If you missed part 1, I suggest you go back and familiarize yourself with the song and the parable. This time, we are going to deal with the part of this song and this parable that I don't like. Why? Because this is the part that is about me. I don't like things that call out the bad parts of me. I'd much rather call out the bad parts about you! Okay, breathe David. Whew, let's look at Tiana.
Tiana Is Awesome
If you have anything bad to say about Tiana, you best step away now. Tiana is spectacular! She's hard-working, outspoken, passionate, diligent, persevering, caring and a chef that will make you keel over in delicious delight. In other words, Tiana is awesome and now I want beignets.
The Proud One
But there is a downside to Tiana. The girl is proud. She believes that she knows how the world should work, how people should be, and she does not hesitate to look down upon those she believes do not measure up.
No where is this more clear than in her relationship with Naveen in the song When We're Human. Louis and Naveen are talking about how they will tear things up, and Tiana responds, "When I'm a human being, at least I'll act like one." Savage. Tiana believes that her hard work and good deeds are what it takes to be truly human. She believes that she has earned good things in her life, and if she just keeps being good, she will get what she deserves. And even more, those who fail to live life as she does will get what they deserve as well. She is proud, just like the older brother in the parable.
Farther Away Than You Think
Mama Odie rebukes Tiana too, but in a manner that isn't as obvious as with Naveen. She tells Tiana that she's a "hard one". Why would Tiana be the hard one? Naveen is the screw up who doesn't understand hard work and responsibility! Tiana has been through tragedy and has been striving to do what is right her whole life! Unfortunately, Tiana struggles with one of the hardest rocks to dig through - the "good person" rock. It was the same stone the older brother in our parable had, barring his heart from loving his father or his brother. It was the same stone the Pharisees had, a heavy weight that broke them from being able to see their fellow Israelite with love and compassion, let alone the Gentiles around them. And it is the same heart of stone that many of us evangelical Christians have today. Mama Odie warns Tiana that she too is going to have to dig a little deeper, and unlike Naveen, for her, it's going to be tough. You see, the problem with Tiana, the problem with me, is that she doesn't realize that she is just as much of a screw up as Naveen. She doesn't realize that she needs grace just as much as he does. At the core of the Gospel is the call to repent. For the "sinner", seeing the need is so much easier. But for the "good person", realizing just how far they have to go can be HARD. At the core of us is a heart of stone, and we need God to break through and give us a heart of flesh, a heart like His (Ezekiel 36:26).
You're Your Daddy's Daughter
The encouragement that Mama Odie gives Tiana is beautiful: "Your daddy was a loving man, family through and through, You your daddy's daughter, what he had in him you got in you."
One of the most powerful truths of the Gospel is that in Christ we have become children of God, adopted into His family. This is super important! While all humanity is made in the image of God, we are not all of us a part of His family. Those who have put their faith and trust in Christ Jesus are given that great privilege (John 1:12), and can call out to God as Abba, Father (Galatians 4:6). Naveen taught us that it is vital to remember what it means to be truly human, created in the image of God. Tiana teaches us it is vital to remember what it means to be truly reborn, what it means to be a child of God. Who our daddy is matters. Knowing His heart, His desire to call a people, a family to His name needs to be at the core of our hearts. He is loving, so too must we be. Only when we truly embrace His loving heart do we truly break our proud hearts. When we see our fellow humans as on the outside, missing out on love and family, missing out on the best daddy ever, our hearts should break and we should no longer look on them with proud judgment, but with humble, loving longing that they may know the Father, and His family should grow for His great glory.