Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Have you ever been rejected? Maybe by someone you loved or someone you respected and looked up to. Maybe you have been rejected by family and friends when you went through difficult times—and it was then you needed them the most, but they didn’t respond.
That can be hurtful. Usually it’s when you go through tough times that you find out who are your real friends. Maybe you’ve been rejected because of mistakes and bad choices you made. But then again, you may have done nothing wrong. It could be your race and background that has offended some people, or even a handicap of some kind.
No-one wants to be rejected—we have a strong need to feel secure, and when that is threatened, we feel scared. Coping with rejection is one of the hardest things we will ever have to do—it can be horrible. We are often judged by what we do or say, and we feel we don’t measure up, and we’re not good enough. And some people never recover from the ugliness of rejection. They remain scarred. They feel they do not belong anywhere, lost in the crowd and unwanted. Like feeling that you are unworthy of receiving good things in life—they belong to others, not you.
Rejection can be defined as a sense of being unwanted. You want people to love you, yet you believe that they do not. You want to be part of a group, but you feel excluded. Somehow you are always on the outside looking in. You don’t feel wanted or accepted. Rejection ends up being one of the most common ‘roots’ of a host of other personal problems. Rejection is a root from which much that is harmful can grow. Rejection is not outwardly visible. It can be a hidden, inner attitude that we carry around.
Do You Feel Rejected Now?
Perhaps you’ve walked into the quicksand of other people’s negative opinions, or been sucked down in their demeaning criticism. I heard about a woman who just received a notification that her husband wanted a divorce. She said, “I feel like an orange and all the juice has been squeezed out. Now all he wants to do is throw it away!” Well, perhaps you’re in a marriage where you feel rejected. You know, we used to say, “Home is the one place where you can go when nobody else wants you.” I’m not so sure that’s true for a lot of people. As a matter of fact, for some, home is the place you go when you know there are people who don’t want you:
- Who will accept and value me as I am?
- Who will still value me when I make a mistake?
- Who will think I matter all the time?
- Who will never put me down with hurtful comments?
- Who can care about me like that?
God can, and he does. God values you like that. His love is unconditional. That means he loves you despite all the mistakes you’ve made and all the ones he knows you are going to make. God doesn’t love less when we do something wrong. He made us to love us!
God showed his love to us by sending Jesus to die for us. We are told in the Bible of Jesus:
We despised him and rejected him – a man of sorrows, acquainted with grief. We turned our back on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised and we didn’t care. Yet, it was our grief he bore, our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, for his own sins! But he was wounded and bruised for our sins. He was chased that we might have peace; he was lashed that we were healed! (Isaiah 53:3-6).
Coping With Rejection
How does that help me cope with rejection? God allowed Jesus to endure the pain and rejection so that we need never know his rejection.
John 1:11-12 says, “He came into his own world, but His own nation did not welcome him”. This means Jesus was rejected by his very own people. As he grew up in the city of Nazareth, he probably heard the whispers of people as he walked down the street or the empty field to play with friends: There’s Mary and Joseph’s boy. I can’t believe Joseph married that woman. She got pregnant prior to their marriage. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she blamed her pregnancy on God.
I’m sure that was said. Some parents probably did not allow their children to play with Jesus because of this stigma. So my guess is that Jesus learned at an early age what rejection was like, and the pain and hurt associated with it. The religious leaders of his own city wanted to throw him out, even destroy him, but God never allowed them to do that. (Read about that in Luke 4). And this rejection continued throughout his whole life—which ultimately led to his crucifixion and death. But notice that Jesus didn’t give up—he prayed, and trusted in his Heavenly Father.
Because he went through this experience, he knows how to lead us through out pain of rejection and hurt. He has compassion on those who are rejected. And the amazing thing is that Jesus will never reject anybody that comes to him in faith and repentance.