Our Divided Hearts

Excerpted from “Every Man Ministries” by Kenny Luck

Walt Disney’s cast of animated characters is well known ‘ or, dare I say, burned into our childhood and adult psyches. The all-time favorite in our home (as well as Disney’s all-time box-office champion) is The Lion King. By proxy, I have watched this story of Simba, the little lion who would be king, at least a million times. But it wasn’t until a few years ago that I caught on to the powerful theme beating at the center of the story. It’s a theme that vividly illustrates my spiritual journey and battles, and perhaps yours as well.

Simba, born the son of a lion king named Mufasa, revels in his identity and the future possibilities of royalty. As the song goes, he ‘just can’t wait to be king!’ But when envious Uncle Scar engineers Mufasa’s death and blames it on Simba, the young lion is deceived into thinking that he must leave the kingdom and never return. In exile, lonely and ashamed, he is befriended by Pumba, a big-hearted warthog, and Timon, a manic meerkat.

Simba finds a new family, a new home, and a new way of thinking ‘ all of which help him disguise his past and his true identity.

We are more
than what
we have become!

But while Simba assembles the trappings of a new identity, his true self dogs him, prompting deep conflicts within his heart. In an awkward but telling moment, he denies this father, and in turning his back on his father, Simba denies his true identity. The charade eats away at him until this encounter with a wise, prophetlike baboon named Rafiki:

Simba: Stop following me. Who are you?

Rafiki:
The question is, Who are you?

Simba:
I thought I knew, but now I am not so sure.

Rafiki:
Well, I know who you are.

Simba:
I think you’re a little confused.

Rafiki:
Wrong! I am not the one who is confused. You don’t even know who you are.

Simba (walking away): Oh, and I suppose you do?
Rafiki: You’re Mufasa’s boy!

Simba’s jukebox has been unplugged. Eager yet afraid to reclaim his identity, Simba follows Rafiki through a dark jungle that leads to a water’s edge. Peering into the water, Rafiki helps Simba take a long, hard look. As the young but maturing lion stares at his own reflection, he sees the face of his father, Mufasa, overtake his image.

‘You see’he lives in you,’ says Rafiki with great wisdom.

We are caught between
divided loyalties and competing identities
which cause conflicting angst.

It’s at this pivotal moment that Simba’s father comes in a cloud and speaks into his son’s confusion (voiced by James Earl Jones at his deepest and best).

Mufasa: Simba!

Simba: Father?

Mufasa: Simba, you have forgotten me.

Simba:
No. How could I?

Mufasa:
You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become.

Mufasa nails the general feeling that grings away at most Christian men. We are more than what we have become. We, too, are caught between divided loyalties and competing identities ‘ real ones and false ones ‘ which cause conflicting angst. Like Simba, our time for talking has passed because God is finished listening to the reasons why we can’t move forward. Our divided hearts must be confronted, or as Psalm 86:11 calls out, ‘Give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.’

Need help reclaiming your true identity? Join us at our next Every Man’s Battle workshop.

The Greatest Gifts

Dave Boyle

Well, here we are at another Christmas season. On Thursday you’ll be watching as friends and family unwrap presents that you have purchased for them. If you could give any gift this year to your wife, your kids, your parents, or your friends, what would it be? Some of you may have thought about material goods, but I’m thinking more about non-materials things here. I’m thinking about lasting changes in me that will go on for eternity. What are the gifts you’ll be giving this Christmas season?

How about giving your wife the gift of emotional intimacy? This could look a lot of ways, but one way it looks is to sit down with her a couple times a week in the new year and read together. You may want to read out of God’s Word. You may want to read Every Woman’s Desire together, or the new book Every Woman’s Battle. Or, you may want to set aside a time where the two of you sit with each other and just share your feelings with each other. Gaining intimacy is as much about being known, as it is knowing. And it’s about letting other people affect you. These are just two ways of sharing emotional intimacy with your wives, there are many others. Giving your wife the gift of emotional intimacy will be a present that will last, throughout your marriage and throughout eternity.

Give a GIFT
that will last FOREVER
this Christmas!

How about giving your accountability partner the gift of honesty? Be there for him while he is sharing with you. Let him know that you are concerned for his needs and his sobriety. And be honest with him. Don’t hold back feedback that may be hurtful at the time, but will be good in the long run. Love him enough to tell him the truth. But how about if I don’t have an accountability partner? Get one! There are guys in your church, or guys in your area who have been to EMB, that need to be in relationship with you, and you with them. Call 1-800-NEW-LIFE to make a connection. You can’t win this battle alone.

How about giving your kids the gift of time? They would rather have that than any material gift you could give them. It may mean going to their ball game when you’d rather stay home and work on a project or watch something on TV. It may mean helping them with their homework when every part of you just wants to go to bed. But love is actually spelled T-I-M-E, and that is the best gift you could give your kids this Christmas season.

If they’re not already there, please add emotional intimacy, honesty and time to your Christmas list this year. It will heap huge rewards for you in coming years!

Have a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

The Other Side of ‘The Father Wound’

Joe Dallas

Much has been said, in recovery circles, about the ‘Father Wound’ ‘ that is, the effect a poor relationship with Dad can have on a man’s future. On the one hand, I can say without hesitation it’s all true. If there is one single element I’ve found in common among the men I’ve counseled, it’s the proverbial ‘Father Wound.’ And yet, now that I’m facing the challenges inherent in fathering a son, I’m painfully aware of the other side of the story.

It was so easy, sixteen years ago when I married my wife and inherited a stepson, to talk about what fathers should or shouldn’t be. I was new to the game, the proud step-father of a lovably energetic five year old boy. Huge mistakes, mostly mine, hadn’t yet been made. His adolescence was years off, so our days were playful and I was his hero, snatching him up after school for bowling, football games and junk food. No wonder it was so easy for me to look critically at older fathers. I was determined never to become one.

Since then, the boy I loved has become the man who’s forgiven me. We jumped into the power struggles and mutual rage every father/son relationship is doomed to, and I careened from rigid strictness to cold fury to indifference, depending on which battle we were fighting. We weathered some tough years, re-bonded, and today I couldn’t be prouder of him, or of us, when I see the outcome.

Dad is that enormous figure
assigned to us
who will probably, for better or worse,
affect us more profoundly
than anyone else in life!

But happy ending or not, I know there are things I said and did to him that were damaging, and can’t be undone. To some degree, they’ll affect him and the way he sees life and people. So like all sons, he could write his own book, delivering a rather mixed report card to the old man. I know, too, that what I didn’t say or do, and should have said or done, can’t be compensated for. In short, I understand more than ever how difficulties between fathers and sons come about.

And more than ever, while I stress the need to examine our wounds and deal with whatever anger we may have towards Dad, I also see and stress the need for a forgiving heart.

There’s a time for anger, and I’ll wager you’ve been reluctant to recognize, much less legitimize, yours. I remember too well the first time I admitted to myself how enraged I was with my own father, and how blasphemous and childish I felt. But it was a crucial beginning. Dad is that enormous figure assigned to us who will probably, for better or worse, affect us more profoundly than anyone else in life. So your relationship with him may well play into what you’re dealing with now, including your anger. ‘Be angry, and sin not’, Paul advised. (Ephesians 4:26) It’s allowed. If you were wronged, you were hurt; if you were hurt, your anger is justified. So let it come.


Then, in due time, let it go. Because as surely as you need to express and resolve your anger, there’ll be someone else, someday, who’ll need to do the same with his anger towards you. And you, like all of us, are subject to the laws of sowing and reaping.

Be sure to sow forgiveness while you can. You will, unquestionably, be grateful it’s there to reap when you need it.

For help with forgiveness and anger please join us at our next New Life Weekend.