All people seek after love and acceptance. Everyone, whether they admit to it or not, wants to be validated for their efforts. All of us need to know the love and acceptance of God; Every child wants to know the loving embrace of his or her parents; We all want the boss to recognize us for our hard work at the office. In certain cases, we may seek approval from a particular social club or group. It is a common human need to be part of something greater than ourselves. However, we live in a fallen, imperfect world that has been ravaged by the wages of sin. Unfortunately, there are those who do not find the love and acceptance they seek and are rejected by others. As with anything in life, there has to be a proper balance when we seek after the love and acceptance of others. If we take rejection to the extreme, it could possibly send someone down a dark path, which may lead to shame, depression, despair, addiction, or anything else that can be used to fill the void.
Rejection hurts worse than a thousand bee stings. Rejection can cut us deep down to the core of our identity. Everyone has faced rejection at one time or another- your spouse told you he or she wants a divorce, you were passed over for the promotion, you were cut from the team. Rejection is only the end if we choose to let it be the end. Rejection can lead to bigger and better things if we have the proper attitude. There are numerous testimonies of people in the church, business, sports, and everyday life who were rejected and passed over and it did not deter them from their dreams. What is the proper way to handle rejection? What does Scripture say about rejection? Psalm 119:105 says, “Your word is a light to my feet and a lamp to my path.” (NKJV). As with all situations we face, the Word of God sheds much light on the subject of rejection.
We Serve a God and Savior who Personally knows the Pain of Rejection
God knows what you are going through because He has been rejected. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, they rejected the way of life and fellowship God intended for them and brought a curse upon all humanity. This theme of rejection continues to play out in our modern world the same as it did during biblical times. Consider the constant backsliding of ancient Israel. The prophet Samuel was the last judge of Israel because the nation rejected Samuel’s leadership and decided they wanted a king to rule over them.
“But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, Give us a king to judge us. And Samuel prayed unto the Lord. And the Lord said unto Samuel, Hearken unto the voice of the people in all that they say unto thee: for they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them. According to all the works which they have done since the day I brought them up out of Egypt even unto this day, wherewith they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so do they also unto thee.” (1 Samuel 8:6-8, KJV).
When we reject the ways of God, there will be dire consequences. God is patient, loving, and slow to anger, but for those who choose to disobey and reject God’s salvation, there comes judgment.
“Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people , even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.” Jeremiah 6:16-19, KJV.
Before Adam and Eve’s sin, before Israel’s rejection of God’s law, before the degradation of modern society, God had a plan. His plan was always to send His Son, Jesus to die for our sins. Thus, the Lord Jesus also knows rejection. He was rejected by the religious establishment, He was betrayed by one of His own disciples for thirty pieces of silver, the other disciples abandoned Him in His most desperate hour, and the same people who sought Him for healing and deliverance, shouting “Hosanna,” would later shout, “Crucify him.” Jesus was even forsaken by God the Father as He suffered and died on the cross. Thus, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which brings us hope to this day.
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried out sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:3-5, KJV).
We Must Be Mindful of the Destructive Effects of Rejection
Genesis 4:1-9 tells the story of Cain and Abel, the first two children of Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel each brought an offering before the Lord. The Bible tells us that God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected Cain’s offering. Cain became very angry and despondent over God’s rejection of his offering. However, as a loving Father, God seeks to correct His son.
“And the Lord said unto, Why art thou wroth? And why is they countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.” (Genesis 4:6-7, KJV).
We cannot always place the blame of rejection on someone else. There are times when rejection requires us to look inside ourselves and to search out the problem, confess it to the Lord, and walk in His grace. God knew Cain’s jealousy of Abel would be His undoing, but God was gave Cain the opportunity to overcome and deal with his sin. However, Cain refused to listen to God and killed his brother Abel, which led to Cain becoming a wandering fugitive upon the earth.
If we do not deal with our sin or the anger over being rejected, it can harmful side effects. The Apostle Paul wrote about this in Ephesians 4:31, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice.” (KJV).
In the Greek language, this verse is about progressive steps. Bitterness starts out where something slowly irritates us, but gets bigger with the passage of time. If we continue to dwell upon the bitterness, it can consume us to where we reach malice, which is the deliberate intention to harm someone, whether physically or reputation wise.
Rejection Offers us the Opportunity to Become More Christ-Like
Henry Ford is credited with saying, “Life is ten percent what happens to you and ninety percent how you respond.” This statement is very true and can be applied through biblical principles. Our maturity in Christ will be reflected in how we handle rejection. The world says, “Don’t get mad, get even,” but that is not the proper response to rejection or any adverse situation. Though we may never know the full reasons behind the rejection we face, we can take solace in the presence of God. Scripture encourages us to come into a time of fellowship, prayer, and seeking the best for those who reject us. Because no matter the circumstances, God is working on our behalf and wants us to become more like Christ.
“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father, which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:44-45, KJV).
“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21, KJV).
If Our Faith and Identity is in Christ, We can Overcome Rejection
Finally, if you have ever tried to “fit in,” you know how exhausting it is. The world tells you if you dress like this, drive this car, have this phone, make this much money, look this way, and we’ll accept you. However, the standards by which the world judges are always fickle and ever-changing, usually for the worse. If you are trying to “fit in,” please stop because everything in this world is temporary and will fade away in time. Consider today’s new car will eventually be picked for parts or smashed into the car crusher at the junkyard. If you have placed your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ alone for your salvation, you have all of the acceptance and love you will ever need. You see that void I talked about earlier can only be filled by God because each of us is incomplete. If we try to gain acceptance by chasing after the world, that is like trying to fill up a bucket with a hole in bottom of it. For the Christian, our faith and identity are in Jesus Christ, who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
“To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6, KJV).
“Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear son.” (Colossians 1:13, KJV).
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth Jesus is the Son of God?” (1 John 5:4-5, KJV).