I’m not much of a Disney fan, especially given their stand on recent social issues, but as a kid, the Lion King was a huge favorite in my home. There’s a part of that cartoon that really resonates with me. It’s when Rafiki tells Simba in that unforgettable accent: “It does not matta, it’s in de past!”
Those words provide us with a great life lesson. Leave the past where it is. Don’t bring it into the present. Here are 3 reasons why:
- Resurrecting the past doesn’t allow us to face the future. Ever tried driving forward while only looking through the rear-view mirror? It’s neither safe nor practical.
- Keeping our eyes on the past makes it more likely that we’ll repeat yesterday’s mistakes. Learn from what you did wrong so that you can do things right.
- Looking backward makes it hard to forgive. We know that humans are flawed creatures, but if you keep seeing the hurt of yesterday, you’ll find it tough to move on.
One more quick thought. Neither Rafiki nor myself are advocating social irresponsibility. We all need to face the consequences for our decisions. Sometimes those consequences can linger for the duration of our lives, making it really hard to “forget the past.”
In those circumstances, you want to use the past as a springboard to propel you into a better future. For example, if you’ve spent time in jail you have a criminal record that will probably be with you for the rest of your life.
You can’t forget that. But maybe you shouldn’t. In that kind of circumstance, use the pain of your past to get others on the right road. Speak at men’s groups, do social work or something to transform your consequence into a blessing for someone else.
Paul the Apostle expressed it perfectly when he wrote:
…this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Excerpt from Philippians 3:13-14
I invite you to do the same.