“You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”
1 Corinthians 7:23
There I was scrolling social media and there it is. Pictures of a close friend’s birthday celebration that I wasn’t invited too. I scroll down further there again? I see pictures of a business brunch with members of my team I didn’t get invited too. Immediately all these thoughts start running through my mind. “Wow that looked like fun.” “Hmmm wonder why I wasn’t invited?” “Why didn’t she tell me she was having a birthday celebration?” “Am I not good enough?” “Is it because I am married and have kids?” “Does she enjoy that friend’s husband more than mine?” “Wonder why they didn’t include me in the business outing, I mean I am a part of the team.” The thoughts went on and on. And, before I knew it, the lies were formed and I have bought them all, hook, line and sinker.
The reality is rejection comes in all shapes and sizes. It can look like not getting your parents approval. Someone else got the promotion you were up for. Didn’t receive an invitation to the event you desired to be a part of. Your group of friends didn’t include you again. A spouse came home and said they were leaving. A friend suddenly blindsides you with betrayal. A child turns their back on your love for them. Your gifts and talents aren’t received well with certain people you do life with. There is no doubt that rejection is painful and it’s a certainty. We will all face rejection at some point in our lifetime.
The word rejection comes from the Latin noun rēicere, which means “to throw back.” When we experience rejection, the feeling not only stops our present pursuits. It causes us to retreat or to be “thrown back” causing us to not progress because we fear future failure. We experience disapproval and that experience becomes a catalyst for self-defeat. We can tend to internalized all the times we’ve been rejected and allowed lies of rejection to infiltrate our thoughts. So, every time we start to move forward in the area’s we’ve experienced rejection the fear within us affirms the lies we have believed about ourselves. We can not afford to sit in a place of rejection. Because what happens is, we begin to view all interactions with others and circumstances through the lens of that rejection and pain. Our view becomes distorted and our responses follow. I love what Lisa Terkeurst says in her book Uninvited. “Rejection steals the best of who I am by reinforcing the worse of what’s been said to me.” If we give this rejection the power to define us it will always haunt us. On the contrary, if we allow the rejection the power to refine us then that hurt will give way to healing.
We can look at the life of Jesus and take comfort in knowing He too experienced the pain of rejection.
Jesus was rejected by family.
His own family rejected the call that had been placed on his life. For even His brothers did not believe in Him. Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready. The world cannot hate you, but it hates Me because I testify of it that its works are evil. (John 7:5-7)
Jesus was rejected by friends.
Jesus knew what rejection by a close friend felt like. I imagine Jesus and Peter were quite the friends. They probably had many conversations, laughed together, ate together, celebrated together, prayed together. This very close friend of Jesus betrayed him in a very crucial moment of time. “Certainly, this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him, “Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly. (Luke 22:59-62)
Jesus was rejected by community.
I would suggest Jesus was well known in his community. He was a man with a reputation. The community love and respected his parents. But yet, the community still rejected him and the call God had placed on His life. “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” (Isaiah 53:3) “He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him.” (John 1:11)
So, what can we gather from the rejection that Jesus faced? We know that Jesus knew, His father loved him and accepted him. As you come to him, the living stone-rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him (1 Peter 2:4) Jesus understood the call placed on his life and did not allow the pain of rejection to detour Him from the assignment at hand. Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God. (John 13:3) If we are going to be over-comers of the pain of rejection, Like Jesus, we need to understand who we are in Father. We need a revelation of the love that God has for us! And, we must know the call that has been placed on our life to fulfill for the glory of God and the advancement of the Kingdom. Like Jesus despite the pain of rejection, we need to be purposed to be about the Father’s business. (John 5:19) We must renew our minds with the washing of God’s Word to bring us freedom from the pain of rejection. (Romans 12:2) When we have experienced rejection, we must replace the lie with God’s truth. For example, when I was scrolling social media and saw I wasn’t invited to a close friend’s birthday celebration the lie I believed was, “I’m not accepted.” The truth is, “I am accepted in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:5-6) If we can create a holy habit in our thinking, we will experience victory!
Our key verse offers us freedom and hope when it comes to rejection. Beloved, the beautiful truth is this, we have been bought for a price. That price was the blood of Jesus. Whatever rejection we have faced or will face God can heal if we will let Him. The blood of Jesus will always speak a better word. (Hebrews 12:24) We have been redeemed from rejection through the blood of Jesus and we have been chosen in love and accepted by the Father. “Blessed are you when men hate you, and when they exclude you, and revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven.” (Luke 6:22-23a)