Let’s talk about rejecting rejection.
Over the years, I have experienced more than my fair share of rejection and some of it very recently. So I figure that I am probably not the only one who has been rejected by someone or who has rejected another, so today I will take a look at the whole concept of rejecting rejection.
Let’s start with a prayer – ‘Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. I believe that you sent your Son, my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to live and walk among us and to die for us. I believe that you raised Him from the grave and that He sits at your right hand. Father, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life and show me the correct choices to make whenever I begin to feel rejected or when I am on the verge of rejecting another. Thank you – Amen.’
Our scripture today comes from 1st Timothy Chapter 2 verses 1-9, and it’s entitled ‘A Call To Prayer’
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony given at [e]the proper time. For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying) as a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension.”
When I was younger, I wanted to become a writer of short stories. I wrote and submitted several of what I thought were prize-winning works and sat back and waited for the fame and fortune to arrive in my mailbox. The only prizes I received were rejection slip after rejection slip. I was devastated, but then I got over it.
As I grew older, I fell in love numerous times and for the most part, I again received rejection slip after rejection slip. When I entered the workplace, I applied for job after job and again in many cases, I received a rejection slip. Eventually I have come to realize that when people or society reject us often enough we begin to doubt our self-worth, so it is vital that we learn how to deal with rejection.
We need to answer these questions:
- How can we recover from rejection in our lives?
- Do we have to allow those we reject back into our lives?
- Will God ever reject us?
- Do we have any promise from God?
Before I start, let’s turn to a prayer. ‘Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. I believe that you sent your Son, my Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ to live and walk among us and to die for us. I believe that you raised Him from the grave and that He sits at your right hand. Father, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life to show me the proper path to take whenever I begin to feel rejected by others or when I have rejected another. Thank you – Amen.’
It has been a long day, we are tired, we are cranky, and then our spouse, decides that this is the time to tell us that he/she has decided they want a divorce. As we sit in our favorite chair, our son/daughter runs up to us to share a story, we growl ‘not now, I am busy’; we do not even notice how their shoulders slouch down as they walk away.
We walk into our boss’s office and he/she tells us, that our services are no longer necessary and we are now unemployed. We have spent 30 years mastering a profession and then we no longer have a job, when we apply with other companies we discover that they feel we are too old to do the work.
We are a veteran who has served our country with honor, and when we come home, we find some who turn their back to us. Every place we turn we see the ‘No thanks’ sign displayed and we feel alone.
All of the above are examples of rejection. Of course, those are just very few examples and the ways in which we can experience rejection as almost too many to list. No matter the type of rejection we face, we all have to deal with it and learn how to recover from it.
How can we recover from rejection in our life?
The step is to try not to deal with the feelings of rejection by yourself. There is an old saying ‘no man is an island’, and it is true. When we try to solve all our problems by ourselves, we are only asking for more trouble. A feeling of depression often accompanies a feeling of rejection and the two feelings working together have the emotional destructive force of a hurricane or an earthquake.
If I am alone and cannot find someone to talk with, one way I personally try to practice is to bring my concerns and to express my feelings to God. In 1 Peter chapter 5 verse 7, Peter writes “casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” Now I understand that not everyone believes in God and that is each person’s right. However; if we never believe in a power greater than our own selves then at some point in time we will encounter a wall we cannot climb or a hole so deep we cannot dig ourselves out.
When we cast our anxieties and feelings onto God, it is not a quick fix, it takes time, and it takes consistency. Since we are now living in an age where we expect instantaneous results, and answers in seconds, it becomes easy for us to give up when changes do not occur as quickly as we want. The reality is we cannot give up trying to let God take over our feelings. Once we are open to having God take control, it becomes a little easier to forgive those who have rejected us.
Rejection hurts and if we never release the hurt and resentment inside nothing good can come out of us and we only poison our lives. If we are willing to forgive the person who has rejected us, the one who has caused us pain we will be better off. There are times when we might have to forgive a person more than once, especially if they repeatedly reject us. It is hard enough to forgive a person once, but Jesus call for us to forgive however many times it takes. The other party might not even realize they have done something wrong, so our forgiving them is more for us than it is for them. And it must be ongoing in Matthew chapter 18 verses 21-22, Jesus instructs his apostles on forgiveness “Then Peter came and said to Him, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus *said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”
Forgiveness of those who have hurt us, those who have sinned against us is a critical part of how we are supposed to live. Jesus was insistent on that so much so that among His last words as reported by Luke in Chapter 23 verse 34 were, ‘But Jesus was saying, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.”’ and this was for those who were in the process of putting Him to death. We must be able to forgive those who have just hurt our feelings, and once we have forgiven them then we will be able to do what Jesus teaches in the Gospel of Matthew in chapter 5 verse 44, when He says, “But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you,.”
Loving our enemies or those who have hurt us is often not easy. Praying for them is even tougher because if they have hurt us, most of the time we want revenge, we want to get even; but if we are to get over our feelings of rejection and get on with our lives we have to take proactive steps. Once we have taken those steps, our lives become easier to live.
While it is difficult to want to keep someone in our life who has rejected us, if they come to us and are sorry for their actions, it is important that we allow them to come back in. If we remember that the Lord accepts all who come to Him in faith (John 6:37) “All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.” We should be able to find a way in our hearts to let others back in our lives. There is no way to know the possible benefits that we will receive for accepting them back.
I was once in a relationship with a woman and she decided that she did not want our relationship to become serious. Of course, I felt rejected and hurt and walked off vowing never to speak with her again. A couple of years passed and eventually we ran into each other and started up a conversation. I recognized that she and I have a lot in common and I noticed that my romantic feelings and the feelings of hurt had subsided.
Since then she and I have become very good friends and depend on each other for both professional and personal advice and the relationship, while not romantic is stronger than it ever was in the past. I had to remember the words of the rock song that said ‘you can’t always get what you want’. That is true, we are not always going to be able to have whatever we want, we will face rejection at one time or another.
What about those times when we have rejected another person because we feel they did something we didn’t like or approve of? Remember that forgiveness concept; I spoke about earlier, where we asked another for forgiveness? We have to be willing to forgive those who have wronged us
Why should we forgive? We need to forgive others because unforgiveness not only ruins our relationships it poisons our souls. Over time, I have learned that to forgive does not mean, to completely forget about what happened; it does mean to let it go, release any feelings of betrayal, hurt, anger, or resentment that I feel towards the other person. We have to process our feelings, not try to suppress them; instead, we have to express them so they can bubble out of us and not fill our bodies with toxins.
In the book of Ephesians chapter 4 verse 31, we find “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice”. Why is that important? Medical science has shown that the more negative angry thoughts and emotions we keep inside, the worse it is for our body. If we are storing up toxins in our body, eventually all that negativity will do damage. Those toxins could indeed cause a stroke, high blood pressure, and any one of numerous stress related illnesses. Think about the situation and try to understand it. Try to figure out why it happened and if there was a way avoid it altogether.
Remember that when we asked God to forgive us, He did and He has given us a role model. If God was willing to send His son to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins, we should take that as the model and motivation for us to use when we consider forgiving others. In Ephesians chapter 4 verse 32, “Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you”.
If God has forgiven us, we cannot in good conscience refuse to forgive someone who has wronged us. Remember our forgiveness, much like the forgiveness God has given us, is a gift of grace and free to the recipient yet costly to the giver. We may not like forgiving someone, in fact we may want to seek revenge, but is in our best interest to not do so.
We need to get over the entire concept of revenge, as it says in Romans chapter 12 verse 19-21 “Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.”
There is an old saying that revenge is a dish best served cold, in reality, it is not our job to get even with someone. God will take care of those who do wrong in his own time.
A much better tactic is also found in verse 20-21 “But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” Over the years, I have learned that when I am nice to someone who is expecting me to lash out at him or her, I can actually see the other person’s attitude begin to change, begin to soften.
It can be hard for us to let things go, but once we do, we find a life that is much more joyous and peaceful. Once we have filled our heart with mercy, once we have forgiven the other, even if they do not even know they did us wrong, we begin to feel much better.
Then we are able to appreciate the promise God has made to us. That promise is related to us in Hebrews chapter 13 verse 5; “Make sure that your character is free from the love of money, being content with what you have; for He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,”
We cannot have the love of money to be our sole focus. It is important that we make our love of God our first and foremost priority. If we follow His words and follow the teachings of Jesus, God will not reject us, He will allow us to reject Him if we so desire, but He will NOT reject us. Jesus taught that there is only one sin that cannot be forgiven and that is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit. By blaspheming the Holy Spirit it means that our hearts and character have been hardened and that we are consumed by greed and envy of others.
- We can recover from rejection in our lives if we forgive the other person and pray for them.
- We have to allow those we reject back into our lives and we can do that by forgiving them.
- If we follow, His law and the teachings of Jesus God will never reject us and that is His promise to us.
It will help if we start our days with this simple prayer – ‘Dear Heavenly Father, I know that you are in charge of the Universe. I know that you have a grand plan for us. I believe that you sent your Son, my Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ to live and walk among us and to die for us. I believe that you raised Him from the grave and that He sits at your right hand. Father, I ask that you send the Holy Spirit into my life to show me the proper path to take whenever I begin to feel rejected by others or when I have rejected another. Thank you – Amen.’