If you walk into a room and the conversation stops, what is your assumption? Would your response be they were talking about you? Would your reflex reaction be fear of rejection—the source of which is the fear of man (Prov. 29:25)—or trust in your heavenly Father who loves you unconditionally (Jer. 31:3)?
Rejection is the action of pushing someone or something away. One may experience rejection from a variety of sources—one's birth family, a friend, a colleague, or a romantic partner, to name just a few. The resulting emotions are often painful.
I am no stranger to the devastating effects of choosing to meditate on the “bumps” of rejection. I can assume the attitude that I am a magnet for rejection if I choose to ponder the “bumps” rather than their long-term positive outcomes. Consider a sampling of my life events. . .
I was rejected by my birth parents but I was adopted by loving parents who loved and nurtured me as long as they had breath (68:6).
As an orphan I was certain that I would marry and bear children but my heavenly Father chose to allow me remain single so that I could become a spiritual mother to young women who now serve Him all over the world (Titus 2:3-5).
As a professional I trusted colleagues only to experience rejection and betrayal by those whom I respected. The pain of this rejection was the most difficult “bump” I faced in my Christian walk but my heavenly Father was and continues to be faithful throughout the healing process. Though there are undoubtedly additional lessons for me to learn from the situation, I can attest to God’s continual love and nurturing. Perhaps the responses I am applying to this rejection “bump” may be an encouragement to you. Daily I am . . .
praying for the hearts of those who rendered rejection and betrayal (Matt. 5:44-48).
choosing to bring every thought into the obedience of Christ ( 2 Cor. 10:5; Phil. 4:8-9)
focusing on the reality that there is no good thing my heavenly Father will withhold from me if I am walking uprightly (Ps. 84:11 )
seeking to follow Joseph’s example of forgiveness and believe that though the rejecters may have had evil outcomes in mind, God meant the experiences for good (Gen. 50:22; Matt. 6:14-15, 18:22-23).
meditating on my Lord’s reaction when He was despised and rejected (1 Peter. 2:19-25).
Since we live in a sinful world, it is inevitable that we will all encounter rejection “bumps.” However, there is a supernatural source of vitality when one is spiritually prepared. Kelsey’s Korner provides resources for navigating the “bumps” with confidence!
Rejection, unfortunately, is a bitter and unavoidable part of living in a fallen world, and we’ve all had countless run-ins with it. When was the last time you felt its sting? Maybe you were vulnerable and shared a secret or an idea with someone, only to receive rejection. Possibly you’ve applied to a school or a job and received the dreaded rejection letter or email. Or maybe you’ve encountered rejection because of your devotion to Christ. Whatever your situation, rejection leaves a lump in the throat and a heavy cloud over the spirit.
Rejection, however, is not a new trial—the pages of Scripture are absolutely saturated in it! For example, Jesus’ whole earthly ministry was marked by rejection. The messianic prophecy in Isaiah 53 (written approximately 700 years before Christ) even depicts Jesus as being “despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” Jesus received rejection from his disciples (Peter’s denials in Luke 22:54-62, and Judas in John 13:21-26), his family (John 7:5), his town (Matt. 13:54-58), and even the Jewish nation that He came to save. The price He paid for their rejection ended in death on a cross, and even there, God the Father turned His face away from Him because of the sin He bore.
The apostle Paul, too, had a ministry laden with rejection. He was constantly running for his life, being stoned, almost to the point of death, and losing friends for the sake of the Gospel. At Paul’s last defense in 2 Timothy, soon before his death, Paul says, “At my last defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me” (2 Tim. 4:16). Can you imagine, though innocent, facing a judge that decides you will be sentenced to death, and then discovering all your friends had deserted you?
And yet Paul’s reaction is amazing. “…but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me…The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever” (2 Tim. 4:16-18).
Paul’s reaction clearly displays his eternal perspective and his great confidence in the Lord. Similarly, Jesus’ reactions to His rejection shed light on His ultimate will: to do the will of His father. With these examples in mind, how do we, in 2019, deal with rejection? Here are some thoughts to keep in mind:
Rejection hurts. Period. But our perspectives in the midst of rejection can significantly alter the level of pain! Isaiah 40:8 provides us with an incredible perspective: “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” In other words, this life, and everything in it, is temporary and fading, but God and His Word are eternal, unchanging, and sure. Instead of focusing on the past, temporary hurts caused by man, remember your everlasting God and the promises in His Word.
Consider your life “goal” or “prize”? When it is recognition, power, or pleasure, rejection is absolutely life shattering. But like Jesus and the Apostle Paul, if your goal is to constantly seek not your own will, but that of your heavenly Father, then rejection becomes less of a devastating blow and more of just a “bump” along the way.
We serve a sovereign God. When rejection causes us to change life courses, think of it less as rejection from man and more of God using man to sovereignly alter your course according to His will. So if you were not admitted into your school of choice, be confident that God has another plan for you.
Some will be called to face rejection because of our faith. James 4:4-5 says, “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Pursuing absolute acceptance by man will only earn us rejection by God. The converse is also true—when we pursue acceptance by God, likely rejection by man will follow. Instead of morning this loss, remember that suffering for the sake of Christ is honored throughout Scripture (see 1 Peter 3:13-17).
Although we may often deal with rejection from other sinful humans, if we belong to Christ, we never have to fear rejection from God. Let that sink in a little—the God of the universe has not forsaken you, and no matter what you have done or will do, Romans 8:39 assures us that nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. So, next time you are faced with the burns of rejection, allow these wonderful truths to heal your hurting heart!
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
Therefore, I may boldly say, “Jesus’ gift of peace offers me an alternative to the rejection others may attempt to inflict upon me.”
Blessings on your day as you focus on making your house a home!