HomeOpinion & AnalysisBeing exceptional yet trapped in the past

Being exceptional yet trapped in the past

A prophet is without honour in his own home or country, so goes the saying. A lot of times people fail to recognise the extraordinary talent in an individual just because of his/her background. Where you came from sometimes determines how people can appreciate and accept a manifestation of a particular talent in you. People’s views of others are often perceived in the context of the environment they lived in their past life. Whom you grew up with, your family background, your past behaviour, your academic history, etc can influence people’s views about you forever. There is always the tendency to connect the past with the present.


Things and people do change. Some people live in the past, others in the present and yet others aspire and work to change the future and are focused on making a difference. The latter group often has the courage to do things that others have not had the courage to do before. They chart their own path regardless of what people around them may say and are not limited to the thinking of the people around them. However, the detractors would sometimes want to tie them down by trying to talk about their negative pasts, whether of family, habits or any personal traits known to them. Such people live in the past and would endeavour to always stifle the trendsetters. They are resistant to change.

Jesus Christ was not spared of such treatment. He was sometimes ridiculed just because of his family background. Despite showing exceptional wisdom in preaching the word of God like no other, they still belittled him. People rejected Jesus by hooking him to the past. Those exceptional gospels, which astonished them, did not move them.
Matthew 13:54-58 reads: “And coming to his own country he taught them in their synagogue, so they were astonished, and said, ‘Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? Are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all this?’ And they took offence at him. But Jesus said to them: ‘A prophet is not without honour except in his own country and in his own house.’ And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.”

People in Jesus’ home area missed out on the opportunities of his exceptional works. They saw a carpenter’s son born of an ordinary woman, Mary. They also equated Christ with his ordinary brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas. He spoke to them words of wisdom yet those words just entered through one ear and left through the other. They were not moved by his words because they were trapped in the past.

You don’t have to be arrogant or superior to be exceptional. To be exceptional is not superiority. Jesus was an exceptional person, but not limited to the house he was born in, as people perceived him. The exceptional and the ordinary are always at conflict with each other. Exceptional people make noise. Don’t argue or live with the ordinary or allow yourself to be drawn backwards to accommodate their views. Jesus Christ departed and left the area for good, when his own people rejected him.

Do not be discouraged or dismayed when people do not recognise your exceptional talents. You should soldier on and accomplish that which is at hand. Let not your past hinder your progress. Just imagine what Paul the Apostle must have undergone when he converted to Christianity, from being a fearsome persecutor of Christian followers. People who knew him and saw him preaching about Jesus Christ could have frozen in disbelief, yet he persevered and became one of the greatest Christian preachers of all time. Unperturbed about his past or what people said about his gruesome past, he went on to preach in many nations far beyond. His letters to many religious communities constitute almost half of all the contents of the New Testament writings contained in the Bible we still read today. He did not remain trapped in his past life.

Many people fail to reach their full potential of being exceptional because they are often drawn back by their past. At the mention of their negative past, they freeze. They let the environment around them dictate their own progress. Don’t allow people’s view on your past influence you. You are not who you think people say about you. Don’t be trapped by where you come from, neither should you be trapped on who raised you. Shine and excel and be the exceptional person you are meant to be. Disregard your past sins as they are already forgiven. The Lord our God is a merciful God who does not dwell on our past sins, but in the present and on our future.

While some of us have the potential to become exceptional people, we tend to let the past and our limitations affect our progress. Let us be like the biblical David who rose from a shepherd boy to a great King because he believed in himself. Even his own father disregarded him in terms of potential to be a King. He was small in stature and just a shepherd when the Lord our God sent Samuel to chose the next king to rule after King Saul, from amongst the sons of Jesse. In 1 Samuel 16 v 7, the Lord had warned and spoken to Samuel: “For the Lord sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” His own father did not believe he could be king because he was blinded by what he thought were David’s limitations. He had even excluded him when asked to assemble all his sons to present them before Samuel. It was only after none of his elder brothers had qualified for anointment did the father remember him. Jesse then told Samuel, “There remains the youngest, but behold, he is keeping sheep.” (1 Samuel 16:11). As per his own father’s view, David had two limitations in one, ie, he was the youngest of the sons and he was also just a shepherd, unlike his brothers who were already enlisted in the army. God does not see any limitations in people with a strong heart to be exceptional.

In whatever we aspire to be, we must remain focused on who we are destined to be and close our ears to those who don’t believe in us. Detractors will always loom in our paths, but we should be who we are meant to be — exceptional.

Prosper Tingini is the assembly president of the newly established and registered Children of God Missionary Assembly.
As an interdenominational body, I invite all who wish to undertake Bible studies with a view to be certified as Ministers of Religion to contact me on 0771 260 195 either by voice, SMS or WhatsApp. Email address: ptingini@gmail.com

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