A Note from Josh – College & Center Newsletters, March 2018

The other day I was wandering around Youtube, and I noticed a video by Tekashi69. This guy has rainbow colored hair, a matching grill, and several tattoos – a number of them on his face. I am a sucker for a gimmick, a wildly curious individual, and have an enormous capacity for listening to rap music, not even necessarily the tastefully woke kind either, so I clicked . . .

About an hour or so later and a thorough deep dive, I learned that Mr. 9’s real name is Daniel Hernandez. He grew up in Brooklyn. His family was poor. Incredibly poor actually. He often went to bed hungry and in an interview he told a story about his mother bringing him home a pair of shoes that she found in the trash, and upon wearing them to school he found out that they belonged to a fellow classmate who had thrown them out.

Daniel’s father was murdered when he was in eighth grade. He was expelled from school shortly after and never returned. Daniel’s story is filled with a lot of pain. A friend of mine once told me, “Never judge someone, because there are always mountains on the ocean floor.” In Daniel’s story, there are more colors to his life than just the bright happy ones that caught my attention.

The other day as my wife and I were watching This is Us (don’t judge), I told my wife a story about my past that I hadn’t shared with her before. Actually, I had never told anyone about this particular story from my past. Her response to me was, “It is crazy to think about who you used to be.” I often tell my wife, “I was two decisions away from becoming that guy.” Typically I point towards someone that fits a description similar to Daniel. I have a soft spot for people who go through difficult things in life. I sympathize with them, and have a tendency to welcome people’s exterior, whether it be rainbow colored hair or a life straight fromĀ Home and Living, because I am certain there is always more to their story, more under the surface of the calm waters, more colors than just the bright ones.

People are always more complicated than we understand at first, second, or even third glance. Democrats are more complicated. Republicans are more complicated. Transgender people are more complicated. Rich white people are more complicated. So on and so forth. Taking the time to listen, ask questions, and just be curious about another person is an absolute blessing. In our society today, we need to be willing to do a deep dive on people. We need to take the time to take multiple glances and get to know who people are, to learn about the mountains on their ocean floor. In Paul’s second letter to the church in Corinth he writes, “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation…” We have been entrusted with this message. In just over an hour, Mr. Hernandez went from being Tekashi69, a vulgar rap Youtube star, to Daniel, the boy who grew up poor, tragically lost his father, and is making an attempt to succeed in life.

Who could you gift an hour to this week to learn more about their story? Who do you wish would gift you an hour to learn more about your story? Where could you take the call to manifest reconciliation in your life? If you aren’t ready to do this with your mom, brother, or a democrat, try practicing on Youtube.



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