonable, but it had a solid message that sparked some good conversation for me and my teens. I give it 5 stars as a family movie.

  36. Ken says:

    This is an interesting and sometimes cantankerous discussion thread that seems to wobble like a top as it slows to a stop. Personally, I’ve not seen the movie nor did I know that it even existed. Being somewhat older and having children in their thirties I tend to forget stuff like this is out there. But I would like to pass on something that I’ve learned rather painfully. If you do not train up your child; the world will. Do not expect kids to get what you are preaching until you get what you are preaching. Disney et al have been propagating their world view for a long time. I remember seeing Mary Poppins in the movie theater, really. As most know, at the very beginning Mary Poppins floats down to the ground using an umbrella. Well, true to form, I had to test that idea by jumping from the roof of my father’s pick-up truck with an umbrella (pre-Darwin award). I learned a quick and painful lesson about aerodynamics that has served me well ever since. Yet, I’ve suffered significant injury over time because I didn’t think. I didn’t understand the dangers that I would sometime put myself in. I passed many of these traits on to my progeny and as a result I have children who read and enjoy Dawkins or wander through life always reacting and never understanding. So, a question that may well be asked is, “What is the underlying theme” or “Who is trying to teach me and my children?” Scripture is pretty clear. Perhaps it would be better if we humbly came to the Lord and ask Him to open our lives and when He does; obey.

  37. I blogged about this VERY thing, the day after we saw the movie in theater. Hope you will read my thoughts because they echo yours – just with a little bit more emotion and personal story included! http://beautifulinhistime.com/2014/01/10/on-frozens-let-it-go-a-recovering-good-girl-speaks-out/

  38. You know how it seems that one can’t find christ, or redemption, until they stops pretending to be someone they’re not? That’s how I see this pivotal moment in the movie. Finally honest. Finally being herself after trying for so long to repress who she was, and what she was. Her power isn’t the problem. Fear is her problem, and allowing it to over shadow her love for others made her blind to them and the pain they are in. This song is the first step in her journey away from fear, and toward love. She doesn’t move toward isolation in this song, she is already there. She believes falsely that to isolate herself is to protect others. So she embraces the isolation, she embraces who she is and the fate she believes she is stuck with, and she allows herself to be as whole as possible under those circumstance and false beliefs.

    “And the fears that once controlled me, can’t get to me at all
    It’s time to see what I can do,
    to test the limits and break through.
    No right, no wrong, no rules for me.
    I’m free!”

    I can see why this is an anthem. Because so many people are bound by fear, of themselves, of their abilities, of disappointing those around them. This song, of everything she feared coming true, and her leaving that fear behind as a result, is the kind of thing people rally around.

    In other words, I think it’s more nuanced than your analysis, which is why the movie is so popular. Real people are more nuanced too.

    1. Mary says:

      Well said.

  39. Dan says:

    Perhaps all it shows is that people are more interested in a catchy tune than the meaning of the lyrics. More probably the idea of letting it go without thought of consequences or consideration of others is highly valued in our society.

    1. Joe M says:

      Exactly.

  40. Mary says:

    I find it sad and depressing that some commenters here seem to think of “the World” as the enemy…

    “God so loved the World…”

    I was part of that “World” until I came to Christ. I don’t see unbelievers as the enemy. I see them as my brothers and sisters who are lost and wandering and who have not yet found their way home. Can I follow them? No. But I can woo them and reach out to them… and recognize they are not “the enemy”.

    And I can enjoy a story for what it is, without needing it to be rooted in the Bible. God is so big… so much bigger than this little box some are trying to stuff him into… HIS truth shines through, yes, in art, in movies, even if they’re *gasp* Not made my Christians!

    This movie has brought my family so much pleasure and sparked such great discussions… It’s not a Bible story, true, but that doesn’t make it worthless or “anti Christian”. I didn’t go to see it expecting a Sunday Sermon or even a Bible lesson. I watched it with discernment, and was pleased to find nuggets of Truth and Wisdom, in ENTERTAINMENT. The kids and I discussed how the messages compare to the Biblical truth, and it was a good conversation.

    Magic? Umm hello… have you read cs Lewis lately?

    I’m unfollowing the comments now. Too much to do to keep having my inbox pelted with pointless arguing over who knows more verses and who has the “right” interpretation of Scripture.

    May God bless each of you in your journey.

  41. Great post! I haven’t seen frozen yet but I did just see the Lego movie. I find it interesting that the Lego movie also dealt with the same theme/conflict. But couldn’t quite decide where to land on these two extremes. At first it seemed to mock the “(2) ordered life, expressed in rule-keeping” in favor of “(1) authenticity, expressed in rebellion against cultural constraints.” But in the end it seemed to say that some balance between the two these two extremes was the way to live ones life. There definitely seems to be a cultural trend to pull back from the complete anarchy of individualism.

  42. Dee says:

    As I read the article and as much of the comments that I can manage, I’m finding that not only was the song taken out of context of the movie, but the line “no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free” was taken out of context of the song itself, and even of the verse.

    If you read the whole verse, you will realize that “no right, no wrong, no rules for me, I’m free” came from “the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all.” Elsa was singing of freedom from the fear that controlled her and imposed rules of right and wrong on her – and yet, the whole song was not a song of reveling in freedom. It was a subtle, sad goodbye, because in order to keep Anna safe, Elsa chose to isolate herself permanently.

    Seems people only think that “sacrifice” means dying, so only Anna was seen as willing to sacrifice – but Elsa had been sacrificing for Anna even before Anna was aware of it. Just because she didn’t lose her physical life doesn’t mean she didn’t sacrifice.

    If you want to know what the self-centered song in Frozen really is, listen closely to the words of “For the First Time in Forever” and compare that with the heart and spirit of “Let It Go.”

    I’d rather sing Let It Go. And I’m teaching it to my daughters and students too.

  43. Stephen Moss says:

    I see his point, but are we forgetting what Elsa was actually running away from? Was it her selfishness and desire for self-fulfillment that caused her to “let it go”? Maybe to some degree, but Elsa had grown up believing that she was dangerous. It wasn’t just her ability to freeze; it was her. Scared of what they didn’t understand, her family isolated her, and Elsa learned how to wear a mask to cover up what was really going on inside. Is it any wonder she boiled over and took off in search of freedom? Ask anyone who grew up in the Church having to wear a similar mask, and they will resonate deeply with the lyrics of “Let it Go.” Yes, the song’s message is incomplete, deeply flawed on its own. There are rules, actually. There is right and wrong. The answer is not self-fulfillment, but rather, self-sacrifice. I agree with Mr. Wax here. However, instead of pointing the finger solely at Elsa, can’t the Church learn something about how we treat struggling brothers and sisters in our midst? Who are we forcing to wear masks? Who are we isolating? Who are we silently pushing towards the door? Who is about to “let it go” because they can’t keep holding it on their own anymore? Who are we telling “conceal, don’t feel”? Because that’s not the message and hope of the gospel. Had Elsa’s home been a healthy one, she wouldn’t have had to hide. She could have expressed her gifts and abilities in healthy and constructive ways. She wouldn’t have had to bottle up all her feelings and fears. Sure…letting it go probably isn’t the answer…but maybe Elsa didn’t see any other choice. Maybe some of our brothers and sisters don’t see another choice. That should certainly be convicting…more so to us than to our Elsas.

  44. To JON and MEREDITH and MARY or anybody else who wishes to make the biblical and historical case that I have been requesting in these comments, please go HERE (or anywhere else but here)

    I do not have high hopes. I must be honest. What people do is huddle together, reassure each other with the wisdom of the world and talk about how those of us with old fashioned biblical views lead empty, arid self righteous lives. One must try however and I invite all whom I have offended to makes their case. The crickets and I will be waiting.

    1. David Hoffelmeyer says:

      Mr. Greg,

      How do you make sense of Paul and his quotation of Greek poets in Acts 17? How do you think about Jude and Peter’s usage of 2nd Temple Jewish literature such as The Testament of Moses and 1 Enoch in places like 1 Peter 3:19, 2 Peter 2:4, and Jude 9? How do you deal with the appropriation of the genre of the household code, a common form of ethical teaching among moral philosophers of the ancient world, in Paul’s letter to the Colossians (crossing chapters 3 and 4) and Ephesians (crossing chapter 5 and 6), and in 1 Peter 3? How do you make sense of the Magi and their right predictions based upon astrology in Matthew 2? How do you make sense of the Proverbs and Solomon’s appropriation of Egyptian wisdom sayings? Why did Daniel waste time studying Babylonian philosophy and religion in Daniel 1?

      One last question, where in the Bible does it say that you should only listen to your own reading of the Bible? Where does God say that you are the final authority on the interpretation of Scripture?

      Maybe, you should think about some of these questions. Maybe you should wonder at the glory of the grace God gives to everyone– us foolish tradition lovers call that common grace. King David was amazed by the glory of God in all creation, Psalm 8, 19, etc. If you aren’t, do you think something is wrong with your perspective? Could you be wrong and still be a Christian, or is being right about everything the calling of a Christian? Just a couple things to consider.

      The wounds of a brother are faithful. The Bible says that. Maybe you should let yourself be wounded.

      Your brother,

      David

  45. A_wretched_sinner_saved_by_God says:

    I am so very young. The knowledge I have learned so far was learned in a war zone. I have seen my friends and my family die in friendly fire. Who hasn’t seen the body of Christ die of cancer? We Christians know everything and yet so little. I will claim to know far less than any reader who sees this site. I have learned valuable lessons the hard way. And I have caused so much pain and suffering in my short lifetime that when I look in the mirror… I see God. Not straight off the bat. No, first I see myself, a wretched miserable sinner who hurts the people who love him and hates those he was sent to help. Yes I look in the mirror and see a sinner… But isn’t that they point? We all are sinners and I have been forgiven much. Because my sins are many I am so thankful for His forgiveness. Anyone who knows me knows where I should go. I am so thankful I have been forgiven. I am no longer bound for hell. That is just a little about me before I comment on the debate on if art from the pagan world I was saved out of can teach unbelievers The Truth (and yes by capitalizing those words I mean Jesus :) ). So before you stop reading because I just called your kids unbelievers… Aren’t they? If your foothold, your way into their mind, is through a source other than the bible, aren’t they unbelieving? Or without knowledge in that topic? I am assuming your kids haven’t tasted the wonderful grace of Jesus yet.
    You talk about Jesus’s parables and while storys with an important point to be learned… They aren’t quite pop culture. They came from God himself not from the world who rejected Him. Sir I don’t want it to sound like I am not in agreement with you… I do agree with you (I really feel uncomfortable using first names for adults… I am that young…). So while I might be a little lost with the reference of parables I am willing to learn as I am very inexperienced and lack wisdom. But the debate topic is valid and while I cannot talk about parables a few other verses come to mind….
    The world is evil and does not serve God. This is where we are getting our tools to teach generations from? Why would we ever want to use anything but the Bilble when talking to unbelievers, young or old? A question that grasps my attention and makes me wonder why would I use that for my future children… Before I can have an opinion I am going to dissect the question to what it really boils down to: “how are unbelievers reached?”. In several translations of the Bible you have two groups: the Jews and the Gentiles or Greeks. This second group was such an abomination to the Jewish culture and religion. They seemed to be the epitome or incarnation of all evil. So if we are asking can we reach evil with what evil produces shouldn’t we look to see if evil was ever reached with what their hands produced? Paul maybe the most known advancer of the gospel did just that. When he walked through through Athens he saw how pagan they were. How they worshiped idols something condemned in multiple verses. He also saw that they like to tell each other ‘something new’. Before your big screen tv (and yes they had theaters too) but there was old fassiobed story telling. They might be clawing it was true but they were looking for something new to pass their time. So Paul went along with that. He told them something very new to them. But he did it through what they understood. He references those idols they worshiped. And how he found one to the UNKNOWN GOD (if you worship multiple gods you wouldn’t want to miss one and have him angry at you) so in acts 17 Paul tells them all about God with what they understand as a bridge. If that couldn’t convince me to take a side… Well maybe Paul isn’t good enough for me. Maybe the Greeks aren’t evil enough for me. I then think of Jesus. No greater man has walked the earth because Hewasn’t just man He was God too. So we have our good guy lets find our bad guys. How about the men who killed or good guy? That is about as evil as you get… These Jews would go off in their popular culture celebrating the festival of lights. Something that really is of no importance. Just like the specifics of frozen are of no importance. Jesus took their culture and said: “I am the Light of the world;…”. He takes something so simple to understand and links it to deep truth about Him. So Sir I am not against you and neither am I against you. I believe that just like when I look and the mirror and see the sinner which turns my eyes on God unbelievers can see something other than God and His word and have it direct their eyes to God and His truth. My goal was not, is not and will not be to fight either you Mr. Jon or you Mr. Greg (sorry I thought it was about time to clarify) aren’t we on the same team? Should not our goal be to be peacekeepers as those are the ones who are blessed? I saw a church tear itself apart with debates and die of spiritual cancer. I saw that when I was in fourth grade and it cried me to sleep. How could the people who claim to love the same God be so mean to each other? I learned the answer by looking at my own sins in retrospect. Arent we all miserable sinners? Let us go and glorify the name of He who saved us together. We are one body and we should work as a team. Anyone with a disorder in their own body can testify that they wish their body who cooperate and work as it was meant to work. We are that spiritual body and so Mr. Jon and Mr. Greg I love you both. I will be praying for you both. Let us serve God together. If not in this lifetime then when He comes back. God is so good :) .

    1. Jon says:

      I’m afraid you missed my point–although, in reading through my own posts once again, I can see where I was not very clear as to exactly _how_ we use culture in our family to teach. I thought it was obvious through my choice of words, that popular culture in no way replaces scriptural teaching in our family. I am, after all, a preacher and missionary. :-) The lack of clarity is my fault. Oops.

      So, since you are sincerely confused by what I was saying, I shall answer you more completely so that you can hopefully understand, and, I hope, others can take away something from this as well. :-)

      As I mentioned in an earlier post, all kids have to go through that stage in their lives where the go from being children, under the tutelage of adults, to becoming adults, responsible for their own lives. The Bible, taught in a vacuum, like so often happens in many churches today, doesn’t really help kids, because they have not been taught how to apply it to life. (and my point in talking about the parable of the Good Samaritan was to illustrate that) Also, many homes, schools and churches shelter the children to the point of no exposure to the world around them, while others swing the pendulum in the opposite direction, giving absolutely no guidance to the kids, seemingly embracing the world’s philosophy unquestioningly. We chose another path. We use the world’s culture, through art and popular media, to apply Scriptural teachings in what I have been calling a “laboratory environment”. How should we respond to the world when they give us songs like “Let It Go”? How does its message compare to Scripture? What does Scripture say about it? How about the movie? We apply the lens of Scripture to culture, not to judge it, or prove it wrong, but to prove ourselves, and to improve ourselves.

      The goal being that when their time comes, they will have the tools to deal with comparable stresses and situations in their own life. By vicariously experiencing difficult situations through art and popular culture, we can learn how to apply the truths of Scripture to them, and later, to our own lives.

      To put it as succinctly as possible. We don’t draw truth _from_ art, but apply God’s truth _to_ art. Maybe some people don’t see that difference, but the difference, while seemingly subtle is actually huge–one of direction, if you will.

      Actually, I can guess that many of the people posting how we can get truth from art, were they to think about this would agree with me that they are not merely deriving truth from the art, but applying truth to it–interpreting it in light of God’s Word.

      I should add, that we don’t indiscriminately watch and listen to just everything. There are a lot of things that never cross our TV screen, and music we don’t listen to, and things we don’t read. But honestly, if it has genuine artistic value, and has something genuine to say, chances are we will discuss it in our home. Hope this helps understand what I’m talking about better.

  46. Tim Mullet says:

    It is interesting to see how much relativism makes it’s way into Christian interpretation of movies.

    When we read the Bible, we do not ask, “what does this mean to me?”

    We ask, “what does this mean to the author who wrote it?” What was his intention?

    In a similar way, when we watch a movie, we should ask, “What did the producer’s intend to communicate?”

  47. pcg says:

    Just when I was beginning to despair at the original author’s complete misfire (IMO) in this Law-heavy article, I read the comments and it sounds like so many folks get what I would consider the REAL point of the song. (Rational internet comments calmly refuting a quasi-religious argument? Now I’ve seen everything!)

    Elsa doesn’t cause the eternal winter through her impetuous rebellion—she causes it out of fear, lashing out in a moment of panic. And this after a childhood of being horribly equipped to deal with her gift. For heaven’s sake, she was locked a room from like age 7! “Conceal it—don’t feel it.”?! To me, that sounds much more like the American evangelical church than Elsa sounds like the prodigal daughter.

    Here’s how it breaks down to me: Mom and Pop teach daughter to repress the thing that makes her most unique (and most inconvenient to the community). She just needs to be normal and pretend like she has everything together. Daughter grows up unable to deal with conflict, both within her and in relationships. Daughter finally comes out, gets scared, lashes out, and runs away. In her time away, she immediately realizes her power is something that can be expressed safely when she’s by herself. So in her stunted emotional state, she does NOT come to the conclusion that she should also learn to express it around other people; rather, she comes to the conclusion that she will be alone forever, in order to be herself.

    What does the American evangelical church do today but get its members in lock-step with the One True Interpretation (through shaming and gossip, if not outright teaching)? Got a wart? Better cover that up. Have problems with pornography? (And not in the past, but like RIGHT NOW.) Claim victory over that… which generally means be better at making sure no one finds out the truth. Clinical depression? Psh, try expressing THAT in the church and see how many Barnabases there are in your congregation. “Conceal it—don’t feel it.” It’s really no wonder so many young people get into the real world and discover that, despite the fact that the world deals in death, at least they want to deal with the authentic YOU.

    My comment is full of generalizations and maybe your experience is different. That’s not my point, in the end. My point is that the author misses the message of “Let It Go”, which is a reactionary song of unbridled freedom from years of psychological and emotional abuse.

  48. Anne says:

    My take on “Let it Go” is so different. I think it’s about not pretending anymore. Elsa and her family viewed her powers as something to fear, and they believed the only way to “control” them was to live separated from others. Even after “letting it go,” she thinks the only way she can live is in isolation. But her sister draws her back, and the journey they go through reveals that she can live as her authentic self right there where she belongs, as queen, not out of fear, but out of love. Remember, the troll told Elsa that fear would be her enemy. And it was. What’s the opposite of fear? Not courage, but love. Perfect love drives out fear. After Anna saves Elsa’s life, the snowman of all characters points out that the act of love was something Anna DID (not received), and Elsa applies it to herself and says, in an “aha” moment, “Yes, love!” Like suddenly she gets that she no longer has to live in fear but can live loved & accepted. Don’t we all have to come to that realization…that in Christ, we can live free of fear–live FROM our Father’s approval and not FOR it–and be our authentic selves?

  49. mash says:

    I think lots of people also miss the fact that the movie doesn’t encourage this… Elsa has to learn to control it, she doesn’t end up being herself and living alone and free as described in the song… She ends up learning to control it.

  50. Me says:

    I think you missed something…
    The trolls warned her of fear being her worst enemy.
    Let it Go talks about casting off that fear and being yourself…
    If you watch the entire film, you see this come full circle when she learns that her fear is what was in the way of her controlling her magic.

    1. Alan Gilman says:

      “Let it Go talks about casting off that fear and being yourself…”

      I would say that the song is about throwing off restrain with the goal of being oneself. She thought she was running away from her fears, but took them with her.

  51. Shannon Loredo says:

    Did y’all miss the point when the troll said that FEAR would be Elsa’s worst enemy? Or the fact that every time she hurt someone (aside from the first incident with Anna, which was as much a result of Anna’s carelessness as it was Elsa’s)it was a result of fear, not self indulgence? Had she been allowed to “let it go” as a child instead of taught to fear herself and her gift, perhaps her relationship with her sister and the world in general might not have been damaged to begin with.

  52. Matthew Hoots says:

    “Let it go” is about you not letting fear get to you or letting it control you. If you notice she makes a beautiful ice castle in the song Because she is not afraid, but whenever she is scared she can’t control her powers, hurting people by accident because of it .”The fears that once CONTROLLED me can’t get to me at all” is the base of the song telling you to not let fear be your master, and if you watch the rest of the movie you find that love should be your master. This song isn’t the antithesis of the movie but the heart of it.

    1. Alan Gilman says:

      Elsa thinks she’s free. Yes, she powerfully and beautifully expresses her gift, but she is still alone like before. She went from being isolated in her parents’ castle to one of her own making in the name of liberty.

      Trevin correctly asserts: “We don’t believe we are most true to ourselves when we embrace our deepest desires. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. We need deliverance from our deepest instincts, not celebration of them.”

      “Let It Go” vividly illustrates the misguided pursuit of freedom so prevalent in our culture. It is only when we submit ourselves to the Lord that he transforms us into the servants he designed us to be. I think many Christians relate to this song, because they have been under the oppression of false versions of Christianity, where in the name of submission, they have been robbed of what God wants them to be. But finding our true selves will not happen through self-expression but genuine godly submission. This is portrayed in the movie through sacrificial love being the key to genuine freedom.

  53. Tara says:

    I liked the comments on this article. I interpreted the song to mean we need to let go of fear and all the negative emotions that can hold us back from doing good in the world. The idea that when fear no longer ruled, she made beautiful things. The bad happened when she embraced fear.. At the beginning of the movie with the trolls.. she was told that fear was her worst enemy. I thought it was a beautiful picture of freedom from fear. She was for the FIRST TIME discovering the greatness within herself. We, as Christians, can all relate to the difference in our own lives when we discover to not be afraid of our past and the judgement of the secular world but instead live in the freedom of Christ’s forgiveness and guidance! We are always saying to let it go, it is in Gods hands. I think this song is so catchy because many want to let all that negativity and evil go. And let go the false rules of the world and follow the true rules of your heart guided by Gods love. This song also really speaks to victims of abuse and is liberating for them. Since there are so many interpretations, this is the true success of art. Although, personally, I find the song annoying, ha.

  54. Scott Varner says:

    OK this song is not saying rebel against the family and rules. It is very strait forward and like most this is particular to Elsa and what she is going through so lets not read into it to much. I would see this as a transformation into adolescence and for the first time she isnt locked away in a room. Her letting go of her ice powers is not some metaphor of giving away her virginity or something. This is her as the bible talks about (time in the desert) she had to go through it and she did it proudly (the correct way). Sometimes in life we will go through things even dark things but what we cant see in the future like Elsa could not is eventually she would have control of herself and it would turn into a gift not a curse. Also we have Family & friends who love us that try to control our destany sometimes which seems loving but can be very damaging. They say dont it might go wrong, you might fail, something bad may happen. These are called (Border bullies) and sometimes you have to (LET IT GO) and push right past them. You can quote me on that. LoL Which in my mind that is what she is doing breaking through her restraints but as you can see in the movie she didnt turn all evil she just found herself in the desert (or should i say the snow)…. You go girl!

  55. Ron says:

    I think the meaning of the song doesn’t apply to people upon whom reasonable expectations and restrictions have been put into place. This song applies to those under extraordinary circumstances in which the showing of emotion or any personal opinion of any kind could have extreme consequences. For myself, my mother and I were kicked out by my father when I was 12. We moved away to a different city and I had to live with a friend for a couple of years while my mother completed an education in a different country. My father didn’t deign to do anything for or with me for most of my life and more often than not made me feel unwanted. In fact, he told my mother specifically that he did not want me. Yet during the second year of staying with my friend, he wanted to reform the father son bond. He never apologized or even recognized the past and would run away whenever I would express too much opinion regarding the past. In fact, he would go back without telling me on most occasions. The fact that I lived with my friend meant that while other teenagers tested the limits of their own new found desires for independence with the firm unshakable knowledge that their parents would never abandon them, the same was not true for me. I carefully monitored my language and my actions to make sure I didn’t provoke anyone despite the constant insensitivity. I was constantly told by my “friend” that it was his house and that nothing really belonged to me. We went to the same high school but he had a spare in the morning while I had biology. Despite my pressing need to get to class on time to write tests and attend lectures, he would always take his sweet time and get me late every single day. In front of others, he would make fun of me relentlessly and join in when others were doing the same. Due to my condition, I earned the nickname “homeless bastard”. He never apologized for anything. I had to try VERY hard to repress my emotions because despite the condition I was in, it could’ve gotten a lot worse if my friend and his mother had decided that I was too much of a burden to take care of. I felt anger and frustration towards my mother who, because of her lack of awareness of the situation, told me to stop being so sensitive. I felt abandoned by her and by my father who I felt was just visiting to quell a guilty conscience or something. i was angry at my friend and his mother for being so insensitive and I was angry at my parents for telling me not to express my emotions. Like Elsa I was required to be the perfect boy. I was harped on for any and all instances in which I was unable to express my emotions while others were pardoned ten fold with excuses that seemed to appear as if by sleight of hand. Others would comment on what they thought was my “ideal life” because they had NO IDEA what was happening and just made the foolish assumption that because my father was a doctor, I obviously had a perfect life. My father abandoned us several time when I was a child in order to scare us into submission and I was bullied extensibly as a child by classmates. I often had to stay with my mother’s friend because my mother was always working to support the family (my dad refused to work an odd job in the early years of our immigration). Her son physically, verbally, and even sexually abused me. Due to these collective experiences, I developed a mistrust of most people except for my mother who because of her misinformed comments on my oversensitivity was no longer on my trust list. As a result, I didn’t share anything with anybody and instead kept everything bottled up inside of myself. Let It Go honestly made me burst into tears and I’m a boy. To me, the song is meant as a transition point to show people who have had to bottle up negative emotions for so long that your not a bad person if you let out these emotions. The “swirling storm inside” metaphor is used to show the inferno of mixed feelings following the release of negative emotions. Elsa has gone SO LONG without being able to open up to anybody because she fears that she will hurt somebody by allowing herself a moment’s reprieve. She has been thinking about everybody else for her entire life and has sacrificed herself for the good of everyone else. Let It Go is symbolic of the transition that people in Elsa’s situation have to go through in order to emotionally develop. The scenes prior to Let It Go depict an Elsa who is completely dominated by a belief in the good of the people over the good of the individual. Let It Go and a good chunk of the rest of the film show Elsa completely focusing on her own personal good by trying to dissociate herself from society only to find out that she cannot do so. The end of the film shows Elsa realizing that her own personal expression (her identity as the ice queen) must be balanced with care for others (an acceptance of her responsibilities as queen). I don’t think that Let It Go contradicted the message of the film. Rather it served as a very important change in Elsa’s character development. Kudos to Disney for making probably the best movie of all time!

  56. Trice says:

    yes! thank you for posting this!

  57. Trice says:

    Yes! Thanks for posting this!

  58. Olaf Snømann says:

    I too see definite parallels between Frozen and The Gospel in that both are mythologies riddled with glaring plot holes that enthusiastic fans are willing to overlook, and both have made a relative few very wealthy at the expense of a large audience through aggressive marketing, particularly toward children. Frozen, arguably, has the stronger score.

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Trevin Wax


​Trevin Wax is managing editor of The Gospel Project at LifeWay Christian Resources, husband to Corina, father to Timothy, Julia, and David. You can follow him on Twitter. Click here for Trevin’s full bio.

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