Your hands are sweating. Your heart is racing. You make eye contact with her and your 20-something hearts beats even faster.
You manage to mutter, “Will you go out with me?” and you feel a pit in your stomach when you see the look on her face. She seems incredulous, and you don’t have to wait long to hear the words you’ve dreaded.
“No, I just like you as a friend.”
HOPE FOR THE REJECTED
Have you ever been rejected? I have. It is one of the most disheartening feelings, and it comes in many forms:
Not being accepted into a social group.
Having a friend betray you.
Being rejected by a girl or guy you ask out.
Being over looked for a promotion.
Failing to get accepted into the school or program of your choice.
One way or another we will all face rejection at some point in our lives. Rejection has the power to cut us to our core. As Proverbs 17:22 states, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
But as Christians we have hope in the pit of rejection. We have the hope of Jesus, who understands our suffering and promises to never leave or forsake us (Heb. 13:5).
WE HAVE A GOD WHO WAS REJECTED
Why does rejection hurt so badly?
We are created in the image of God, who has been relational since the foundation of the earth (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). When God made us, he created us in his image. He created us to be relational beings, both with our creator and with people.
When we experience rejection, we are experiencing the results of a fallen world. When important relationships are severed, we know this is not how things were meant to be.
Yet in this pain of rejection, we can know that we have a Savior who knows what it is like to be rejected. During his time on earth, Jesus faced a degree of rejection we cannot comprehend. He was rejected by his earthly family in Nazareth. He was rejected by the very people he came to save. He faced rejection from his disciples as they abandoned him after he was taken to be killed. Peter, one of Jesus’ closest disciples denied him publicly three times. Judas, one of the twelve, betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of silver.
If that wasn’t enough, Jesus was separated from God the Father at the cross as he took on the sins of the world. Jesus faced the ultimate form of rejection so we could be saved from darkness.
This display of love can be hard to comprehend. Imagine willingly being rejected for the benefit of someone else. Imagine doing that in front of thousands of people. This should convict us and comfort us as we walk through the valley of rejection. We know that God understands the feelings of rejection, he promises to be with us, and he vows to one day wipe away all tears.
HOW SHOULD WE HANDLE REJECTION?
We have hope through Jesus, who promises to never fail us, but often our flesh doesn’t naturally remember this hope. We’ve been rejected by someone and it hurts. The emotions are genuine and the wounds are real.
Luckily the Bible offers great wisdom regarding how to rise above our emotions and navigate these troubled waters.
Our first and step in times of pain and rejection must be to go to our heavenly Father in prayer. We have a loving Father who provided a way to salvation and eternal fellowship with himself. If we can trust him to do that for us, we can also trust him to help us through any storm.
The Psalms serve as a guide on how to pray through the struggles of life. God wants us to lament to him and give him our pain. He understands we are in a sinful world and we experience hardships. Through prayer we can obtain comfort, clarity, peace, and love from our Father in all circumstances.
The Bible is clear that prayer is critical for everything we do. Philippians 4:6 says “in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made know to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” Even if we do not get immediate answers to our requests, the act of praying and trusting God will give us peace and mercy that would not be available to us otherwise.
Even when we are weak, when we pray, the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf (Rom. 8:26). Prayer is an act of reliance on God and his power over our situation, and it is a right and necessary response to the pain and suffering of this world.
FIND COMFORT IN GOD’S WORD
God has been gracious to provide us with his Word, which is full of wisdom and God’s will for our lives. When dealing with rejection, we need to remember the promises God has given us. He has promised to never leave us (Jer. 29:11), to meet our needs (Phil. 4:19), to fight for us (Exod. 14:14), to give us strength (Isa. 40:29), and to deliver us from our troubles (Ps. 34:17). Recall God’s promises and cling to them, knowing God is faithful to his word. Remembering these promises and praying continually will help you through the storm and strengthen your relationship with God.
FIND HOPE IN YOUR SECURED FUTURE
As followers of Christ, we have a glorious prospect to look forward to. One where Jesus will come back and redeem the world. We are promised that every tear will be wiped from our eyes and that death, mourning, and pain will pass away (Rev. 21:4). This future should fill us with joy and confidence to endure our present sufferings.
Paul stated that his present sufferings were nothing compared to the glory that is to be revealed in Christ (Rom. 8:18). This future expectation allowed him to endure a wide array of sufferings.
When we are faced with rejection and are feeling weak, we must look to Jesus and the future glory we are promised through him.
Rejection hurts so badly because it affects how we view ourselves. Often our identity is tied up in what others think about us. Therefore, when we are rejected, our very foundation seems to be stripped away.
We need to shift the focus off of ourselves and move it back to God, the sustainer of our faith. We need to remember that our value and identity come from him. When we do this and choose to love God and people more than ourselves, we are better equipped to handle rejection since our foundation is rooted in Christ.
REMEMBER YOUR MISSION
As God’s creations, we were made to glorify God, and he has given us a mission to complete until he returns. He has instructed us to go and make disciples of all nations (Matt. 28:19) and to proclaim the gospel to the whole creation (Mark 16:15).
As servants of Christ, Scripture promises we will face persecution and will be rejected as we seek to live out this mission. John 15: 18-21 is clear that a servant is not greater than his master. Jesus was rejected and persecuted, and we should expect the same. Facing rejection is a part of a fallen world and comes with being a soldier in God’s army. As with any battle, it will be difficult to deal with rejection when it hits.
However, if we remain true to our mission, remember that we have a God who was rejected, and remember that the war has been won, we can have hope even in our suffering. One day our rejection, pain, sin, and death will be conquered, and we will be redeemed. So while rejection hurts, we must remember our God is greater and he promises a future glory where he will wipe away all tears from our eyes.
In the midst of rejection, I challenge you to stay strong, humble yourself, cling to Jesus, and go and make disciples of all nations.
Joseph Lasslett is a Certified Financial Advisor CFP® and has been assisting clients with retirement planning, investments, and estate planning since 2014. He has been serving as a content writer for The Collective, a ministry of Woodside Bible Church, in Troy Michigan since 2018, and currently lives in Auburn Hills, Michigan.