My daughter received some Disney board books for Christmas. The story of Pinocchio reads as follows.
“Geppetto made a puppet boy.
“The boy came to life.
“The puppet was named Pinocchio.
“Pinocchio saved Geppetto.
“Pinocchio became a real boy!”
That’s it in its entirety. There is nothing in there about Pinocchio’s propensity for telling lies or his inclination to go against his “conscience” Jiminy Cricket. There is nothing there about his smoking and drinking on Pleasure Island.
Now of course I realize that this is a book for very young children, but the edits in this version of the story are pretty absurd especially since they show a picture of Pinocchio with donkey ears and tail but give no explanation. All we have is a Pinocchio’s creation, his saving of Geppetto (who only needed saving because he was looking for his lost son) and the grace of becoming a real boy granted to Pinocchio at the end of the story.
Of course, all classic Disney movies are in some sense a moral tale (Pinocchio is promised that he will become a real boy if he proves himself to be brave, truthful and unselfish). But thinking from a theologically Lutheran perspective, if this were a story of grace it would have failed miserably. Removing Pinocchio’s sin completely from the story makes the grace un-grace. There is no law and therefore there is no consequence and so there is no need for saving even if one were able, as Pinocchio is, to save one’s self.
We need the law. We need it to expose and convict us of our sin. We need it to point out the fact that we need saving and redemption. We need it to show us that we need Jesus Christ.