One of the worst traumas in adolescence is feeling left out. Isolation and loneliness weigh kids down and exacerbate their all-too-damaging poor self-image. Among the worst culprits for feeding this teenage trauma are seventh-grade girls. Many of them seem to delight in kicking the already-down-trodden down further. These girls don’t have a corner on the market, however. I’ve watched men and women leave out those around them who already feel left out.
This trauma marked my junior high years. I was often teased and pranked by kids I believed were friends who wouldn’t do stuff like that. I wanted to hang out in the jock-and-cheerleader circle, even though I wasn’t a jock. I knew the jocks and the cheerleaders. I grew up with them all, played pick up sports and kick the can with them, went to church with them. But I wasn’t big enough to play football and too short to play basketball. I had to settle for being a band jock drummer. I was not a scholar either. C’s were major accomplishments for me. And to make things worse, I had a bad case of acne and became the brunt of some cruel acne jokes.
You can spot the lonely from across a large room. They’re usually standing alone. They don’t smile. Their countenance
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free. Luke 4:18
seems to conveys a wish that they were anywhere else. I’ve learned, finally, that if Jesus walked into the room, He would go straight to the lonely ones, the downcast, the down-and-outers first. Because He could relate to them. And they could relate to Him.
Jesus teaches us to do the same.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For a guide on how to carry out what Jesus wants us to do, click on over to Philippians 2.