I have been thinking today about rejection and failure. They are experiences that seem to go hand-in-hand. When we are rejected, we feel that we have failed. We interpret the rejection as a statement against us: I’m not good enough. So, then, we try to be better. We work to please. We think there must be something we can do.
Well, I guess in some cases there is something we can do. We can practice more, or improve our credit score, or take a class. There could still be other reasons we are rejected, though. We have to be careful to not read too much into it. Sometimes, rejection is really a blessing. It might be preventing us from making a move we’ll really end up regretting. God can use rejection to keep us in His will. So, we have to take it all with prayer and grace. When our lives are in God’s hands, we can trust Him with everything that happens to us—even rejection.
Still, some rejection is pretty hard to accept. I’m thinking of the rejection we feel when we are in a relationship with someone we love and trust. It could be a friendship, a family member, or even our most intimate relationship: marriage. When that person suddenly turns us away, it’s very hard to know how to trust God with those feelings. We want that person to tell us why they have cast us out of their life. What did we do? Can we take it back? Can we have a second chance? We promise to try harder next time. I think it is almost impossible to take our love being rejected in stride.
I guess it’s so hard, because love isn’t supposed to be rejected. We might want to redefine a relationship. Maybe, some boundaries need to be established. That’s a good thing. That’s healthy for all concerned, and gives everyone something to work on. Just because we love someone doesn’t mean we might not have violated their trust. Maybe, they trusted us to keep our temper, or remember their birthday. Breaking trust doesn’t have to mean breaking relationship. It doesn’t have to mean rejecting love. It might just mean we are loved by someone who is still working on becoming the person they need to be, and isn’t there a chance we all fall into that category? Maybe, you always remember your manners, but maybe you do other things that aren’t so great.
I think there is a place for forgiveness in every relationship. You know, we all have our problems. God knows this, and I think that is why He writes so much in His Word about loving and forgiving, treating people the way we would want to be treated (if we were in their shoes). The Bible even tells us that when we bear with (put up with) a person who has fallen short from what is right, we are actually fulfilling the law of Christ for ourselves. That’s an amazing thing to me. Here is a passage from the Bible that speaks so clearly to this. It is irrefutable.
Galatians 6:1-5 (Amplified)
1) Brethren, if any person is overtaken in misconduct or sin of any sort, you who are spiritual [who are responsive to and controlled by the Spirit] should set him right and restore and reinstate him, without any sense of superiority and with all gentleness, keeping an attentive eye on yourself, lest you should be tempted also.
2) Bear (endure, carry) one another’s burdens and troublesome moral faults, and in this way fulfill and observe perfectly the law of Christ (the Messiah) and complete what is lacking [in your obedience to it].
3) For if any person thinks himself to be somebody [too important to condescend to shoulder another’s load] when he is nobody [of superiority except in his own estimation], he deceives and deludes and cheats himself.
4) But let every person carefully scrutinize and examine and test his own conduct and his own work. He can then have the personal satisfaction and joy of doing something commendable [in itself alone] without [resorting to] boastful comparison with his neighbor.
5) For every person will have to bear (be equal to understanding and calmly receive) his own [little] load [of oppressive faults].
When you consider what the Word says, it does make it easier to see that a person who is rejecting you is actually the one with the problem. They may point at you and tell you that it’s all your fault, but the Bible says we’re not supposed reject each other for being flawed. The Bible says we are actually cheating ourselves. Imagine that!
I suppose this may not ease the pain you might be feeling, but I hope it will encourage you. I hope it helps you realize that you aren’t a failure. Yes, you have areas where you need to improve, but the Father loves you just as you are, and He won’t turn you away. He will help you become all He calls you to be, and will not leave you alone in that struggle. As for those dear people you love who have rejected you? Well, just because they won’t bear you, doesn’t mean you can’t bear them. Work on forgiving them, remember to pray for them, and don’t stop loving them in your heart. One day, the Lord may surprise you and bring restoration to relationships you thought were forever gone.
One last thought: we who have felt the sting of rejection do not stand alone. We have good company with the Lord, who is daily rejected, cursed, slandered, and hated. None of us have suffered as He did for our sake, so we cannot relate to Him. However, He can relate to us. In His loving embrace, the cutting wounds of rejection find comfort and healing. I urge you to turn to Him your sadness and pain.
Happy Thanksgiving, friends. I hope and pray you get to share a table with people who love and accept you just the way you are today, and are willing to walk with you as you become all God intends for you. That will be a lot to be thankful for, don’t you think?