Dealing With Rejection
Author Louie Giglio tells a story of being a senior in high school and he made it to state in doubles tennis but only because of his partner. His dad had never watched a match but when he came to the state tournament Louie messed up again and again. When he returned home his dad who normally called him by the nick name Ace said, “Well I guess we can't call you Ace any more we’ll have to call you double fault.” Ouch! We all have our story of rejection, don't we? Maybe you were picked last in gym class as a kid. Or as a young man you gathered up the courage to ask the woman of your dreams out on a date, only to have her laugh in your face. Or maybe you were married for years and your spouse comes and tells you, "I'm leaving. There is someone else." Or you've poured your life into your son or daughter but now that they are grown they want nothing to do with you. Or your boss sits you down and says, "I'm sorry but you no longer work here.” Did you know many in nursing homes never receive an outside visitor ever? REJECTION. It's one of the most painful human experiences. Yet it is part of life.
As Christians how do we deal with rejection?
1. EXPECT IT.
Jesus Christ, the only person to be fully God and fully man, lived a life of perfection but still experienced severe, painful rejection. He was the long-awaited Jewish Messiah. God had promised and prepared that nation for the coming of Jesus and yet thousands of them screamed, "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Jesus invested three and a half years into a close personal friendship with his apostles and yet Judas betrayed him, Peter denied Jesus and the rest deserted him at his lowest moment. We follow a savior and leader that many have rejected. Just being Christian alone can bring some level of rejection. In some places around the world being a Christian is enough to get you killed.
2. OWN IT.
In many cases we have contributed to our rejection. Divorce is rarely all one person's fault. Losing a job is rarely because the boss is a jerk. Whatever your contribution to the brokenness in the relationship is, own it. Confess it. Apologize. Make changes. This repentance may not save that specific relationship or job but it might save the next one, possibly even changing the trajectory of your life.
3. FIND YOUR ACCEPTANCE IN GOD.
Through the gospel of Jesus Christ we can be forgiven our sins. I love the character Joseph from the book of Genesis. He experienced deep, painful rejection from his brothers but we are told that the Lord was with Joseph. Joseph found his safe place in a relationship with God. God is the only one who knows every bit of the darkness in our hearts and yet chooses to love us anyway. Despite our cosmic treason (sin) against Him, God loved us so much that he chose to send His son Jesus to die for our salvation (John 3:16). Author Brennan Manning says, "God loves you as you are, not as you should be, because none of us are as we should be.” Too many people live FOR the approval of others. In Christ, we can live FROM the approval of God. We are not perfect but in Christ we can find perfect acceptance. This kind of love accepts us as we are and yet calls us forward to become our best selves.
If you get nothing else from this article remember this… Despite the pain of your deepest rejection know that YOU ARE LOVED.
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church