When I was nine-years-old, I was sent home from school because I had head lice. These little black bugs made a grand, unwelcome entrance into my Mexi-Rican, medium-sized afro. I still remember my teacher’s dreadful stare. I had no idea where I’d gotten these critters. All I knew is I was being sent home for my mom to deal with them.
I remember her sitting me down with a large white bottle of RID® shampoo. Who remembers that stuff? It had this big red accusatory octagon on the front as if to say, “STOP! You have lice. And you’re shameful.” I still remember my mom’s rough hands fiercely scrubbing through my thick hair as the little black bugs drowned in the white foam dripping slowly down both sides of my face. Yuck.
As I think back to that time in my life, I probably had as many lies deeply embedded into my head as I did lice. I know. Gross metaphor. But stick with me for a minute. As I processed my parent’s divorce from time to time, I could see how each lie might have been eating away at me, causing me to scratch my head in confusion. Causing others to stare and wonder what was the matter with me. These lies would bury themselves deep into my brain, gently whispering:
“You’re not smart.”
“You’re not good at sports.”
“You weren’t enough for your dad to stay.”
What I needed was someone to wash these lies away for good. I needed the human equivalent of RID®—someone to make a grand entrance. I needed someone to take the time to pick away at the lies one by one until they were drowning in white-hot truth, my head washed completely clean of them. I needed someone to care about me, to tell me I mattered, to remind me that I was good at some things, to tell me I was worth it.
“It is in relationships where the fatherless generation has been wounded the most deeply. Thus, it is in relationships where reconciliation must begin.” – John Sowers
Shortly after meeting Jesus at 17 years-old, I suddenly met my very first small group leader. His name was Josh and he led a group of 10 college freshmen. Josh very quickly and willingly stepped into the thickness of my life. He wasn’t afraid to wrestle with the lies one by one. And his commitment to me convinced me of the truth of who I really was.
Here’s my point: Kids, left to their own devices, are capable of believing the most terrifying lies about themselves.
You can do a lot of different things to help with this, but nothing beats a real, live person making a grand entrance into your world and pulling you out of the muck and mire. It’s as if God knew just how powerful it would be for Him to put on flesh and become someone people could see, someone who could hear their voices with his own ears.
And through the example of Jesus, small group leaders have the opportunity to make themselves available to those who so desperately want to be seen. To be known and given a place to belong. If I’ve learned anything to be true, it is that our lives have been changed so we can change lives. We experience incarnation so we can then express incarnation.
Who made a grand entrance in your life? Who do you know that might need someone to show up for them? Comment below!
Written By Daniel De Jesus
Elementary Pastor at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship