We’ve all felt it- whether at the hands of a friend on the playground or a childhood crush. Maybe it even came from a deeper place: like a parent, a close confidante, or even a spouse.
Every person experiences it at least once. Rejection can cause some deep and bitter wounds unless we take the right action steps against it. As men and women of God, how can we respond to rejection in the right way? We’d like to suggest three practical steps to face rejection and overcome.
Find Your Worth
It’s very easy to lose sight of what makes us worthy (of love, affection, kindness, basic decency, etc.) when we feel rejected. Oftentimes, it’s because we find our worth in the opinions of others. Instead of recognizing that we are perfectly crafted by the Master, we focus on how the people around us perceive and feel about us. We can try and influence others’ opinions by what we wear, how we speak, and even who we associate ourselves with. However, God’s opinion of us never wavers- He always loves us. He sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins so that He could spend eternity with us. Imagine a master artist lovingly finishing the final strokes of his life’s masterpiece- that’s how God feels about every single one of us. Psalm 139: 13-16 says “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them”. We are intrinsically worthy because HE made us that way!
Focus on Eternity
James has some very frank things to say about the length of our lives. In chapter 4, verse 14, he says “Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes”. This is a really great encouragement to focus on eternity. This life will be over in but a moment, and then all of the hurts, pains, tears we cry, and rejections we face will no longer have an impact on us. That doesn’t mean that they don’t hurt now! The choice we have to make, however, is to either let those hurts grow bitterness inside us, or shift our view to something more. The only things that will last for eternity from this earth are the Word of God and the souls of men. Take time to invest in one of those things when you’re feeling rejected- whether it’s by reading or memorizing the Bible, sharing the Gospel with a friend, or just being there for someone who needs someone.
Follow Jesus’ Example
Jesus, the perfect savior, was rejected throughout His ministry. Not only was He rejected on the Passover by humanity when they chose Barrabas (a murderer and bandit) to go free rather than him, He was rejected in many accounts throughout the New Testament. One such example occurs in Luke 9:51-56, where Jesus expects to be welcomed by the Samaritans, but is instead rejected because He was on His way to Jerusalem. In response to this rejection, two of his apostles want to destroy the village. Incredibly, Jesus rebukes them, and expresses two frequent marks of His character: patience and forgiveness. Jesus didn’t allow himself to get distracted from His purpose: glorifying God. The approval of others simply didn’t have an impact on His identity- and neither did their rejection of Him. We must follow in His example, realizing that we have the divine duty to share the Gospel and glorify God, and like Jesus, we mustn’t allow anything to distract us from that- even rejection.
In Christ, you are redeemed. You are chosen. You are purposeful. You are worthy. When rejection hits you hard, instead of allowing yourself to be defined by others’ thoughts of you, allow yourself to be defined by the One who paid it all for you. Rejection isn’t the end- it’s simply a twist in the path God appointed for you, and you can be sure it will be long forgotten when you see Him face to face.