He was supposed to be here. I thought he would swoop in and save the day. But with each passing minute, I realized it wasn’t going to happen.
Have you ever felt rejected? Maybe you were the last kid standing when the teams were chosen. Maybe you auditioned for the lead role in the school musical and weren’t even chosen to help out backstage. Or maybe the rejection cuts more deeply. Maybe it’s that parent that you haven’t seen in years or that best friend that decided being popular was more important than loyalty.
I don’t know your story, but I can almost guarantee you have experienced the feeling of rejection at some point in your life.
The original meaning of rejection is to throw back. It is similar to the word abandonment meaning to desert someone or leave and never return. There are many stories even in the Bible of people who experienced great rejection.
Peter and John were imprisoned for their faith. Joseph’s brothers hated him and sold him into slavery. The woman at the well was shunned by everyone in her town.
Even Jesus experienced rejection. In Isaiah 53:3, the prophet Isaiah said, “He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.”
Jesus came to save mankind and yet His own people rejected Him. In Mark 6:4, Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” Personally, one of the greatest pains I have experienced is returning “home” only to realize I was no longer welcome there.
It’s not a matter of if you will experience rejection, but how you will respond to it when it happens. If you are truly a Christ follower, rejection is inevitable, because just like Jesus you will face persecution.
John 15:18-19 says, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.”
It is important to remember you are not alone. The enemy wants you to believe you are beyond help and without anyone to turn too. Rejection is a very real feeling. It can be painful and hurtful, but as a Christian, we must live beyond our feelings. We live by faith in God. While the feeling of rejection is temporal and the hurt will pass, God is eternal and He is where our focus should remain.
Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.”
Turn all of those feelings and pain over to God. While humans are fickle, God is not. He promises to never leave or forsake us. Ask Him to heal your heart and emotions. And allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through your life.
I have a distant relationship with my parents and because of this, for many years I held onto a lie that I must be unloveable. I was (and still am in many instances) terrified to get too close to anyone because I was afraid that once they knew me, they would stop caring about me. For years, I kept myself closed off and hidden. But only with vulnerability, comes true healing.
Psalm 27:10 says, “Though my father and mother have forsaken me, the Lord will take me in.”
So often we measure our worth by human standards. We try to impress people with our accomplishments, looks, money, etc. All those things are fleeting and pointless in the eyes of God. I believe sometimes God allows us to experience rejection in order to cause us to re-examine ourselves and our true motives.
God doesn’t expect us to be perfect, but He does want our hearts. And if your heart is after the praise of this world, He cannot fully use you. Matthew 6:21 reminds us that, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”
The past couple years of my life in ministry have been anything but pleasant. There have been a lot of sleepless nights, questions of why, and tears shed. I have felt overlooked, forgotten, and straight up rejected. But one lesson that I have learned is that we must always obey God rather than man. Sometimes obedience to God can look like rejection to our human eyes. It can feel like the sting of rejection to our human hearts. But knowing that Jesus has already walked these same steps before me brings me great comfort and I hope it does for you as well.
“Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. For that is how their ancestors treated the prophets.” Luke 6:22-23
Father God, help us not to lose heart in doing good. Help us to trust the path you have set before us. Even though there may be pain in the night, we know there will be joy when the morning comes. Help us to not feel alone for You are walking with us even when we cannot see it. Though our friends and family may turn away, You remain faithful. We love you. Amen. ❤️