No matter the circumstances, rejection is difficult to deal with. Nevertheless, as believers in Christ, we are part of a long line of people who have faced rejection for their faith. Many have been martyred, their families murdered, faced great humiliation in their walk of faith. Ishmael suffered because of the sin of his father, Abraham. Had Abraham been patient and waited on the Lord’s promise to be fulfilled, Ishmael would have been ok. Haggar, his mother, went out to the desert and cried out to the Lord who heard his cry. Rejection at any age is hard. Even babies cry when their parents focus their attention on other things and not on them.
Attack On Your Identity
In the eyes of God, we are all beautiful and deserving of his love. Despite our race, color, and country of origin, you and I were all created by God. Rejection wounds us deeply because it is a vicious attack on our persona. The essence of our identity is shaken because we do not measure up on certain people’s scales. Whenever we experience rejection, lingering wounds are exposed, and we feel its pain afresh.
I read a story in the “Our Daily Bread” devotional. A young girl aged around eight years wrote to her Sunday school about an issue. She wanted to know if there was a way she could get her dad to carry her picture. Apparently, in his wallet was a picture of her brother and not of her. This greatly disturbed the young lady on whether she meant much to her father. Unfortunately, the father also carried a picture of his fifteen-year-old daughter in his wallet. Whenever the young girl gave the dad her picture, he quickly placed it in his bedroom drawer. The act of the dad quantified the fear that the young lady had.
Jesus was rejected by his family.
Why me? This magic question floods through the mind of anyone going through rejection. Let us look at the experience God experienced while on earth. The writer of Hebrews quickly notes that Jesus is not only privy to the hardships we go through but that also he experienced them himself. (Hebrew 4:15). The spheres in which Jesus experienced rejection are very much relatable to our personal experiences.
We see Jesus facing rejection from his brothers when he hid from the Jews who sought to kill him. Because of the ongoing feast in Judea, he had decided not to go there because of the safety. He also knew that if they got him, they would kill him, and it was not yet time for his death. The brothers of Jesus came up to him with a brilliant solution. I can imagine they said something like this, “Leave here and go up to the feast so that your followers can see your miracles. How do you expect to become famous if you do not come out in the open but hide? If you are serious about what you are doing then stop hiding.” The bible says they said this because they did not believe in him (John 7:1-12).
Jesus was rejected by His Community.
Many were offended by his boldness. These were people that He grew around. When he returned to Nazareth, they did not only take offense, but many refused to believe in Him. one time, after speaking at a synagogue, the people took such a great offense that they took up stones to kill him and were able to escape. While having the last supper, Christ was also wounded and troubled in His spirit as he foretold Judas’s betrayal (John 13:21). He had washed their feet a few moments earlier to show his love for them and his readiness to lay down his life for them. Yet, when push came to shove, even Peter, his trusted aide, rejected him a couple of times. Have you experienced rejection from a close loved one? Well, Jesus also did.
How do we practically deal with rejection then? Despite the reasons behind the rejection, as a believer, you can overcome them all. Let us look at a few nuggets to help us stay rooted in God’s truth.
- God has no favorites.
God doesn’t show partiality; none is more important than the other (Romans 2:11).
God, our Father, is a loving God to everyone. If this were not the case, rain would only fall on those who please him by living right. His love for us is not conditional on our response to it. He will always love us whether or not we choose to accept it.
When we understand that God loves us equally, we will deal with the lie that we are rejected because God proposed it to be like that. When God chooses anyone, He doesn’t consider the looks of the person. It is with the heart that the Lord chooses. David was the youngest, the forgotten, the last choice of his father. However, God saw his heart, and it was the heart of a king. To battle rejection, you must believe that God loves you the same.
- Pray for those who reject you.
Rejection can come from any circle, sometimes even from unexpected people. Do not feel the need to make a point when you sense rejection from those around you. Do not take it personally. Jesus was well-liked for what he did. The miracles and the free food were a motivation for many who followed him. However, every time he spoke the truth of the word of God, some people didn’t agree with him. At one point, when Christ was teaching on His body being broken for us, a disciple openly said, “this is a hard teaching; who can accept it?” (John 6:60).
Sometimes people reject what they do not understand. When that happens, pray for the Lord to open their eyes to the truth of his word. Remember that the word of God hasn’t failed; they are rejecting Christ and not you. As you pray, keep preaching and remain faithful to the message. Having this understanding will help you to keep you from getting discouraged.
- Continue to live out Christlikeness.
Be vigilant not to allow the opinions of men to change the course of your life. Continue to live out Christlikeness, and one day, many will use it as a point of reference. When possible, do not engage in debates that can easily lead to more misinformation and misinterpretation of the word of God.
The Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.” (2 Timothy 2:24).
When we are wounded, we respond to every other thing in our life from a place of hurt. Under any conditions, the seed of bitterness can easily take root. Sometimes, when not handled or dealt with, it ultimately changes our personalities and robs us of our peace. I know; it’s very challenging to set aside what people have said and forgive. It might be a “once and we are done” kind of reconciliation, but it is possible. Forgiving the offense and the offender does not necessarily mean that you have excused the wrong committed. Forgiveness sets us free from a prison made for the one who offended us. It releases us from the effects of the offense.
Acts 9:26-27 “And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.”
God takes what people have rejected and uses it to build beautiful things. Did you know that were it not for Barnabas, God would not have so used Paul in the New Testament. After he went to the early church, many wanted nothing to do with him. God can heal your broken heart and bind all the wounds left by the past rejections. Through spiritual surgery, the Holy Spirit can get into the crevices of our hearts and heal every pain. The scars may remain, but their power to cause hurt is removed fully.
- Rejoice, and again I say Rejoice.
Count it all joy when others hate you, reject your name for the sake of the name of Jesus. It shall not be the last time people will handle you differently because of your stand for Christ (Matthew 5:11-12). Rejoice in the fact that you are worthy of sharing in the suffering that Jesus went through. Rejoice because God is with you, and he is a strong warrior. He delights in having your back. He’ll calm you with his love and rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17). There is no burden or reproach too big for him. That indeed causes celebration. You, too, are counted among the conquerors in Christ Jesus.