Disney is getting ready to release a “live” action version of their 1994 animated classic The Lion King. As a quick aside, I think “live” is a funny way to describe the new CGI animated movies. But that is just my quirky opinion. I loved the original film and one of my favorite scenes is where Rafiki leads the now grown Simba to the water’s edge, touches the water as he insists that Simba remember. At first all Simba sees is his reflection. So once again Rafiki insists Simba look into the water but this time Simba needs to look harder. It is in this second look, this harder reflection that Simba finally sees his father in him.
I remember the first time I looked in the mirror and saw my parents. It was a bit of a shock. I am far more like my Dad as I strongly take after his side of the family. So as I age, I see my Dad more than my Mom but that doesn’t mean I don’t see traces of her in me. I think the shock of seeing how much our appearance or our mannerisms is like or in some case just like our parents comes from a desire as children and even as adults to carve out our own identity. We want to be a unique individual and when we discover we might not be unique it can come as a bit of a surprise/shock.
Which gets me back to remembering. I believe it is important to remember who we are. Why? Because the bottom line is we are wired to remember and one thing we don’t seem to do well is remember. We forget where we came from. We forget or in some cases don’t know our own heritage. We forget how we were raised – both the good and the bad. We forget or at least try to forget our past mistakes. We forget our history and even try to rewrite it so it is not so ugly. All this forgetting is a mistake. George Santayana a writer and philosopher said that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It would seem then that remembering is important.
It is so important that the writers of the Bible remembered their history. When you read through the Old Testament you will discover that they remembered all their history. The good things, the bad, and the ugly and some of the ugly parts are really ugly. The writers did not shy away from any of it and instead laid it all out there for anyone to see. They remembered so hopefully they would not repeat the same mistakes. They remembered so we could see that no matter what God loves us and will redeem even our worst mistakes. They remembered so we would have an example about how important remembering is.
When we remember our own histories we learn why we are who we are. Simba remembered that he was born to be the king and in order to be the king he would need to return home and confess what he believed he did and seek forgiveness. When we remember we realize we are a part of our parents, our grandparents, our great-grandparents, our aunts and uncles and cousins. We have blue, brown, or green eyes because that is the predominant trait in our family. We are adventurous because we take after Grandpa Henry or we are quiet and shy because we are like Great-grandma Susie. We can understand who we are when we remember.
The most important thing we can remember about who we are is the simple fact that we are also fiercely loved by God the creator of all that is and we are made in God’s image. So, the next time you feel as if you don’t measure up to the world’s standards, the next time you think you are a failure…the next time you catch yourself making the same mistake yet again…take a moment and remember who you are: God’s wonderful and amazing child.