As unmanly as it is to say, I actually like the Lion King. I know, I know, I can hear all of you saying, “But Chris, you’re so studly! How could you possibly?” So go ahead…tell me how studly I am………………(crickets) I like it because it’s a great story, and it has some really great parts to it. Like when the hyenas are gathered in a circle and they keep saying the great lion Mufasa’s name:
1st hyena: “Mufasa!”
2nd hyena: “ewwww, I hear that name and I shudder…do it again.”
1st hyena: “MUFASAAAAAAAA…”
That’s just good quality stuff right there. But my favorite part is when the lion cub Simba has run away from everyone because he thinks he is responsible for Mufasa’s death. Rafiki finds him in hiding and tells him that he needs to come home:
Adult Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back will mean facing my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.
[Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick]
Adult Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?
Rafiki: It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.
Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.
[swings his stick at Simba again who ducks out of the way]
Rafiki: Ha. You See? So what are you going to do?
Adult Simba: First, I’m gonna take your stick.
The truth is, the past does hurt. We’ve all made some serious mistakes that we’re not proud of. (If you haven’t, it’s coming. Sorry.) And because of that, we have a tendency to run from the future. That’s right, we will keep ourselves from doing something that God has ordained because we’ve made a mess of something before. We become afraid of how bad we might screw up again. But you need to know that the past is the past! That’s why they call it that! It’s over, gone, done and done! We need to move on and not allow our past failures to control our future. Every great leader has quotes on how much you must fail to succeed. If they know it, why don’t we?
And God doesn’t want to leave you there in the past and taunt you about it day after day. One of the greatest examples of someone who messed up, but God redeemed, is Paul. Paul was Saul, a guy who used to kill Christians. We believe that it was he who held the coats of those who stoned Stephen. And yet God turned him into the greatest evangelist. Every time I read the story, I don’t ever read how everyday God was there every day going, “Hey, don’t forget you used to be a murderer. That’s really kinda bad in my book.” Instead, He used him to help me to know about my place in Heaven.
As an individual, the next time you allow the mistakes of the past to ruin your day, stop and think about Paul and how some of his days went. It’ll change the way you feel. As a leader, you need to be keenly aware of where your people struggle in the area of making mistakes. If it’s from the past, you won’t get them to take many risks for the future.