The Lion King is one of my favorite animated movies. There are many little life lessons in there, but one of those that stands out to me comes from the scene where Rafiki has a deep and difficult talk with Simba. For those of you not familiar, here’s a quick recap. (Warning: spoilers ahead!): Simba was, at the time, an older lion. He’d been hiding out, acting like someone he was not, because he believed his father’s death was his own fault. This was, of course a lie. His evil uncle tricked Simba into believing he was unworthy to take his rightful place as ruler of the lions. Nasty hyenas mocked him, and Simba ran far away full of fear and regret. Feeling powerless and sorry for himself, he runs into Rafiki, a baboon-ish monkey of some sort. Rafiki remembers Simba from his early days, raps him on the head, and asks him a very important question, “Do you know who you are?” Simba has clearly forgotten. Rafiki leads him to a pool where Simba can see his reflection, which turns into a vision of his father who implores him to return to his rightful place. Simba realizes his past is something we can learn from, and with his father’s words, “Remember who you are” ringing in his ears, he runs back to his home, empowered and ready to take the throne.
[pullquote width=”300″ float=”left”] Lies and fear and doubt do not get to be the bosses of us. We don’t have to let events in our past (whether our own doing or not) define who we are and what we deserve. [/pullquote]Friend, maybe you identify with Simba a little too much today. Maybe something happened in your past that makes you feel powerless and ashamed. Perhaps someone has been whispering (or shouting) in your ear that this is your own fault, and that you don’t deserve better. Maybe that accusatory voice is your own, maybe doubt and fear are making you think that you have to be someone that you are not, or that you need to hide. The past may weigh on you so heavily, you may feel like you have no choices left. Well, then, let me bop you on your head with my virtual walking stick and tell you this: Asante sana Squash banana, Wiwi nugu Mi mi apana*
In other (better) words- Remember who you are.
Christian- you are the child of the Most High King (John 1:12). Lies and fear and doubt do not get to be the bosses of us. We don’t have to let events in our past (whether our own doing or not) define who we are and what we deserve. Only God gets to do that. He already has expressed His great love for us (Ephesians 3) and has already called us his masterpieces (Ephesians 2:10). He has big plans for us (Jeremiah 29:11) and they don’t include hiding in shame and fear. As His children, we get to do something amazing- look at our own reflection and see God’s vision for us! We can see that we can take our rightful place in this world living freely as those who can love Him and love others (Galatians 5:13). We can learn from the past, and we can go forward. You’ve got this, friend! Give yourself a little time to get your memory back and then go! Be! Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t worthy:
Remember who you are.
Ps: Some of you are reading through this, not in a season where you can identify with Simba in the slightest. But maybe you know someone who is struggling. Here’s my challenge for you- don’t follow the example of me and ol’ Rafiki. Don’t bop your friend on the head while they’re hurting. Pretty sure they’ve had enough pain already. Instead, offer your hand. Remind them who they are. Tell them what they mean to you, to the world, to God. Help them look in the mirror and see that they are masterpieces. Tell them it’s okay that they forgot for a minute, let them know you’ll be by their side as their memory comes back to them. I am sure of so very little these days, but of this I am certain: as followers of Christ, this is absolutely our job. Encouraging and loving one another is never a wrong choice.
*apparently, that’s Swahili for “Thank you very much (squash banana) You’re a baboon and I’m not”