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Dealing with Rejection

Have you ever been rejected? You come to someone with a serious need, and they just brush you off and tell you to get over it. Or, you write a song that you poured yourself into, but your friends don’t seem to care at all. We have all felt the crippling weight of rejection at some point or another. But the question is, how do we respond when we feel this way? What should we do when we are rejected by others?

It's encouraging to say that Jesus knows exactly how we feel when we are rejected:

  • “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” (Isaiah 53:3)

  • “He came unto his own, and his own received him not.” (John 1:11)

  • “The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD'S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:22-24)

  • "For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:18-22)

I believe we can learn how to respond to rejection by looking specifically at how Jesus responded to it. Follow in His footsteps. See His heart.

With Loving Care

Pain often makes us indifferent to other people’s needs. Why should we help care for someone else’s burden when we are laden with our own? But Jesus proved time and time again that no matter how deep the wound, His hands were always willing to help another.

We see this loving care in the humble request to John while on the cross. “Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:27) In essence He said, “take care of my mother when I am gone.” Think of the powerful truth here. In Jesus’ greatest moment of rejection and pain, His thoughts were not on His own needs but on the needs of others.

When you feel rejected, the propensity will be to rear up in angered defiance and stand your ground. You may even be tempted to act out in spite. But is this the heart of Jesus? Is this what He wants for His children? Cue His sobering words,

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44).

It is one thing to love your enemies, but it is another to bless them and do good to them that persecute you and reject you. It goes beyond just fond thoughts of someone who has wronged you, into a world of deeper love and compassion. No matter the depth of the wound. No matter the severity of the repercussions. This is His heart. Combat the rejection with genuine benevolence, and you never know what might happen. Who knows? Your heart may start to look more like His, and your helping hands might lead the wrongdoer to the Master.

With Purposeful Continuance

There is no doubt that Jesus caused quite the stir when He entered into a town. Sometimes it was a welcome committee of hungry souls eager to hear His words. But as the devil would have it, there were always some who pushed backed on the teachings and ministry of our Lord. (You’d think healing and teaching truth would be a good thing.)

We see this play out in Mark 5 with Jesus and the maniac of Gadara. Jesus got on a boat and sailed through a storm just to reach one man who was in dire need. A man who lived among the tombs, cutting himself and terrorizing a city. Jesus boldly confronted this man, not with a whip or sword, but with something far greater—the love of God. He commanded the demons to come out of the man and then sent them into swine. In the scurry, the possessed pigs ran off of a steep cliff to certain death. The man was finally free. The demons were gone. And what was the reaction of the townspeople?

“And they began to pray him to depart out of their coasts.” (Mark 5:17) They literally prayed Jesus out! Get the picture. Jesus prayed demons out and set a man free. But the people lost their livestock and prayed Jesus out of their town! Did this abrasive opposition stop Jesus in His tracks? Did He buckle under the grip of rejection? No! He simply got back on the boat and went to the next destination.

We see Paul and Barnabas had a similar response to rejection in Acts 13:51, “But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.”

Our rejection doesn’t mean that God’s plans have stopped! He still has a path set for us, preparing the way for greater blessing and faith. But may I challenge you? After you shake the dust off of your feet, don’t collect it in a bottle and take it with you! Leave it behind and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:14) Continue in compassionate devotion to Jesus despite the opposition.

With Honest Communication

Oftentimes, there is a lock and key that is placed on our lips when we are rejected. Like a soda can that is shaken violently but never opened, we can let the pressure of rejection build up inside of us without ever releasing it contents. We hold to the words that cut us deeply, replaying them over and over again in our minds. The only difference is that with each replay, the scenario becomes more intense, and the wound deeper.

God gives us a wonderful tool to utilize in moments just like these. It’s called communication. That seems so elementary, but that is the point. Everyone can do it. Everyone should do it. Jesus was a wonderful communicator. He was the Master Teacher, the Great Counselor. He knew how to cut strait to the heart and get others thinking.

Remember when Jesus took a few of His disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane for the last time? He was in sorrow, praying for those He was about to redeem with His life. He was one step away from the greatest agony any man would ever face. The cross was ahead of Him and His earthly ministry behind Him. He roamed the garden praying, “not my will, but thine, be done.” (Luke 22:42) When He returned, He found His disciples fast asleep. Imagine being startled from your slumber and hearing Jesus say to you,

“What, could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:40-41)

In one of His greatest moments of sorrow, even His friends let him down Him. He needed them. He longed for their prayers. But His response to them was not sulking or threatening’s but was a genuine expression that probed at the heart. (Jesus was a Master at using questions to get to the heart of a matter). I love this because it shows us that even when we are let down, we can still communicate honestly. We can ask questions. We can talk efficiently about our hurt to one another. And we can join hands and pull the weeds of bitterness and unforgiveness.

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.” (Matthew 18:15)

Honest and thorough communication will go a long way in any relationship in your life. It’s more than “letting ‘em have it” or “sticking to your guns!” It is an expression from a heart of understanding and love embedded in the truth. It still feels the pain. It still is hard to say, but it is necessary for restoration and learning.

Stop and think for a moment, when was the last time you felt rejected? Misunderstood? Pushed to the side?

Just know that Jesus knows how you feel. Not only that, but He can help you through it! He can give you grace enough to be compassionate to your offender. He can give you strength enough to continue despite the pain. He can give you the wisdom to know just what say, so that restoration and forgiveness are made possible. Talk to the Lord thoroughly about the moments you have felt rejected. Give God a search warrant to your heart and see if there is any root of bitterness that has sprung up. It may mean reliving the hurt and opening a scar, but it is part of the process. It’s part of His process.


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